Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Best Mashups Out There (that I've come across)

And then suddenly, mashups were everywhere. As with all pop culture blips, no one seems sure quite why or how they erupted into the mainstream -- Greg Gillis a.k.a. Girl Talk has been selling out shows with his teeming compositions since at least 2005 -- but for my part, I find myself happy to be swept with the current. I freaking love mashups. 

If you're in Los Angeles one of the best nights out you can have is at the Echoplex every other Saturday or so, for their Bootie LA night. But if you can't make it out to that, thank goodness you have this: another useless blog entry by me. I've taken the time to compile some of the best mashups I've come across, whether in a drunken thrashing stupor or in the calm of my home. (The former being weighted and re-judged accordingly.)

What makes a great mashup? If the obvious benchmarks of proper tuning and a reasonably sophisticated mix are achieved, I think it's the insistence that fans from both sides abandon their pretenses and dance ludicrously in harmony -- sometimes literally. My favorite mashup of all the ones below surely is Carly Rae Jepsen thrown headlong against Nine Inch Nails -- two artists whose fans must have nothing but contempt for one another; but in the face of such a fantastic and surpassingly catchy/angry mashup, the headbangers and the teenyboppers have no choice but to jump in the pit together and dance as one. Indeed, mashups are love. They might just be the one great hope for humanity. No?

Mo Free Mo Fallin'
The White Panda

White Panda are still underground enough not to come up on Pandora, but they are without a doubt the most skilled (and most party-friendly) mashup duo in the land. Many more of my picks for favorite mashups would come from them if it weren't for that you can listen to nearly the entirety of their mixes in two full albums available on Youtube -- see below.

Grease vs. Snoop Dogg
Disfunctional DJ

It's easy enough to take rap lyrics and lay them over a different instrumental track -- but inspired to bring together gangsta rap and a cheesy Hollywood musical number. The result can't help but make you picture Snoop bouncing around a high school track with a big teenage grin. I think he would approve.

Chemical Brothers vs. Velvet Underground vs. U2

Sometimes the joy of a mashup isn't the danceability or the creativity but the sheer complexity of the mix -- this one brings together even more artists than the three above, and proves as I've always thought that the "Sweet Jane" anthem is one of the most universally catchy riffs of all time.

Call Me A Hole

This one is my favorite.

Will A G6 Roll
The MashMaticians

This track doesn't quite soar like it could, but I like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs getting some love. And I've always thought that "G6" song could be made more danceable.

Don't Bro Me If You Don't Know Me
Super Mash Bros.

Here's another thing that mashups may sometimes do: take an obscure song that no one knows -- in this case a trashy rap number from Mickey Avalon -- and actually make it better. For example, by laying it over the wistful piano theme from RENT??? I think some folk may disagree with me on this one, but I love it. Especially when it shifts away from Avalon and then, at 2:05, brings in the fucking RUGRATS theme.

We Can Make The World Stop / Bangarang
Manna Music (?)

Youtube, of course, has a glut of aspiring artists posting mediocre stuff they've recorded -- but here is a young DJ showing his own off-the-cuff mix of The Glitch Mob and Skrillex, and damned if it isn't pretty head-thrashingly, ball-bustingly good. He screws up noticeably at 4:25, but up until then the drops are worthy of a chiropractor.

Smells Like Rockin' Robin
Go Home Productions

No sophisticated mix here, just a brilliant and hilarious melding of vocals with an "alternative" musical track. It almost (almost) borders on the poignant since you can so easily picture Kurt Cobain hopping and bopping around, having found the happiness he never knew in life in this tweety, sunshiney alternate universe.

Eye of the Tiger / Tongue Tied  (on Bambooyah)
Teach Me How To Funk (on Pandamonium)
The White Panda

I leave you with these two mini-tracks from the White Panda (again), which can only be found within their full albums -- which you shall now listen to in their entirety. Both snippets come early on, launching the nonstop party in high style. The "Tiger" mix starts at 1:16 and you do the "Dougie" at 00:43


Cecilia Nights
DJ McFly

Somewhere out there must be the definitive mashup that the anthemic "Some Nights" deserves...until then, this one has a good go at it -- the pounding joy of Paul Simon's "Cecilia" being a natural complement.

Du Hast Sandstorm
Coleman Hamilton (?)

This one is a bit predictable and clubby, but hey, it brings together the two songs that still make me go all nostalgic for what it felt like to be dancing to "hardcore" and "badass" music as a dweeby 90s teenager for the first time. Well, so I thought anyway.

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