While performances, parties, clubs and bars are suspended, musicians have been finding ways to continue to communicate with each other and share their music. Video shoots are scrapped and reformed in new, innovative ways. Instagram Live is filled with DJs playing party sets, musicians jamming in their living rooms and singers performing in front of their laptops. Music—through live shows, recordings and conversations—has taken on new life online, and we can support these artists by watching, donating to and sharing their creative approaches to this new world.
The Roots are just as prolific online as they have been for years, creating several shows for their YouTube channel. On Behind the Keys with James Poyser, the multi-instrumentalist discusses writing “Other Side Of The Game” with Erykah Badu, working with Al Green, Mariah Carey and others; while guitarist and singer “Captain” Kirk Douglas presents Guitar Stories which also offers insight into working with various greats. Black Thought (Tariq Luqmaan Trotter) hosts Streams of Thought, a show that features a chat with D-Nice. Questlove (Ahmir Khalib Thompson) has committed himself to long DJ sets with #QuestosWreckaStow, raising money for Food Hub.
Known for showcasing dynamic musicians from around the world, COLORS set up a live stream for artists to be able to perform from home. New live streams are planned for every Tuesday at 6PM London time. Watch Zebra Katz’s intense performance, Greentea Peng’s mellow show, and streams by Little Dragon, Princess Nokia, Lido Pimienta and many more on their YouTube channel.
Tiny Desk at Home
The beloved NPR Tiny Desk shows are usually filmed at Bob Boilen’s desk at the organization’s Washington, DC headquarters. Now in their home series the items are the artists’ own collections. Recent home performances include a tribute to John Prine by various artists including Margo Price and Jeremy Ivey, Michael McDonald playing some classic Doobie Brothers, King Princess, Soccer Mommy, and Jesca Hoop. We recommend starting off with Tarriona “Tank” Ball (of Tank and The Bangas), who—during her energizing 14-minute set—explains social distancing through song, uses a suitcase and a jar of cocoa butter for percussion, and dazzles viewers with her undeniable charisma.
Real Estate Quarantour
Real Estate‘s Quarantour is an “augmented reality concert experience” viewed on your cellphone, and is a way for fans to enjoy an almost-real-life live concert without having to leave home. Visit their site on a mobile device and through your phone’s camera, place the band—on stage with full light and sound rigs—anywhere you point. The show’s setlist includes seven songs, plus an encore.
LOSTResort with TOKiMONSTA
LOSTResort—now several episodes deep—began as a listening party and has developed into a meet up with friends to discuss music. Hosted by producer/DJ TOKiMONSTA (aka Jennifer Lee), the series is casual and delightfully unpolished. Featuring discussions with SOFI TUKKER, Soul Clap, Mija and Justin Martin, and others, the show is released weekly and feels like a nice chat with pals—snack conversations included.
Yellow House Sessions
A series of shows filmed in Nina Raj and Erik Shute’s sunny Los Angeles backyard, Yellow House Sessions offer a platform for many up-and-coming musicians to play for people all around the world; they also grant insight into LA’s indie music scene. Along with the videos, their site publishes Raj’s photographs of each show. More shows are planned for the future, but for now viewers can take a look at the impressive backlog of videos, including an utterly charming show by Fake Jazz (aka Liliana Burgos) which blends jazz, bossa nova and more.
Andrew Bird’s Live From the Great Room
Three years ago, indie darling and prolific musician Andrew Bird debuted his Live From the Great Room series, for which he invites performers (most of which are his friends) to his home to play music together. Now these shows live on YouTube where viewers can enjoy discussions and performances with The National’s Matt Berninger, Yola, even the LA Philharmonic and Gabriel Kahane. The episode with Zach Galifianakis includes an insightful conversation about the similarities between music and comedy—and how musicians and comedians inspire and envy each other.
Brooklinen + Snoop Dogg: Stay Kushy, Stay Home Virtual Concert
Benefitting America’s Food Fund, high-quality linen and loungewear brand Brooklinen has partnered with Snoop Dogg for a one-off virtual concert dubbed Stay Kushy, Stay Home. For free on both Brooklinen‘s and Snoop Dogg’s Instagram, the concert kicks off at 4:20PM on 4/20 (20 April). The brand will make a donation to America’s Food Fund and encourages viewers to do the same.
Hero image courtesy of COLORS