Young The Giant cover Gorillaz & Little Dragon’s “Empire Ants”

You may remember that recently a visitor to this here site, the lovely Lynn Yang, provided us with some wonderful shots from Little Dragon’s Mulberry show in New York. Well, Lynn has now highlighted this cool cover of Gorillaz & Little Dragon’s “Empire Ants” by Young The Giant, who are a California rock band.

(Note: Video cannot be viewed outside of the US and there are currently no YouTube links available. If you’re in Canada you can view it using this link, however.)

“Although Irvine, California-based rock outfit Young The Giant has been well known for a little while on the indie circuit, the band’s impressive performance on the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards back in August undoubtedly increased their visibility among a broader crowd. Since that worked so well, MTV must have felt it was only right to bring the band back into the limelight through one of the network’s popular mediums. On Wednesday, November 9 at 7 p.m. EST, fans can head over to Unplugged.MTV.com to watch Young The Giant perform on one of MTV’s most famous music programs, MTV Unplugged. Included in the show will be acoustic renditions of songs off of the band’s self-titled debut album and a cover of Gorillaz’ “Empire Ants,” the original of which features Little Dragon and can be found on the animated music group’s third album, Plastic Beach. To hold fans over until the show airs, Young The Giant’s string section-backed Unplugged cover of “Empire Ants” is now available for viewing. Check it out above.” Source.

New York’s Metro speak to Fred

Little Dragon may be the quintessential artist’s band. The music that the Swedish four-piece make strikes a nerve with fans, but especially with other musicians. They play conventional rock instruments, but their heavy emphasis on keyboards gives the songs an electronic gloss. Combined with pop and funk sensibilities, the songs sound how Stereolab might if Prince joined the band.

Bassist Fredrik Kallgren Wallin says sharing ideas with other bands is one of his favorite aspects of playing with Little Dragon. The band has collaborated with Gorillaz, indulged in a side project with Jose Gonzalez, and traded remixes with Unknown Mortal Orchestra, which Wallin says was an especially rewarding experience: “It’s a nice way of exchanging energy. It’s not a collaboration, but you can add your flavor or get some new flavors for your own stuff.”

What actually drew Met-ro to the band was other artists talking about Little Dragon. Word of mouth has always been a key to finding the best new music, and when the mouths delivering that word are well-respected singers, it’s even harder to ignore. When we asked Janelle Monae what she was listening to lately, Little Dragon was one of the first acts she mentioned. And Sameer Gadhia of Young the Giant, who played this year’s MTV Video Music Awards, said Little Dragon would be a dream collaboration, literally.

“I actually had a dream about playing with them last night,” he said at the time. “I was hanging out at their house and I started drawing something in a sketchbook, and we just started talking. … We were not really collaborating as much yet, but I guess it was coming into formation.”

When we share this anecdote with Wallin, he has a good laugh. “That sounds fun,” he says.

The artwork for Little Dragon’s new album, “Ritual Union,” is populated with snapshots of couples on their wedding day. And the title track explores the idea of marriage with a slight air of fear. Wallin explains the contrast.

“It’s from our family archives of parents, relatives and grandparents,” he explains. “It’s supposed to be the happiest day of your life, and a lot of our parents are divorced.”