Dream Collaborations

by Jeff Yerger

“Supergroups” are totally in right now… er, I mean “Collaborations” (sorry not sorry, Sammy Hagar). ”Collaborations” has become a more trendy thing to do these days, and everyone seems to be in on it. Broken Bells – the Shins’ James Mercer and Danger Mouse “not-a-side-project” side project – will be releasing a new album in February. Gnarles Barkley, another Danger Mouse outfit along with Cee-Lo Green, is rumored to be working on a new album for 2014. In 2013, while not grouching about Spotify, Radiohead dancer Thom Yorke, Radiohead producer Nigel Goldrich, and Red Hot Chili bassist Flea came together as Atoms for Peace to make some noise.  There was also St. Vincent and David Byrne (which sadly was not dubbed “St. David Byrne”), and even an Elvis Costello album with The Roots! Also, lest we forget, not long ago Metallica and Lou Reed did…something…together…which we shall not speak of ever again [shudders]. On top of all that, Daft Punk made 2013 the year of the dance by collaborating with… well, just about everybody.

When they click, big-name collaborations can be really cool, and within recent years, they’re becoming more popular. Why not continue the trend? It’s 2014 people! Let’s get together and feel alright, right? There are a lot of artists I’d like to see work together. Some seem feasible, others irrational, but hey, a guy can dream. One rule though: they must not suck. But let’s dream big anyway. Here are some collaborations I’d like to see in 2014.

The Edge & School of Seven Bells

With Benjamin Curtis’ passing, indie-pop truly lost on of its unsung guitar heroes. As legend has it, guitarist for Secret Machines (another underappreciated band from the early 00’s), Curtis introduced U2’s The Edge to a new fuzz pedal  for his guitar set up, which he then used religiously on 2009’s underrated No Line on the Horizon. I think it would be a fitting tribute if The Edge and School of Seven Bells singer/guitarist Alejandra Deheza recorded one of Curtis’ unfinished songs together, using the very technique Curtis taught the Edge.

Danny Brown & Purity Ring

Listeners got a brief taste of this collaboration on Brown’s latest album, Old, and I don’t know about you, but I want to hear more. Purity Ring have a unique, icy sound to them, which I think would work well in today’s hip-hop landscape. For whatever reason, the back and forth between Brown’s raspy delivery and Megan James’ auto-tuned coos meshed really well. Plus, both artists write really weird lyrics, which could make for a fascinating listen.

Paul McCartney & The Rolling Stones

Come on, you’re telling me you wouldn’t want to know what it would sound like if The Beatles and the Rolling Stones made a record together? They represent the two most important bands in rock and roll as we know it, and together, The Sir Paul Stones (wait, that doesn’t sound right… maybe The Rolling Pauls? Exile on Abbey Road?) would be an unstoppable behemoth capable of swallowing cities whole. Just think: Paul McCartney’s slinky bass lines intertwining with Keith Richard’s crispy riffs, while Mick Jagger rambles on about… I don’t know… how big his mouth is, or something. That would be enough to make a grown man cry.

Dave Grohl & Wavves

You wanna meet Dave Grohl? Well, how about playing in a band with him instead? To say the least, Grohl’s drumming prowess would be a MAJOR improvement for a Wavves band lacking in that department, and perhaps old man Dave would see something of his younger self in Wavves’ Nathan Williams. Together, they could record “The Dave Grohl EP” featuring the songs: “I Wanna Meet Dave Grohl (remix featuring Dave Grohl)”, “I Just Met Dave Grohl”, “I Made a Record With Dave Grohl)”, “Dave Grohl Where Are You Going (Don’t Leave Us)”, and “Dave Grohl Sonata in B minor”.

Deafheaven & Joy Formidable

Joy Formidable’s sophomore effort, Wolf’s Law, came across as tastefully bombastic without plunging into Muse territory. Yet, at times, it felt too overly calculated and orchestrated… if that makes any sense. For their next record, I’d like to see them bring the layered guitars to the forefront again and just make some beautiful noise without over-thinking it (think “Whirring” meets “The Leopard and the Lung”)… but that’s another discussion for another time (paging Steve Albini). Anyway, after listening to Deafheaven’s amazing Sunbather, it’s not hard to picture TJF’s Ritzy Bryan’s voice echoing over that mountainous cascade of guitars. Much like The Joy Formidable, Deafheaven aren’t afraid to contrast loud, heavy moments with beautiful, reflective ones, and I think Deafheaven would help The Joy Formidable get the maximum impact out of each. A Deafheaven/Joy Formidable record would probably be one of the loudest ever made, and it would be amazing.

Kanye West & Thom Yorke

Picture this: two of music’s most important artists under one roof, making music together, finding new sounds – new avenues, and pushing each other to the limit. I can just see Kanye rapping over a beat that’s so noticeably Kanye West but most definitely Radiohead/Yorke-ish. Yes, I can picture it, but I certainly can’t hear it, because it would be some sort of music we’ve never even heard yet, like trying to picture a new color (although, maybe this song could give you an idea). Hyperbole aside, if there is one thing these two men each know, it’s how to consistently make a brilliant album, one after another. It would HAVE to work, and it would almost be unfair to everyone else. They’re both musical geniuses in their own right. I just can’t see a project with these two heads failing (unless they still hate each other). Together they’d be “Thomye West.”

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