Alex G is a man of few words — at least outside of his songwriting. The musician made his NPR Tiny Desk concert debut with a four-song set backed by a four-piece band and was content to let the music speak for itself. “I don’t have a lot to say,” he shared briefly at one point during the concert before launching into a song.
Alex G’s set chronologically began with back-to-back offerings from his ninth studio album God Save the Animals, released in September. The studio recordings of both “Runner” and “Miracles” toggle between energetic rock performance and heartfelt serenity, though only the latter carried over to the stripped-back Tiny Desk show.
For the second half of his set, Alex G revisited 2019’s House of Sugar and 2015’s Beach Music, first performing “Gretel” and closing out with “Snot.” Both songs were drained of their overloaded production in favor of simple melodic arrangements from his band, made up of guitarist Samuel Acchione, bassist John Heywood, drummer Thomas Kelly, and Molly Germer, who played both violin and piano throughout the performance.
Alex G created God Save the Animals almost entirely on his own, save the few songs where he teamed up with this same collection of instrumentalists, including Germer, who lent strings and accompanying arrangements to “Miracles” and “Early Morning Waiting.”
“There’s no ethos about it,” the musician told Rolling Stone earlier this year about his approach to songwriting, defined by his proficiency on his own and a knack for knowing when it’s right to bring other artists into the fold. “I figure, ‘This is what got me here, doing it like this.’ I don’t want to jinx it.”