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Celebrating The Animal Friends Of The 2019 Tiny Desk Contest

Who's got the best pet? Clockwise from top left: American Forrest, Erin Rae & The Heartbeets, The Grackles, The Brothers Reed, TWINKIDS, Ano Bank$.
Who's got the best pet? Clockwise from top left: American Forrest, Erin Rae & The Heartbeets, The Grackles, The Brothers Reed, TWINKIDS, Ano Bank$.

Update: The votes are in for this year's final Tiny Desk Contest fan favorite vote, and you chose The Brothers Reed (and good dog Cosmo) for its entry "Mexico!"

The Brothers Reed recorded its entry video on a sunny, pastoral day. In the video, the band performs "Mexico" with chirping birds and a vintage truck in the background, and humming harmonies and cowboy hats in the foreground. The band verbalizes the idyllic nature of the scene, singing, "Everything is more than right this time / the dream's alive and Kathleen's by my side / baby, I love you / so good to be home."

Whether you're a dog person, a cat person, or even a goat person, we have a chorus of creature content for you. Check out a compilation of entry videos with animals from this year's Tiny Desk Contest!

Congratulations to all the artists in this week's fan favorite vote, human and fauna alike. Next week, we'll be announcing the 2019 Tiny Desk Contest winner. You can browse through all 6,000+ entries from this year's Contest while you're waiting.

The Brothers Reed, "Mexico"

While on tour in Cottonwood, Arizona, The Brothers Reed recorded its entry video for "Mexico." The wide open fields where the band recorded make a stunning setting for pups Cosmo and Dixie to tussle it out. In an email to NPR, The Brothers Reed said, "Cosmo was the most loving, cuddly dog, while his sister was a complete nightmare that loved to terrorize him and us." Despite the dog dynamics, Philip and Aaron Reed's harmonies add incredible dimension to this wise folk tune, and TJ Eilers holds it down with a solid bassline.

The Grackles, "Both Lean In"

Off the grid in snowy Vermont, The Grackles performed "Both Lean In" for its Tiny Desk Contest entry video. The song is a poignant reflection on the love and loss we experience over the course of a lifetime. But band members Ariel Zevon and Duffy Gardner are in good company in this video, surrounded by Zevon's small herd of goats. She writes in an email to us, "The brown and white Nubian is my eldest, Holly. She's the grand dame of the bunch." And yes: That is a turkey chiming in. You can spot it gobbling on the fence to the left.

TWINKIDS, "Dreamer"

TWINKIDS' use of space in the electro-pop ballad "Dreamer" is so elegant you will feel as if you're floating. This entry video reminds me that some of my favorite performances feel authentic because of the moments of pause and laughter woven throughout — and how could we resist a 10-pound chihuahua named Tatsu chewing loudly in the corner? TWINKIDS says that Tatsu "is generally a chill dog but recently she's picked up the habit of trying to sing with me when I'm rehearsing or recording." You can thank her for the song choice; band members Gene Fukui and Matt Young specifically chose this song because they knew Tatsu wouldn't try to sing along on this one.

Ano Bank$, "Trading Places"

In this Contest entry, Ano Bank$ and guitarist Cabernet perform a stripped down performance of their song "Trading Places." Ano Bank$ proves he doesn't need heavy production or a full band; his clever verses stand alone, painting a vivid picture of everyday life. As for the purring cat in the background? That's Draco: "A pureblood melanistic bengal aka full blood mini panther from the Southside of Chicago, " Ano Bank$ told us over email. Draco belongs to videographer Jihoon Woo and enjoys a nice view out the window. "Contrary to popular beliefs and black cat superstitions," Ano Bank$' assures, "Draco is known to bring good luck to those around him."

Erin Rae & The Heartbeets, "Ol' Dirty Dog"

Erin Rae & The Heartbeets had us howling at its sassy blues song "Ol' Dirty Dog." The performance wouldn't be complete without the help of Simon and Billie Girl. Simon belongs to Chris Mathews Jr., who filmed the video. Billie Girl is bandleader Erin Rae's dog, and is a regular feature at band practices, Rae says via email: "After making the rounds she naps. Preferably in front of the bass drum."

An American Forrest, "Yonder, My Love"

An American Forrest serenades the cows with its Tiny Desk Contest entry video, "Yonder, My Love." The song's simple arrangement allows the focus to be on the lyrics and the ambient sounds of the ranch. In the caption, Forrest VanTuyls' gives some sage advice: "If you live in a place with 7,000 people and 30,000 head of cattle, remember to play for the biggest demographic."

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