As if having a new album (“Heartbeats and Brainwaves”) weren’t enough this year. Detroit’s Electric Six has added to its 2011 output with a song for the season — a rendition of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” for The Onion’s “A.V. Undercover” performance series and now available for free download on the group’s web site.
“I actually had a really bad cold the day we did that, so it was the one song I could pull off,” says New York-based frontman Tyler Spencer (aka Dick Valentine). “They had a list of songs that they wanted bands to attempt, and that one seemed like a logical one.
“It worked out really well. It’s one of those things where it actually has a lot more legs than maybe you thought it would going into it. We figured it was no big deal but we definitely got a lot more out of it.”
The “Grinch” cover puts a nice cap on the campaign for “Heartbeats and Brainwaves,” Electric Six’s eighth album and a 14-track set that explores some fresh directions for the sextet. The first band album produced by guitarist John Nash (aka Johnny Na$hinal), it’s dominated by synthesizers, though it still rocks with the kind of dance floor-friendly grooves the group has employed since early hits such as “Danger (High Voltage)” and “Gay Bar.”
“The stuff (Nash) was doing at home was sounding more and more interesting to me,” Spencer, 39, says, “so I thought it would be cool if he (produced) the record. And the first thing he said was, ‘It’s probably time to do a synth record.’
“That’s the thing with our band; we want to try doing things we haven’t done before. We don’t really care about alienating people. In fact, we care about other people less and less as we go along. The the one thing we try to do is not replicate the album we just did, so I would think when we do the next record, we’ll probably go back to guitars.”
Electric Six is, in fact, “starting to think” about that next album, which will likely come out in the fall. Meanwhile, Spencer is finishing work on a “very basic-sounding” solo acoustic album, which he’ll sell at his own shows during the early part of 2012 before getting to work in earnest on the band project.
Electric Six and Childbite perform Friday, Dec. 23, at Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $19. Call 313-961-6358 or visit www.livenation.com.
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