Credit: NPR

Tiny Desk concerts involve challenges and constraints that aren't always immediately apparent: The crowd stands closer than many artists expect, it's truly a working office and not a soundstage, in-ear monitors are a no-no and so on. The guideline that caught Alvvays off-guard came in the form of our limit on reverb and other vocal sweeteners, which get used to glorious effect on 2022's Blue Rev, but are otherwise frowned-upon at the Tiny Desk.

The restriction forced the Toronto band — and recent first-time Grammy nominee — well outside its comfort zone. But it also shined a bright light on the radiant and expressive voice of Molly Rankin while proving, in the spirit of T-Pain, that not every vocal enhancement is there to hide imperfections. Still, Rankin acknowledged the nerves involved in making this show happen: "We've not worked up the courage to do this until today," she said with a chuckle, acknowledging (however indirectly) that we'd been trying to make this Tiny Desk concert happen for ages.

The band needn't have worried, as its magnificent recreation of Blue Rev's billowy, shoegaze-y sound lit up the room. By the time Rankin joked about replacing a retiring Bob Boilen, we were half-inclined to give her the job, just to keep Alvvays from leaving. Can you imagine a more lopsided trade?


  • "Belinda Says"
  • "Pressed"
  • "Very Online Guy"
  • "Tile By Tile"


  • Molly Rankin: lead vocals, guitar
  • Alec O'Hanley: guitar, vocals
  • Kerri MacLellan: keys, vocals
  • Abbey Blackwell: bass, vocals
  • Sheridan Riley: drums, vocals


  • Producers: Stephen Thompson, Bob Boilen
  • Director: Joshua Bryant
  • Audio Engineer: Neil Tevault
  • Series Producer: Bobby Carter 
  • Editor: Maia Stern
  • Videographers: Joshua Bryant, Elizabeth Gillis, Maia Stern
  • Audio Assistant: Ted Mebane
  • Production Assistant: Ashley Pointer
  • Photographer: Zayrha Rodriguez
  • Tiny Desk Team: Suraya Mohamed, Josh Rogosin, Hazel Cills
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann

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