Music Features

Top Ten Fantasy Musical Partnerships (NR10)

Here’s a game everyone can play. Take two bands or artists with a common word or syllable, mix the names together and hey presto! – you’ve made a brand new fantasy band. Think something along the lines of Faith No Doubt or perhaps, more ambitiously, Sly and the Family Stone Temple Pilots. Somewhere in a parallel universe, these collaborations could well exist. Here, in no particular order, is the No Ripcord Fantasy Musical Partnerships Top 10 (with thanks to Patrick Crowther at for the inspiration).

10. Death Cab for Q-Tip

Q-Tip released his album, The Renaissance, to widespread critical acclaim last year. Known for his versatility and ambition, working with one of the music scene’s most inventive pop groups could lead to a match made in heaven. Hot Chip and Wiley came together to make one of the singles of 2008 with Wearing My Rolex – probably the best indicator of what Death Cab for Q-Tip would sound like. Who wouldn’t want more tracks like that?

Runners-up:Death Cab for CuT.I., Q-Chicory-Tip

9. Tori Amos Def

Is there a precedent for this sort of thing? Bonkers singer-songwriter with fairy preoccupation and ground-breaking hip-hop star may not be the most obvious of bedfellows. Mind you, once you’ve breastfed a pig in the name of your art (Tori, not Mos Def), you can probably take anything else in your stride. It’s difficult to see the middle ground where these two would meet; would we get rhymes over Cornflake Girl or pianos and pixies over hip-hop beats?

Runners-up: A New Found Tori, Mos Def Leppard

8. Adele La Soul

Continuing the female vocalist/hip-hop theme comes this collaboration. Stage-school alumnus Adele has a touch of R&B and soul in her voice as it is, but tends to be more successful on slower tracks. An injection of female attitude could work wonders, assuming she didn’t tread on their laid-back, breezy toes. Let’s face it, a vast number of hip-hop tracks have ‘proper’ singers guesting in the chorus as it is, so maybe this isn’t a ridiculous idea.

Runners-up: Adele Amitri, De La Soul II Soul

7. Smogwai

Probably not too likely to trouble the charts this one. Bill Callahan and his band could benefit from some livening up at times and the Scottish rock troupe could provide that. Certainly, the Zinedine Zidane film would have a different mood if Smog had provided the soundtrack rather than Mogwai. Maybe Smogwai (it’s not a band name for a band, actually) could rope in Callahan’s better half, Joanna Newsom, as well. Fancy a bit of harp on top with child-like idiosyncratic vocals? No, thought not.

Runners-up: Bonzo Smog Doo-Dah Band, Mogwiley

6. Yo La TenGo! Team

Now this would be interesting. Brighton-based cut-and-paste merchants meet New York alt. rockers in a tantalising collision. Seeing as Yo La Tengo hop from genre to genre laughing in the face of those who can barely master one, a smattering of cartoon hip-hop and dance should be a walk in the park. A Yo La Tengo release is always something worth listening to, and adding a DJ and the rapping of Ninja would add an extra dollop of intrigue to the mix.

Runners-up: Yo La Tengotan Project, Go! Team Waterpolo

5. The Barry White Stripes

Again, two artistes who you wouldn’t traditionally expect to record together (due to mortality issues, if nothing else). The laid-back, soulful croon of The Walrus of Love may not sit too well on something like Seven Nation Army, but perhaps Jack and Meg could add some garage blues to Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe. It wouldn’t be the first time Jack White’s worked with a soul star (though the theme from Quantum of Solace with Alicia Keys wasn’t exactly what you’d call a success), so perhaps this partnership is the dark horse of the lot and would produce the best work over time.

Runners-up: Barry White and the 2 Unlimited Orchestra, The Whitest Boy Alive Stripes

4. The Norah Jonestown Massacre

This could well be a disaster waiting to happen. Daughter of Ravi Shankar and creator of incredibly wistful and chilled-out music paired with Anton Newcombe’s motley crew of unpredictable, self-destructing rockers. While anybody who’s seen DiG! can testify that BJM could clearly do with a calming influence, a petite jazz pianist is probably not the best course of action. Mind you, with Newcombe’s revolving door band member policy, it’s debatable whether he’d actually notice some extra personnel.

Runners-up: Norah ‘Jones’ Jones and the Joneses, The Mick Jonestown Massacre

3. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah Yeah Yeahs

An all-New York affair and a clash of indie rock and sleek electro-pop. Some CYHSY tunes with Karen O’s frenetic yelp rather than Alec Ounsworth’s thin and reedy voice would certainly preferable, and YYYs would finally get round to having a bassist (not that they really miss having one in truth). In fact, this could be a step too far, as YYYs make enough of a racket for eight people already, without there actually being eight of them.

Runners-up: Clap Your Hands Say Air, Polar Bear Yeah Yeahs

2. The Last Shadow Pipettes

Alex Turner’s 60s revivalists get some much needed sass into their line-up with the addition of the Brighton pop-punks. This collision would quite possibly be too retro for its own good, and does bubblegum pop really need James Bond-style strings all over it? One thing’s for sure, it’d certainly be entertaining to hear Turner’s Sheffield burr telling stories of useless boys and school uniforms.

Runners-up: The Last Shadow Be Your Own PupPETs, The Pipet Shop Boys

1. TV On The Radiohead

Arguably the most popular alternative band in the world join forces with the young pretenders - who would be the lead vocalist is anyone’s guess. A mixture of OK Computer and Return to Cookie Mountain would certainly be intriguing; it really could go either way. It’s debatable what this band would sound like, but knowing how Thom Yorke runs the good ship Radiohead, it’s most likely the TVOTR guys would just end up learning new instruments and working on his vision for the follow-up to In Rainbows.

Runners-up: TV on the RadiOMD, Radiohead Automatica