“My goal with Postmodern Jukebox is to get my audience to think of songs not as rigid, ephemeral objects, but like malleable globs of silly putty,” says Scott Bradlee, explaining the band that he now leads. Postmodern Jukebox has hit on YouTube in a big way, with over 447,000 subscribers and millions of video views. The group takes top 40 hits and rearranges them in unexpected ways, like this Klezmer version of Jason DeRulo’s new single, “Talk Dirty.”
In addition to their original four-piece lineup of vocals, piano, drums and bass, they’ve also collaborated with other musicians and vocalists including Marie Digby, Puddles the Sad Clown, and Miche Braden. Musical genres range from ragtime, 1930’s jazz, and New Orleans blues, and videos include tap dance features, gratuitous saxophone solos, period-accurate costuming, and instruments you don’t normally find in today’s pop music, like banjos, harps… and wine glasses. Another unique quality about them is that every one of their videos are recorded live, with no autotune or overdubbing.
Postmodern Jukebox’s initial success was thanks to a “Grandpa Style” version of Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop, garnering over 300,000 views in just a day.Perhaps their biggest video to date is their 1950’s doo wop version of Kesha & Pitbull’s “Timber,” which went viral thanks to outlets like Huffington Post and Mashable in February of this year. The unique take on their performances have landed them appearances on Good Morning America, an international tour this summer, and this crazy-fun mashup video, filmed in the Cosmopolitan offices, wrapping up their greatest 2013 hits.
Postmodern Jukebox released a full-length album, Twist is the New Twerk, this year, and will tour to support it this summer. They have an account on Patreon, a social network which allows fans to directly connect with and support their favorite artists. Patreon has allowed Postmodern Jukebox to create higher quality videos to upload once every week, as opposed to their previous monthly schedule. Bradlee’s website also features a piano course entitled Ragtimify, for anyone interested in learning to play piano his style.
Postmodern Jukebox’s appeal lies in their ability to rework a song that a listener might know very well – maybe something overplayed, or maybe something by an artist that isn’t widely known for their lyrics, but when presented in a different style, it piques the ear in a different way. That’s what attracted me to the band in the first place – even though I love the original “Blurred Lines” without shame, it’s interesting for me to hear it in such a contrasted way.