June 20, 2012 7:59pm PT by Shirley Halperin
Animal Collective Labelmate Dent May Covers Grateful Dead Favorite (Audio)
The music of the Grateful Dead does not discriminate. Witness: one Dent May, a 26-year-old Mississippi wunderkind and multi-instrumentalist signed to Paw Tracks, the Washington DC-based label that’s home to indie darlings Animal Collective and Ariel Pink, who just released a faithful cover of the Dead’s “Shakedown Street” to help promote his new album Do Things (out now), which he describes as "Pet Sounds for the Smirnoff Ice generation."
The song is a disco-era favorite, written by longtime Dead lyricist Robert Hunter and recorded and released in 1978. It also came to symbolize the tailgating scene at the band’s concerts, which featured untold rows of parked cars, RVs and buses whose drivers hawked everything from food (Gratefully Griddled Grilled Cheese!) to jewelry to, yes, mind-altering substances of all varieties.
May, a NYU film school drop-out and multi-instrumentalist who has been working on a and a mysterious unfinished psych-country rock opera called Cowboy Maloney's Electric City, has one thing in common with the famous jam band: an appreciation of organic string instruments, like the ukulele, which was featured prominently on his Paw Tracks debutThe Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele.
May has also released dance recordings under the Dent Sweat moniker and throws notorious DIY shows at his home, a former Boys & Girls club now deemed the Cats Purring Dude Ranch -- to which we have to say, duuuuude…
Listen to Dent May’s take on “Shakedown Street” below: