The Swell Season: Tiny Desk Concert

Hear Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova of The Swell Season perform a Tiny Desk Concert.closemore
Hear Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova of The Swell Season perform a Tiny Desk Concert.

Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova record and tour together using the name The Swell Season, which is a shorter but far less descriptive moniker than "Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, Who Won Oscars for the Song 'Falling Slowly,' From the Hit Indie Musical Once." So when we informed our coworkers that last Wednesday's Tiny Desk Concert would feature the pair, the response generally ran somewhere along the lines of, "Um, okay. ... Wait, who? THEM? REALLY?"

Hansard and Irglova stopped by our Washington, D.C., offices as a way of passing time between trips to New York and Denver, with the understanding that 1) we'd set up a keyboard for Irglova to play; and 2) they'd be expected to perform the standard three- or four-song Tiny Desk set. Both plans fell by the wayside quickly. The gigantic keyboard we'd provided would have been far more suitable had Irglova been a member of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, so they opted to scrap it and huddle up around Hansard's battered acoustic guitar. And three songs? Well, that wouldn't do. Hansard kept asking to play longer; not surprisingly, he met little resistance.

For those who can't wait to hear songs from The Swell Season's follow-up to Once (titled Strict Joy, out Oct. 27), Hansard and Irglova played six new songs before performing the first-ever Tiny Desk Concert encore: a white-knuckle journey through "When Your Mind's Made Up." From quietly mournful sing-alongs ("Back Broke") to Van Morrison-esque thrill rides ("Feeling the Pull"), the whole thing doesn't so much satisfy expectations as feed them further.

To download video of this Tiny Desk Concert — and any or all of those before it — subscribe to the "Live in Concert From All Songs Considered" podcast here.

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