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Nick Hakim: Tiny Desk Concert

The music of Nick Hakim occupies a space and time that is faintly out of this world. The guitars and machinery that make up his music feel slightly askew, as though someone slowed down the tape machine every once in a while. His raspy voice feels drenched in a cavernous space. In fact, the first time I met Nick Hakim, he was literally draped in fiber optics, as if stars were surrounding him. That was in Austin at SXSW's Optic Obscura installation.

But here at the Tiny Desk, in Nick Hakim's hometown of Washington D.C., it was daylight at our office and all pretty down-to-earth, with guitars, bass, drums, piano and a touch of electronics behind my desk. Yet, with his voice unamplified and stripped of the reverb he's come to rely on, Nick Hakim's music still felt warm and spacious.

The songs he performed are from his 2017 record, Green Twins. The tune he opens with is an exploration of memory, of sex and love as he sings, "It's been years since you came around to these parts of my mind / All I can recall is you restin' naked every time."

Exploring the quietude of inner thoughts seems to be a theme floating through Nick Hakim's music. And in the broad daylight of this Tiny Desk, his talent for lyricism and tamed passion, along with his band's playful restraint, reshaped these songs in ways that feel more accessible and less obtuse. So here's your chance to discover someone who may be new to you, with the hope you'll explore Nick Hakim's recorded work.

Set List

• "Cuffed"

• "Needy Bees"

• "Roller Skates"


Nick Hakim (vocals and guitar), Kyle Miles (bass), Jake Sherman (keys), Joe Harrison (guitar), Vishal Nayak (drums)


Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Alyse Young, Maia Stern; Production Assistant: Salvatore Maicki; Photo: Jennifer Kerrigan/NPR.

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In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.
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