Postmodern Jukebox jazz, but more of it
October 27, 2021 11:52 AM   Subscribe

I am in love with Postmodern Jukebox, and I am trying to find more covers of recent songs in older jazz/blues styles. Especially if their vocalists are as excellent as some of the PJ covers can be. Do you know of similar artists or producers? I suppose I could even look for muzak-style elevator jazz covers of modern songs. How do I search for these, where do I begin?

This is for background music or specific soundtrack moments during a role-playing game, I am really looking for the discrepancy between recognizable lyrics/songs with the older musical style.

I know about Richard Cheese and he's pretty great, but only some if his albums include big-band horns, and I'm not looking for the sarcastic tone, so I'll be using his stuff sparingly.
posted by panhopticon to Media & Arts (17 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Puddles Pity Party - he has recorded and couple of songs with PJJ and has a career of his own.
posted by tman99 at 12:04 PM on October 27, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: You might like Lake Street Dive's EP Fun Machine which is all covers done in their very retro jazzy/funky style with a dynamite singer. It's not pastiche though.
posted by PussKillian at 12:04 PM on October 27, 2021

Best answer: Scary pockets turn everything into funk, sometimes with singers you know from PMJ, like Casey Abrams.
posted by meijusa at 12:12 PM on October 27, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Big Daddy is an older example of what you are looking for. My favorite - warning: extremely silly.
posted by AndrewStephens at 12:14 PM on October 27, 2021

Best answer: So, Pat Boone once made a metal album. He's a garbage human, though.

Not sure if you're just looking for the big band sound -- how about bluegrass or classical, or retro synth, or dub, or brass bands?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 12:46 PM on October 27, 2021

Best answer: You can look to The Puppini Sisters for close harmony versions of some of that stuff in the style of the Andrews Sisters. Also, Paul Anka did an entire album of popular songs with big band arrangements, although it's in a more modern style than the eras PMJ evokes.

One thing to keep in mind about Postmodern Jukebox is that they're not so much popular songs done as they might have been done in the 1920s to the 1940s so much as they're popular songs filtered through hipster-ish notions of what that might be like, a bit like modern "throwback" swing dancing and period clothing are somewhat removed from swing dancing and clothing as they were in the era. This is not to say that any of it's bad, but it does mean that if what you really like is PMJ it may be difficult to find other groups swimming in those waters.
posted by slkinsey at 12:55 PM on October 27, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Max Raabe does covers.
posted by clew at 1:07 PM on October 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

posted by SaltySalticid at 1:17 PM on October 27, 2021

Best answer: For background music, Vitamin String Quartet might interest you. No vocals, all strings, and they have a huge library of modern songs covered.
posted by nukacherry at 1:48 PM on October 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Nouvelle Vague re-create a lot of Post-Punk songs as bossa-nova/pop arrangements. If that counts.
posted by ovvl at 2:29 PM on October 27, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Robyn Adele Anderson has her own channel where she does a lot of PMJ-style songs. (She was one of the breakout stars in PMJ but stayed in New York when they relocated to LA.)
posted by zompist at 3:06 PM on October 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Also recommend the very funny IMDB series Timewasters (literally about a modern jazz band going back in time) whose soundtrack has covers of Hey Ya, Return of the Mac, and Back to Black.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 3:18 PM on October 27, 2021

Best answer: You can also try going on Apple Music aka iTunes Store & do a search for a particular song, there's often piano or string covers or karaoke versions available to buy.
posted by bleep at 4:13 PM on October 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Also, Richard Cheese can be pretty uneven as you know but these are ones I like that are really pretty instrumentally & not weird/gross:
- Only happy when it rains (has a great tap dance break)
- Rockefeller Skank (lots of great piano riffing)
- Buddy Holly (nice down tempo take on this)
- One step closer
- Chop Suey
- Loser (Beck)
posted by bleep at 4:22 PM on October 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you for all these threads to pull on! This will be great.
posted by panhopticon at 5:29 PM on October 27, 2021

Guess it would depend on whether you're a fan of Roxy Music or not, but The Bryan Ferry Orchestra does covers of Roxy tunes in the style of early 20's/30's jazz.
posted by Bron at 7:12 AM on October 28, 2021

I love this one: "Blue Monday" played on instruments from the 1930s. The style isn't wildly different, but I can't resist a recording with a theremin and a singing saw.
posted by zorseshoes at 2:11 PM on October 29, 2021

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