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Vitamin Records: String Quartet Covers
March 23, 2011 8:44 PM   Subscribe

Looking for something familiar with a twist? Best told from their About Us Page: Vitamin Records was formed in Los Angeles in 1999 to provide music lovers with high quality string quartet, lounge and electronic tributes to major pop and rock artists. Vitamin's mission is to offer fans exciting versions of their favorite songs performed in new musical contexts.

Tributes to Metallica, Tool, AC/DC, Oasis, Rush, Bjork, Springsteen and SO MUCH more. (I didn't link directly to any music beyond this: their official youtube page
posted by filmgeek (22 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
The Slayer one is kind of awesome...
posted by ph00dz at 9:08 PM on March 23, 2011


Not that I think this really warrants a post of its own, it seems odd that it hasn't been mentioned before... Next thing you know, there'll be a post about Rockapella!
posted by blaneyphoto at 9:23 PM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dead Skin Mask has never sounded creepier.
posted by Brainy at 9:26 PM on March 23, 2011


I like their tribute to Arcade Fire, especially "Haiti" & "Neighborhood #1"
posted by mike3k at 9:27 PM on March 23, 2011


Not that I think this really warrants a post of its own, it seems odd that it hasn't been mentioned before... Next thing you know, there'll be a post about Rockapella!

or Hayseed Dixie
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:39 PM on March 23, 2011


as much as i hate the idea of making music softer and more boring, Sydney string quartet FourPlay also does this sort of thing
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:40 PM on March 23, 2011


The Vitamin String Quartet stuff is usually pretty straight-ahead, which is fine if you're into that sort of thing. Personally I prefer Kronos Quartet when I'm looking for something familiar with a twist.

Turtle Island Quartet's forays into jazz are fun too.
posted by jnrussell at 10:01 PM on March 23, 2011


Oh yeah and there's always Apocalyptica.
posted by jnrussell at 10:03 PM on March 23, 2011


We featured the Vitamin covers of the Smiths heavily in our wedding reception soundtrack. It was actually kind of cool.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:31 PM on March 23, 2011


I'm quite fond of their cover of Yellow by Coldplay.
posted by uri at 1:14 AM on March 24, 2011


Like the Daft Punk one. Didn't like the Massive Attack one which sounded like a missed opportunity.

I definitely think they need a bit of quality control - there's 180 albums listed on itunes, which seems like overdoing it. I wonder who's buying it?
posted by ntrifle at 1:28 AM on March 24, 2011


I wonder who's buying it?

Your mom. No, really. Back when I was a Record Store Manager in the early Aughts, we used to get TONS of this stuff sent to us by our buyers. Name the artist, ANY artist, on a major record label and you can be sure as hell there was at LEAST one string quartet tribute album (I won't even get into all the bluegrass tribute albums out there). Kid Rock? Yup. Iron Maiden? Absolutely. Genesis? Bingo! (And NOT the early proggy stuff). The terrifying thing was that this stuff sold, and by the bucketful. This stuff is like catnip to suburban Soccer Moms in their 40's.
posted by KingEdRa at 1:51 AM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


They play this stuff in restaurants in NYC sometimes - I find it rather funny.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:10 AM on March 24, 2011


Classical musicians I've talked are amazed by and kind of in awe of the repetition involved in pop music, how pop musicians can just plug into a groove or chorus and keep going -- and the audience eats it up. Classical music is, in general, all about variation, development, continual creativity, and the unexpected. Classical musicians have to pay attention all the time. That's why this stuff doesn't work -- hearing pop songs played on instruments we associate with precision, complexity and variety makes the songs sound dumber and more banal than they are -- like the old comedy bit where someone with a cultivated accent reads rock lyrics as if they were poetry "A wop-bop-a-loo-bop, a bop-bam bow ... Tutti-fruity, all-rooty". Well, yeah, it sounds stupid when you read it like that. But not when you've got the Specialty Records house band chugging along behind it. Classical music can achieve a successful synthesis with pop music. After all, Bach, Handel, Beethoven and Brahms embroidered popular and street melodies into their work. The key is to ignore the repetition, and steal the melodies.
posted by Faze at 4:39 AM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


As another record store manager I can vouch for these being popular. We sell a lot of $2/$3 bargain CDs- but the string tributes are always selling at $6-$8.

Annnddd, rockapella has a following for sure. Their out of print CDs are relatively valuable even.
posted by tremspeed at 5:15 AM on March 24, 2011


tremspeed: "Annnddd, rockapella has a following for sure. Their out of print CDs are relatively valuable even."

*Checks price for his Where In the World is Carmen Sandiego CD*
HOLY CRAP!
posted by charred husk at 5:33 AM on March 24, 2011


I'd heard of rockapella and Hayseed Dixie - it was just wild to stumble across something like this...and not see it mentioned on MeFi.

I was mixed at first; some of it is elevator music. But since I'm in the midst of 'head down' sorta work, I was looking for non-lyric/classical music (about the only kind you can have that doesn't distract your attention)...and found this. Had to share.
posted by filmgeek at 6:47 AM on March 24, 2011


I used to work for a company that handles Vitamin's digital distribution and I was always amazed at the quantity of titles they have. My guess is they just try to cover the board as much as possible and hope that a few titles hit. I'm sure some of them have been quite profitable (I remember the Radiohead one selling well), whereas others are completely baffling to me (A Bluegrass Tribute to Yellowcard?)
posted by ryaninoakland at 7:54 AM on March 24, 2011


I love cover music (and am a big Hayseed Dixie fan as well, both because of the genre crossing and because of the way the bluegrass music plays with our expectation and understanding of the rock lyrics) and I always see these Vitamin String Quartet covers when I look for covers. I admit to being kind of a snob and ignoring them. Now I'll have to check them and Apocalyptica out.

(Never got into Rockapella, though, probably because my acappella leanings have been satisfied through the friends in an acappella group. Hard to love somebody else more than the band that put out a song arranged specifically for your wedding.)
posted by immlass at 8:59 AM on March 24, 2011


(A Bluegrass Tribute to Yellowcard?)

That demographic is a documentary waiting to happen.
posted by tremspeed at 10:01 AM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The linked site appears to have been replaced by a clothiers'.
posted by Herodios at 10:12 AM on March 24, 2011


Classical musicians I've talked are amazed by and kind of in awe of the repetition involved in pop music

You must not talk to any performers of new music.

hearing pop songs played on instruments we associate with precision, complexity and variety makes the songs sound dumber and more banal than they are

The Balanescu Quartet's bewitching cover of Kraftwerk's The Model proves you wrong.

The problem with a lot of string quartet covers is not repetition, it's inflection. More often than not the arrangements wring dry all the character of pop music by squaring off the rhythms and not capturing other little details that make the song. Kraftwerk doesn't present this problem because it's already squared off.
posted by speicus at 10:41 AM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


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