Music

Spotlight: Super-Collabs

For no reason other than simple viewing pleasure, let’s venture into that gray area between star-studded supergroup and one-off collaboration. What follows could be the work of a fully formed band, or the result of a few artists jamming, whichever the case, they’re linked together here by the fact that things went well.

Earlier this year, experimental rock legends Flaming Lips hung out in a New York studio with synth aficionado Alan Palomo aka Neon Indian. The session came together fast, spawning a very specific, space quest of material, which drew upon Palomo’s sci-fi tendencies more so than his sunshine vibes. The 20 minute trip has a pretty dark and droning feel, not too far from the psychedelic stretches on the Lips’ most recent album, and really, that’s probably a better outcome than anything involving a hazed-out Wayne Coyne singing over chillwave beats.


One of a dozen Jack White ensembles, this might have never happened had The Kills‘ Alison Mosshart not joined The Raconteurs on stage one night in 2009 when White lost his voice. Two albums and corresponding tours later, the group certainly became more than a hobby, but is on hold while members balance other projects. They promise to return; let’s hope so, it would be a shame to never see (above badassery) happen on a stage again.


Ryan Olson, Bon Iver, Megafaun, members of The Rosebuds…25 musicians total, coming together for the sake of 1980′s soft rock inspired, sex music at a one-time concert in Minneapolis, MN called The Last Prom On Earth. It could have been a joke at first, still might be, and even then you can’t help but lounge with 2010 album Relayted, in proper doses.


It was perhaps only a matter of time that these two cosmic forces would find each other. And boy did they ever, last year for Austin’s KVRX FM, where a 40-minute improvisational jam session was recorded—something we can now call Night Gallery. As expected, this is one continuous wall of new age sound-sculpting, with heady guitar solos for days. Spark up.


Covering INXS, that would be Liar‘s Angus Andrew and the lovely Annie Clark on vocals (with her St Vincent violist Daniel Hart), backed by Sergio Dias from the legendary Brazilian band Os Mutantes, and the list goes on. Arranged as part of Beck’s Record Club, where he and select friends cover a landmark album in under 24 hours, they managed to reinterpret this 1987 hit as a more tender slow-jam.


Supergroups like this don’t come along that often, especially since it’s not 1970. The frontman of arguably the best (and sometimes biggest) band in the world, and one of the most iconic bassists of all time, Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ Flea, with two veteran percussionists and longtime Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich on the atmospherics. It was a perfect storm when they took on the beat-heavy solo album of Yorke’s for a few on a whim (but well practiced) surprise shows in 2009, followed some festival appearances. And according to an interview just last week, the guys have finished up an album.


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