Other Columbus Bands We Loved From NPR's Tiny Desk Contest

Jun 28, 2019

Too much of a good thing is still a good thing. Though we were only able to choose one band as WOSU's local favorite from the NPR Music Tiny Desk Contest, plenty of other bands could have easily taken the title. So we're going to give out some more accolades.

(By the way, have you seen Zoo Trippin's performance on Broad & High Presents yet? They were incredible.)

Our panel of judges had no shortage of compliments for the 50 Central Ohio bands that entered the 2019 Tiny Desk Contest. I'm certain you'll see more of them appearing soon on WOSU.

WOSU's judges included:

  • Amy Kesting, co-owner of Spoonful Records
  • Brett Ruland, co-owner of Spoonful Records
  • Marcy Mays, owner of Ace of Cups
  • Kate Quickel, host of WOSU's Broad & High

Best Dramatic Lighting: WYD

Shot inside the mirrored halls of Otherworld, a sci-fi art installation that recently opened in Columbus, WYD's haunting song "After" is accompanied by slowly pulsing lights and an overhanging sense of dread. As I wrote for the All Songs Considered blog: "Columbus, Ohio music fans will recognize singer and guitarist Carly Fratianne from the blues-rock band Souther. But wyd is slower, more atmospheric and devastating (the trio describes itself as "queer death pop," which may just be my new favorite genre)."

Best Use Of Props: October Ember

It really does take a village to film a Tiny Desk Contest video. For their sweet and breezy song "Waves," October Ember employs the strangest trio of instruments we've seen (melodica, harmonium, and guitar) and a whole cast of puppeteers. There's even a bit of a laser show. "Trippy, cool sounds, harmonium, what’s not to love?" writes audio engineer Eric French.

Best Use Of Finger Snaps: Honey and Blue

Honey and Blue would have been a leading contender for WOSU's local favorite prize, except they were just featured on Broad & High Presents this season. Real-life couple Stephanie Amber and Adam Darling anchor the soulful "Picture Perfect," which they wrote for an upcoming album. Like I wrote for All Songs Considered: "The laid-back R&B jam is about realizing you deserve something better than what you have; when the music drops out for a finger-snapping chorus, the band members have earned the sense of jubilation."

Best Big Group Ensemble - Native Glory

One tried-and-true strategy for the Tiny Desk Contest is to pile as many friends and collaborators as possible into a single room. This year, nobody pulled that off better than the ensemble Native Glory, who merge soul and spoken word for the affecting "Eternal Love." The chorus is simple but powerful: "You should go after the one who really loves you."

Best Solo Performance - Sarah Hudson

"Bad Enough" is a true songwriter's song, about a touring musician's insecurities and struggles. Sarah Hudson has some experience with that, as a member of Columbus pop band The Salty Caramels. But with the rest of the band stripped out, Hudson's voice and diaristic lyrics becomes the star. "Her melody and vocals just keep you pulled in the entire song," writes Lisa Gain, one our judges and last year's local favorite winner.

Biggest Sound With Smallest

Tiniest Tiny Desk - All Powerful Sungoddess

A small plastic desk with a miniature globe kicks off "Runaway" from All Powerful Sungoddess, ranked as a favorite by a few of our judges. It's an appropriately quirky prop for the bouncing indie pop tune, which revolves around an electric ukule and the interweaving vocals of Eileen O'Sullivan and Lauren Sega.