This performance was recorded on Feb. 13, 2020. We will continue releasing Tiny Desk videos of shows that had already been taped. In light of current events, NPR is postponing new live tapings of Tiny Desk Concerts. In the meantime, check out Tiny Desk (home) concerts! They’re recorded by the artists in their home. It’s the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.
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April 29, 2020 | Stephen Thompson — Back in the Before-Times, when Tiny Desk concerts were held in front of gatherings of people — “crowds,” we called them — we’d remind everyone in attendance to silence their cell phones. When the music was loud enough, it didn’t matter if people followed instructions. But when Daughter of Swords came to grace us with a few hushed folk songs, the music was so eerily still, you could have heard a phone vibrate.
Though she’s joined by a full band here, Daughter of Swords was originally envisioned as a solo project for Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, who returned for a second Tiny Desk concert after making a stop as one-third of the wonderful Mountain Man. Sauser-Monnig’s counterparts in that group have already been by as individuals — Molly Sarlé in a solo set, Amelia Randall Meath as the singer of Sylvan Esso — so it was only natural that Sauser-Monnig would return, too, this time to showcase songs from 2019’s gorgeous Dawnbreaker (as well as a new track called “Prairie Winter Wasteland”).
Between the rustic sweetness of the arrangements and Sauser-Monnig’s between-song banter — which included, among other things, a low-key discussion of breakfast foods — Daughter of Swords’ set doubles as a fine way to trick your doctor into not prescribing blood-pressure medication. In anxious times, it’ll settle you right down.
“Long Leaf Pine”
“Prairie Winter Wasteland”
Alexandra Sauser-Monnig: guitar, vocals; Maia Friedman: vocals, guitar, keys; Alex Bingham: bass; Joe Westerlund: drums
Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Noelle Smith, Maia Stern; Creative director: Bob Boilen; Audio engineer: Josh Rogosin, James Willetts; Videographers: Maia Stern, Melany Rochester, Jack Corbett, Morgan Noelle Smith; Editor: Maia Stern; Associate Producer: Bobby Carter; Production Assistant: Emma Bowers; Executive producer: Lauren Onkey; VP, programming: Anya Grundmann; Photo: Max Posner/NPR