photo manipulation & text by nacrowe
what a great concept.
A.V. UNDERCOVER was a CURATED LIVE PERFORMANCE web series produced by THE ONION entertainment offshoot THE A.V. CLUB that ran for seven seasons and had 310 episodes from 2010-2017. at the heart of it was the premise of a listener-derived list of songs that participating BANDS and ARTISTS would choose from, the catch being that ARTISTS performing further in the season had less choice over the material and made for some truly UNLIKELY covers.
and therein lies this LIVE MUSIC series REMARKABLE lasting cultural pull. the idea of GWAR covering the PET SHOP BOYS' "WEST END GIRLS," SEBADOH covering RUSH's "LIMELIGHT" or COHEED AND CAMBRIA covering THE SMITHS' "A RUSH AND A PUSH AND THE LAND IS OURS" is something i am absolutely here for. i am glad to live in a universe where this stuff exists. past participants include CHARLI XCX, THE GET-UP KIDS, DEERHOOF, NADA SURF, THE COATHANGERS, RISE AGAINST, TED LEO AND THE PHARMACISTS, DUM DUM GIRLS, COURTNEY BARNETT, THE POLYPHONIC SPREE, AGAINST ME!, KURT VILE, LE BUTCHERETTES, WRYE OAK and GROUPLOVE covering everyone from BIG STAR, THE GO-GOs, BLUR, NEW ORDER and NIRVANA to KATE BUSH, THE BREEDERS, ANDREW W.K., NINE INCH NAILS, NEIL YOUNG, THE CLASH, ADAM ANT, TEARS FOR FEARS, MILEY CYRUS and even THE BACKSTREET BOYS among countless others.
honestly, what is there not to love. definitely worth checking out.
photo manipulations by nacrowe
i discovered the SHOW US YOUR JUNK! series on the EARTHQUAKER DEVICES youtube channel a few months back and what it does a great job of presenting is the gear used by musicians and producers in their studio setups.
obviously EARTHQUAKER DEVICES is a company and yes, their pedals are mentioned along with those of their "competitors," but what you learn very quickly is that the equipment on display is merely a canvas and that these producers, many of them prominent musicians from bands like SONIC YOUTH, DEVO, CONVERGE and DEERHOOF are the artists that contextualize these sonic textures in tapestry unique to their sound and aesthetic. if anything, the pedals here are useful in that they help bridge the gap between conception and execution. they are essentially a tool. but i have to say, there is equal if not vastly more time dedicated to non-EARTHQUAKER items in this series. just saying.
much like RIG RUNDOWN goes after the gear setup of a touring musician, SHOW US YOUR JUNK! is dedicated to the recording setup, which in my opinion is far more interesting having spent time around my cousin who is a recording engineer in our former studio at the KREISCHER MANSION. everyone has their own technique and philosophy regarding what makes a compelling sound, which is a topic of endless fascination for me. how does the producer engage with the artist and bring about their creativity. what microphones, preamps, boards do they tend to use? what is the room ambience like at their studio?
for me this series is a great introduction to what makes each of these producers tick, which only makes me dive back into their production discographies that much harder. maybe even make a radio show or two about them (cough, cough, KURT BALLOU and STEVE ALBINI, cough, shameless plug).
by all means check them out below or watch the rest HERE.