On his website, Will Sheff describes this as “a project … I’d wanted to do for years and years … an album by myself and for myself, an album that doesn’t owe anything to music I made before.” And as if that wasn’t enough, Sheff’s gone all internet — the cover art is a vaguely psychedelic animated GIF, and the rather morose lyrics (which you can read in full here) include, amongst other things, a use of the word “pageview.” Remarkably, the results are unexpectedly great, even if (like your correspondent) you’re not a fan of Okkervil River.
Of course, Sheff isn’t the only indie-folk type to dabble in electronic music. Justin “Bon Iver” Vernon made this ambient, electronic-flavored record with the members of Jagjaguwar labelmates Collections of Colonies of Bees, and as with Sheff’s work, it’s really rather good. The project actually pre-dated For Emma, Forever Ago — the collaborators has been working together since 2005, although they only got around to recording their material in 2008, by which time Vernon’s solo career was heading rapidly for the stratosphere.
Sadly, it appears James Mercer’s glory days are behind him — Chutes Too Narrow still gets a fairly regular workout chez Flavorpill, but everything after that has basically been a case of diminishing returns. With that said, this collaboration with Danger Mouse was a whole lot more exciting than one might have expected — it’s interesting how exploring new-ish sounds can rejuvenate one’s creative muse.
Dee Dee King
Depending on your point of view, Dee Dee Ramone’s short-lived and entirely bewildering excursion into hip hop is either so bad it’s good or just really, really bad. Still, at least it wasn’t actively offensive, unlike the rest of this list. Take a deep breath, now…
Methods of Mayhem
Tommy Lee. And the hitherto unknown DJ Aero, who apparently “rose from the ashes of Los Angeles’ early ’90s rap scene.” Phoenixes have a lot to answer for.
Remember when Korn discovered dubstep? (Or, at least, the sound that gets called dubstep these days?) So does singer Jonathan Davis, who took his newfound love of the genre a step further with this “EDM collective,” which also featured like-minded producers Sluggo and Tyler Blue. So what could such a revolutionary cross-genre collaboration possibly sound like? If you’re feeling brave, click “play” above. At least they keep their clothes on.
Still, at least Davis didn’t end up commanding six figures for a show. Things have worked out well for the former Sonny Moore, who started dabbling in DJing after his career making middle-of-the-road screamo stuff plateaued in mind-2008. For the rest of us… not so much, eh?