It’s like a mixtape, kind of. But also sort of like a duet. With a built-in dance party. And a subculture.
The mashup, in its original incarnation, was a song created by digitally mixing two or more preexisting songs. Then DJs got involved, and then the Internet jumped on board, and then college kids picked up on it… and suddenly outdoor music festivals were full of sweaty undergrads rocking out while the guys onstage tapped the keys on their MacBooks.
While the likes of Danger Mouse, Girl Talk, and 2 Many DJs helped put mashups on the larger pop-culture map nearly a decade ago, barely legal acts The White Panda and Super Mash Bros. have brought them to an even younger audience, hunching over their laptops and churning out a whole funky cottage industry.
Through free distribution online, partnerships with Facebook and MySpace, and free streams via online radio sites like FratMusic.com, second-generation mashup acts have developed cult followings on college campuses all over America. And now, with a summer concert tour in full swing (The White Panda) and an upcoming appearance at Lollapalooza (Super Mash Bros.), the frat-house phenomenon is graduating to the real world.
But you don’t have to be a bro king to enjoy these fresh new re-imaginings of your older (and newer!) favorites. Check out some of our favorite mashups from the latest generation of mashup artists:
THE WHITE PANDA: After successfully releasing three albums (2009’s “Versus,” 2010’s “Rematch” and their March release “Pandamonium”) online as name-your-price downloads, The White Panda has become a house-party playlist staple. When friends Procrast (Tom Evans) and DJ Griffi (Dan Griffith), both 23, discovered they had separately embarked on solo mashup careers in college, they joined forces to create a veritable party mashup machine. And thus was the beginning of what would become The White Panda’s signature brand of time-traveling collaborations that we only wish were possible in real life. The duo kicked off a national tour on July 1, and they’ll be touring the East Coast through the end of July.
Behold the sunny, bouncing Jay-Z-vs.-Jackson 5 ditty “I Want Brooklyn Back” below, which makes us want to hop on a magical J train back to Brooklyn circa summer 1970, below:
We also recommend “Rain Time,” a cheerfully counterintuitive blend of Justin Bieber and Blind Melon, and “Juicy O’Riley,” an artful multitrack collision that fuses classic guitar rock and ‘80s synth-pop with the likes of the Beastie Boys and indie-pop sensations Matt & Kim.
SUPER MASH BROS.: The Super Mash Bros.’ official website describes their mashups as “scientifically proven to get that booty movin’,” and boasts of their “ass-shaking, foot-stomping mixtapes and performances.” Ah, the fresh-faced confidence of youth. And we’ll hand it to them—the trio of Nicolas Fenmore, Dick Fink and Ethan Dawes electrified Miami’s Ultra Music Festival with their frat-boy humor and earnest fist-pumping house jams this March, and proudly advertise that they’ll continue to take their party across the country… as long as they’re back in time for class. The Bros.’ next stop is the DJ stage at Lollapalooza on August 6.
For your listening pleasure, here’s the Super Mash Bros.’ grinding, club-ready No Doubt-meets-DJ-Felli-Fel confection “Kisses & Thugs”:
We also can’t get enough of the ever-surprising “Adler Girl Pt. II (I Can Change!),” whose cross-genre dream-team lineup includes Train, Mike Jones and a Y2K-era Britney Spears.
Weigh in, Music Mix masses. Do mashup acts deserve to be called recording artists? And does the mashup genre have a future beyond the beer-soaked collegiate scene, or will the magic expire after graduation?
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