Minutes before COVID-19 shutdowns started, at The Magic Bag in Detroit, the Squirrel Nut Zippers made this video of “La Grippe,” a macabre ditty about the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918. The infectious song originally appeared on the band’s debut album and will inevitably rock the setlist for the “Inevitable 25th Anniversary Tour.”
THE BEST Jazz
Cy Leo, Ivan Chong, Jerry Wong, and Ramiel Leung of the quartet Perfect Fourth turn in a perfectly executed cover version of the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s cool jazz classic Take Five, replacing the piano, drums, flute, and alto sax of the original with harmonicas. They also do a mean version of the William Tell Overture.
The members of the jazz collective Snarky Puppy turned in a downright funky mix of keyboards, horns, bass, guitar, violin, and percussion during their appearance at the NPR Music offices. They performed their instrumental tracks Tarova and Xavi, the latter’s complex rhythms with the assistance of the audience.
“I meant like Wonderwall from Oasis you know.” Professional musician Lucas Brar pokes fun at how people ask him what his real job is, along with one of the more popular requests he hears from party guests. His interpretation of the track really brought a smile to our faces.
If you ask us, Jonathan Coulton’s Still Alive is one of the greatest video game songs of all time. Now sit back, relax, and enjoy this vibrant and jazzy version of the track, performed by The 8-Bit Big Band, with singer Benny Benack III doing his best Frank Sinatra.
Vox video producer Estell Caswell digs into the design language of album art from Blue Note Records, and how one graphic designer, Reid Miles, working with the photography of Francis Wolff – was responsible for many of the most iconic jazz album covers of all time.
Musician Andy Rehfeldt loves to turn metal songs into jazz tunes. His latest makeover? Transforming Metallica’s magnum opus Master of Puppets into something even dear old Mom and Dad would enjoy. Though at 5:00, we thought it was gonna segue into Get Lucky.
A cool take on the 1964 Gloria Jones track Tainted Love – later made famous by Soft Cell, with a smooth and jazzy vibe from vocalist Nataly Dawn, and the production chops of Jack Conte, who expanded the duo of Pomplamoose to a full band for this live performance.
The sad clown with the golden voice turns in another soulful performance, with his take on the 1967 classic, made famous by Louis Armstrong. Puddles imbues it with a decidedly bittersweet undertone given some of the awful things going on in the world these days.
We love the way that Lake Street Dive incorporates the trumpet and swinging rhythms into their cover version of the 1985 A-ha classic, which we’re so used to hearing played on synthesizers. We’re also impressed with vocalist Rachael Price’s ability to hit that high note.
Metaphump performs jazzy funk covers of rock and metal tunes. Here, they turn in an excellent rendition of Rage Against the Machine’s Killing in the Name, with a groovy bassline and vibrant horn section. Their Metallica and Megadeth covers are worth a listen too.
Vocalist Tara Louise leads off one of our favorite Postmodern Jukebox covers yet, with a vibrant 1920’s jazz style version of Japanese Kawaii metal group Babymetal’s cult hit Gimme Chocolate. If you’re unfamiliar with the original, here ya go. You’re welcome.
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