Palehound: Tiny Desk Concert

By Stephen Thompson  |  NPR

Last fall in New York City, NPR Music recorded a blistering concert by Palehound, in which singer, songwriter and guitarist Ellen Kempner presided over a string of tense and evocative songs about overcoming doubt and, when necessary, spitting venom. A few months ago, we jumped at the opportunity to capture Kempner’s band in a quieter and more contained setting, in which Palehound could perform amid the pin-drop silence of a rapt and brightly daylit crowd.

The results — three spare, nervy renditions of songs from 2015’s Dry Food — are, naturally, a bit rawer and more exposed than Palehound’s earlier show in New York. But, with the aid of drummer Jesse Weiss and bassist Davood Khoshtinat, Kempner uses that intimacy to her advantage. She may have paused to show off a bit of glittery flair on her guitar (courtesy of her former tourmates in PWR BTTM), but her set felt unadorned in every other way.

Dry Food is available now. (iTunes) (Amazon)

Set List

  • “Pet Carrot”
  • “Dry Food”
  • “Dixie”


Producers: Bob Boilen, Niki Walker; Audio Engineers: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Kara Frame; Production Assistant: Jackson Sinnenberg; Photo: Brandon Chew/NPR.

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