It’s the time of year where giving is better than receiving, so we thought we would highlight some of our favourite “cameos”. A few months ago, we did create a list of celebrity guest stars on videos, but this list is focused on musicians who have played or sung backup for fellow stars (ok, some of the below are more like collaborations). So without further ado, here’s the list.
“Knee Socks” – Arctic Monkeys, featuring Josh Homme
Alex Turner and the gang received a lot of support from QOTSA front man Josh Homme back in 2009 when he helped produce Humbug so it’s only fitting that Homme provided back up vocals on “Knee Socks” from their 2013 album AM. Homme actually made a few live appearances with Arctic Monkeys during the song “Knee Socks”, including at 2013’s Austin City Limits Music Festival.
“Tiger” – Maximum Balloon, featuring Aku Orraca-Teteh
David Sitek of TV on the Radio released a great solo album under the moniker Maximum Balloon. That album featured a number of guest performers, including Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, rapper Theophilus London, and Little Dragon. The best track from that album, though, may have been with DJ and Dragons of Zynth member Aku Orraca-Teteh, who actually provides lead vocals on “Tiger”.
“Night Still Comes” – Neko Case with Jim James and Bo Koster (of My Morning Jacket)
“Night Still Comes” will always hold a special place here since it was the first song featured on Mundo Musique. It also involves three of our favourite artists – the incomparable Neko Case backed up by My Morning Jacket members Jim James on backup vocals and Bo Koster on keys and vocals. It’s a great song with a lovely melody from one of the best albums of 2013.
“Wolf Like Me” – TV on the Radio with Katrina Ford
“Wolf Like Me” propelled NYC’s TV on the Radio to indie stardom and it became an instant classic when it was released in 2006. Since Return to Cookie Mountain, the band has not looked back and has become one of the best and most influential bands of the new millennium. On this stirring track, they are supported by the haunting vocals of Celebration‘s Katrina Ford, who is one of the most underrated singers in the business. Below is an early video of TV on the Radio performing “Wolf Like Me”. The audio isn’t the greatest (it’s taken 8 years ago), but even then the band was blowing people’s minds. Oh, and the video has Katrina Ford in a rare appearance with the band.
“Afraid of Everything” – The National with Sufjan Stevens
What happens when you put together one of indie’s best groups with one of indie’s best singer-songwriters? You get the fantastic “Afraid of Everything” from The National‘s terrific High Violet. Sufjan Stevens sings back up on the track, and he’s played a few times with the band, including recently in London.
“Slow Life” – Grizzly Bear with Victoria Legrand
Another great NYC-based indie band, Grizzly Bear, has produced some of the best albums of the past decade. However, they teamed up with Beach House’s Victoria Legrand to record “Slow Life” for the Twilight: New Moon soundtrack (yes, some of us here are saps). But regardless of the movie, the song is one of Grizzly Bear’s best and it’s helped with the haunting vocals of Legrand.
“Thirteen” – The Antlers with Sharon Van Etten
Sharon Van Etten has recorded a lot of great tracks with a lot of great bands, she’s lent her voice to tracks by The National, Pickwick, She Keeps Bees, and even sang back up for Nick Cave on a tour. In 2009, Van Etten contributed vocals to “Thirteen” off of The Antlers’ Hospice. The track starts out with a lot of noise, then Van Etten’s voice comes in towards the end and soothes the listeners’ ear.
“Apple” – Lady Lamb The Beekeeper and Emily Hope Price
A few years ago, Pearl And the Beard‘s Emily Hope Price set out on a musical journey, 365 songs in 365 days. She never completed that because she took on a very large project producing music for a motion picture. Before she stopped, on day 125, Emily Hope Price co-wrote and recorded a track with Lady Lamb The Beekeeper called “Apple”. Though it was originally part of this project, it ended up on one of Lady Lamb’s early records, Mammoth Swoon. This song is quite important for Lady Lamb fans, because her die-hard fan base named themselves after a line in this song. Price and Lady Lamb continue to collaborate, Price appeared on Ripely Pine, and will also be featured on Lady Lamb’s next record.
“I Can Be A Frog” – The Flaming Lips with Karen O
The Flaming Lips‘ Embryonic was a strange record to say the least. This song features Wayne Coyne listing animals and objects while Karen O attempts to imitate them over the phone. Yeah, weird, but Karen O’s laugh is infectious, and it’s really funny hearing Karen try to figure out what sound a bat makes.
“Who” – St. Vincent with David Byrne
Having David Byrne sing on an entire album with you has to be a pretty awesome feeling. St. Vincent released the album Love This Giant in 2012 and it is a stellar collaboration with the iconic frontman from Talking Heads. They first met in 2009 and were originally just going to do a live performance together but ended up writing and singing an entire album together. Here is the video for “Who”.
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