Jukebox Heroes

Michael Webber

The collective Postmodern Jukebox shakes things up.

Who’s a better songwriter: Miley Cyrus or Cole Porter? The answer seems obvious, but Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox is working hard to make it a tough question. The group, made up of a rotating cast of working New York City musicians, takes weekly to YouTube to post its decades-spanning, cross-genre covers of contemporary chart-toppers. And some 40 million people have logged on to see the band members perform Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop” as though they’re The Drifters, or stroll through a Dixieland rendition of “Sweet Child o’ Mine.” “It’s all about creating an alternate universe of pop culture,” explains Bradlee—and with the group’s self-sustaining fundraising-by-Internet, it’s a universe no longer beholden to the slow-moving, old-fashioned record labels traditionally in charge of distribution. Postmodern Jukebox sounds like the past, but it just might be the future. postmodernjukebox.com.