Under the Radar shines a light on lesser-known cover artists. If you’re not listening to these folks, you should. Catch up on past installments here.

Tara Jane O’Neil’s artistic work crosses multiple boundaries – she’s a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and a drawer and painter whose creations have been exhibited worldwide. She calls Portland, Oregon home, with additional residencies in the hearts of thousands. Her website states that “her work innately crosses genres and boundaries,” a point brought home by her collaborating on an album with Nikaido Kazumi, despite their not sharing a spoken language. Perhaps most important, her skills at karaoke are unparalleled – people are still talking about her performance of “Xanadu” at the Experimental Filmmaker Karaoke Throwdown in 2008.
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The song “Wonderful(The Way I Feel)” was originally written by My Morning Jacket’s Jim James for Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem to perform in the last released Muppets film and tour, but was left unused. James said: “So now, twice, Muppet glory has been within my grasp…it’s pretty heartbreaking, but it did propel us just to kick into high gear and finish our own record.”  The record Circuital was released last May as MMJ’s sixth album. Continue reading »

The King is dead, long live the Queen. This Thursday marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Freddie Mercury, Queen frontman and rock mega-idol. It would be ridiculous to even try to quantify Mercury’s impact on pop culture. The whimsical force behind Queen’s unique style and aesthetic, many point to him as one of the best performers in the history of popular music. And don’t forget, his sometimes enigmatic voice brought alternative sexuality into the public conversation. Continue reading »

Every Wednesday, our resident Gleek Eric Garneau gives his take on last night’s Glee covers.

In “Mash Off,” New Directions and rival glee club The Troubletones square off in a friendly competition to see who can produce the best mash-up in preparation for the upcoming sectionals competition. But what starts as jovial quickly turns sour, especially for Santana (Naya Rivera), who’s sitting on a pretty big secret that’s about to come out.

It’s about time for Glee‘s annual mash-up episode. I’ve talked before about how much I enjoy it when Glee travels down that particular road, so I’ll just give a quick recap here: mash-ups give Glee a chance to do something it rarely does otherwise, which is get creative with song arrangements. That’s because the show has no choice; these mash-ups have no precedent and are invented specifically for these episodes, which means they have to be at least somewhat creative, even if that creativity’s misdirected. Continue reading »

The new Muppets movie – aptly titled The Muppets – opens in a few weeks. If you can’t wait to get your next fix of Kermit and the gang, though, you can get a preview now. A cover preview, that is. It’s the Muppets Barbershop Quartet performing Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and it’s everything you hoped and dreamed it would be. Continue reading »

Every Wednesday, our resident Gleek Eric Garneau gives his take on last night’s Glee covers.

In “Pot of Gold,” Irish foreign exchange student Rory Flanagan (Damian McGinty) makes his way to McKinley High just in time to see the glee club falling apart — Shelby’s (Idina Menzel) rival group continues to steal members from New Directions, while Sue (Jane Lynch) works tirelessly to end funding for arts programs once and for all. But all Rory really cares about is making a couple friends, and maybe convincing Brittany (Heather Morrison) to share her own pot of gold.

We can avoid the subject no longer – it’s time to talk about The Glee Project. Other than runner-up Lindsay Pearce’s appearance in Glee‘s season premiere, the influence of that summer reality show has so far been nonexistent on its parent program. However, in “Pot of Gold” that all changes as Project winner Damian McGinty begins his seven-episode guest arc as Irish exchange student Rory Flanagan. This episode makes it clear that Damian won more than just a bit part; he gets two of the show’s five songs tonight, making a big splash in an introductory episode which I’d guess will endear him to many a viewer. Continue reading »

Kermit may have some skills on the banjo, but no Muppet rocks harder than Animal. So it’s only fitting that he represented the entire plush puppet crew on the Tonight Show last night with OK Go. The Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem drummer freaks out Keith Moon-style, pounding away on a fun pastel-colored take on the Muppet Show theme song (which also got a great music video). Continue reading »

Jim Henson’s Muppets have been spreading silliness for close to 40 years. Cheeky American rockers, OK Go, have only been spreading silliness, largely in viral video form, for about five years. So when veteran, fictional characters team up with the band that leads the industry in goofy music videos to cover “The Muppet Show Theme Song,” expect greatness. The band and the famous fuzzy animals joined forces for the lead track off the Muppets Tribute Album, The Green Album, out today and reviewed this morning. Continue reading »

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