Imagine wandering into a nightclub somewhere on the outskirts of time. A classic jukebox in the corner plays timeless music with oddly familiar modern lyrics, incongruously marrying the 21st-century party vibe of Miley Cyrus or the minimalist angst of Radiohead with the crackly warmth of a vintage 78 or the plunger-muted barrelhouse howl of a forgotten Kansas City jazzman. The dance floor is full of revelers twerking in poodle skirts, while at the bar, well-heeled hipsters balance a martini in one hand with a smartphone in the other.
If such a place actually exists, no doubt the soundtrack is Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox. Founded by pianist and arranger Scott Bradlee in 2009, the ensemble reimagines contemporary pop, rock and R&B hits in the style of various yesteryears, from swing to doo-wop, ragtime to Motown – or, as Bradlee himself puts it, “pop music in a time machine.” The band parlayed a series of YouTube videos shot in Bradlee’s Queens living room into massive success, accruing more than 450 million YouTube views and over 2 million subscribers, an appearance on Good Morning America, and performances at packed houses across the globe.