In the opening moments of last night's mtvU Woodie Awards at NYC's Roseland Ballroom, a co-ed octet of Matt & Kim back-up singers slowly peeled away shirts, argyle socks and, finally, skinny jeans during a bombastic, arm-swinging performance of "Lessons Learned." The apparel was hurled with careless abandon into a packed crowd of hoodies and high heels until all that remained was a jiggling toe-tap of mismatched skivvies and Matt Johnson's low-drone keyboard fuzz. Of course it was staged -- and predictably so, considering the track's blogged-about video, which followed the Brooklyn duo's naked slow-mo jog through Times Square -- but it worked, mainly because college kids love sex, or at the very least, the awkward pursuit of sex. And come on: The show's called "the Woodies." That display of near-but-not-quite nudity -- it's MTV, after all -- set the evening's tone.
If you think about it, yacht-rock legend Michael McDonald and the eminently mellow Grizzly Bear aren't really that far apart musically. Still, the news that the former Doobie Brother was asked by the Brooklyn critical darlings to lay down an alternate lead vocal track for their single "While You Wait for the Others" had a few folks scratching their heads. The 57-year-old "Yah Mo B There" growler sat down with SPIN.com to explain: How did you and Grizzly Bear hook up?A mutual friend set us up. I was up in New York and went to see them play the Beacon Theater and they just knocked me out. So somewhere shortly after that, and after talking to [bassist] Chris [Taylor], he mentioned this track he thought I'd be good for to sing in the background. He sent me a file and, as is the case these days, I did it at home in Nashville, at a friend's studio.