THE BEST Music

Josh Groban Sings in the Shower

Josh Groban Sings in the Shower

Golden-throated, big-hearted Josh Groban raised his voice and spirits with a free bedroom performance. He also raised $15,000+ for Meals on Wheels America, on the front lines of the pandemic, so thanked fans by singing “You Raise Me Up” in his shower. (Fully clothed, though he has said the song should be used for Viagra ads.)

Songs Around the World: The Weight

Songs Around the World: The Weight

To support the charity Playing for Change, musicians Robbie Robertson, Ringo Starr, joined amazingly talented artists from around the globe for a performance of The Band’s 1968 classic The Weight. Enjoy more from their Songs Around the World series here. (Thanks Jonathan!)

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Pinch Me at Home

Pinch Me at Home

“We are isolating, but we are not isolated.” Musicians and performers around the globe continue to provide us with great bare-bones performances during the COVID-19 lockdown. Listen and enjoy as the members of Barenaked Ladies perform their 2000 hit “Pinch Me” from the comfort of their individual living rooms.

Gorillaz Fingerstyle

Gorillaz Fingerstyle

Like much of the world, Italian guitarist Luca Stricagnoli is staying put during the COVID-19 outbreak. But that hasn’t stopped him from playing like a boss while wearing his respirator mask. Luca’s performance of Gorillaz’ track Clint Eastwood is a uplifting dose of what we need during these trying times. The future is coming on…

The Black Crowes: Tiny Desk Concert

The Black Crowes: Tiny Desk Concert

Shortly before the lockdowns began, Chris Robinson and his brother Rich dropped by the NPR offices to perform three of their soul-stirring 1990s tunes stripped down to their essence, including their hits “She Talks to Angels” and “Jealous Again,” along with a lesser-known track, “Wiser Time.”

MIDI-Controlled Pipe Organ

MIDI-Controlled Pipe Organ

With help from the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago, musician Rob Scallon got to check out how a pipe organ works, and noticed that the one they have is capable of outputting MIDI signals. After a bit of experimenting, he figured out its keyboard and pedals can also be controlled via the digital music protocol.

Work from Home Orchestra

Work from Home Orchestra

The Colorado Symphony had to postpone its performances, but that didn’t stop their members from performing together. They just had to do it from home. To help keep the music alive, they played the uplifting Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Keep an eye on their #PlayOn playlist for more shelter-in-place performances.

Squirrel Nut Zippers: La Grippe

Squirrel Nut Zippers: La Grippe

Minutes before COVID-19 shutdowns started, at The Magic Bag in Detroit, the Squirrel Nut Zippers made this video of “La Grippe,” a macabre ditty about the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918. The infectious song originally appeared on the band’s debut album and will inevitably rock the setlist for the “Inevitable 25th Anniversary Tour.”

S+C+A+R+R: The Rest Of My Days

S+C+A+R+R: The Rest Of My Days

Director Jack Antoine Charlot’s music video for S+C+A+R+R’s groovin’ dance track features a singular character with some mad dance moves. Because the motion is so incredibly smooth, it’s hard to tell where the CGI animation and live dancer begin and end. Remember, now is a great time to perfect your own choreography at home.

Megadeth & Electra Come Together

Megadeth & Electra Come Together

Even metal guitar gods are mortal. Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine is playing it safe by isolating at home with his family during the COVID-19 shutdown, so he and his daughter Electra (a monster singer in her own right) recorded a living room jam on a Beatles classic: “Come together! Right now… QUARANTINE!”

John Fogerty Shelters in Place

John Fogerty Shelters in Place

If there’s one good thing to come out of sheltering in place, it’s the intimate performances being posted by musicians and other entertainers. In this episode of Rolling Stone’s series “In My Room,” John Fogerty performs three classic Creedence Clearwater Revival tracks, and proves he still has serious vocal chops at age 74.

Weird Al: Alone on His Balcony

Weird Al: Alone on His Balcony

While at home during California’s shelter-in-place mandate, “Weird Al” Yankovic decided to bust out his accordion and serenade his neighborhood in the hills with a little impromptu concert. His performance of Mason Williams’s 1968 instrumental Classical Gas is wonderfully expressive and heartfelt.

Humble Music Producer Bundle

Humble Music Producer Bundle

Music folks, upgrade your digital sound game with this pay-what-you-want bundle of sound packs and synthesizers from Applied Acoustics Systems and Humble. Sounds can be played using the included AAS player, or patched into your favorite digital audio workstation. Spend $20 or more for the full pack. (Expires 4/15/2020)

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Rex Orange County: Tiny Desk Concert

Rex Orange County: Tiny Desk Concert

(PG-13: Language) Alex O’Connor aka Rex Orange County performs a mini-concert of four soulful and heartfelt tunes, bringing a touch of much needed light into these dark days. We love how he embraces the vibe of 1970s adult contemporary music, but still makes it his own.

Metal Mad World

Metal Mad World

The Tears for Fears track Mad World has had two very strong showings over the years. Now we have a third variant, with the Melodicka Bros turning in a very solid hard rock arrangement of the song, expressing the song’s lyrics with a bit more anger than sorrow.

Yellow: Korean Style

Yellow: Korean Style

Musician Luna Lee once again makes the strings of her gayageum sing, this time with an excellent cover version of Coldplay’s Y2K track Yellow. We’re always in awe of the nuanced vibrato she’s able to produce with her instrument.

The Story of Silver Apples

The Story of Silver Apples

If you think that electronic music was born in the 1970s or 1980s, you’d be wrong. Bandsplaining introduces us to Silver Apples, a group who was way ahead of their time, creating innovative glitch-pop sounds back in 1967. They even worked with Jimi Hendrix, but faded into obscurity after a controversial album cover did them in.

Music Genre: Video Game, Animated.

Music Genre: Video Game, Animated.

Seth Everman’s hilarious take on video game music and sound tropes gets a fresh coat of paint, courtesy of animator Sherbies, who added some appropriate game imagery to the original soundtrack. So when can we play Legend of Selma, Bintendo folks?

Hands… Washing Hands

Hands… Washing Hands

“Don’t touch me, I won’t touch you…” Musician Neil Diamond brings a little joy into our worlds today with an intimate fireside performance of his classic Sweet Caroline, but with the lyrics tweaked to reflect the current world we live in.

The Naked and Famous: Blinding Lights

The Naked and Famous: Blinding Lights

New Zealand indie band The Naked and Famous dropped by Australia’s Triple J studios, where they put their unique spin onto The Weeknd’s 2020 hit Blinding Lights, picking up on the track’s 1980s-inspired electronic sounds, while Alisa Xayalith’s vocals give it a warmer and richer sound.

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Remote Choir

Remote Choir

A group of students form California’s Chino Valley Unified School District were supposed to have a live choir performance, but their show was canceled due to COVID-19. But they turned lemons into lemonade by recording each of their parts of Somewhere Over the Rainbow at home, then posted the mix for the world to enjoy.

13 Levels of Beatboxing

13 Levels of Beatboxing

For their series Easy to Complex, WIRED invited 2005 Female World Beatbox Champion Butterscotch to explain how a beatbox performance comes together. She starts out with the basic bass drum, then builds up thicker beats, eventually mixing in singing and vocal instrumentation. And don’t forget your Boots and Cats.

Coldplay: Tiny Desk Concert

Coldplay: Tiny Desk Concert

Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland dropped by the NPR offices with a nine-member gospel choir, who provided backing vocals for soulful performances of “Cry Cry Cry,” “Viva La Vida,” “Broken,” a cover of Prince’s “1999,” and their 2019 track “Champion of the World.”

Lovely Day + Lizzo Mashup

Lovely Day + Lizzo Mashup

What happens when your Lovely Day is Good as Hell? We imagine it sounds something like this excellent musical mashup by the guys from Pomplamoose, who managed to seamlessly combine the Bill Withers classic with Lizzo’s 2019 pop megahit into one delightfully upbeat tune.

King of the Hill Cover

King of the Hill Cover

Musician jbrooks95 shows off his multi-instrumental talents with a cover of The Refreshments’ memorable theme music from Mike Judge’s animated classic King of the Hill. We love how he incorporated the beer can, and used a cymbal to make the triangle sound.

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