The List: Top 10 rock side projects

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From the July 3, 2014 edition

This weekend’s 4th & 4th Fest features an impressive lineup. And this impressive lineup features side projects from members of some impressive bands (Wilco, Divine Fits, The Breeders). So we’re counting down our favorite side projects that deserve center stage.

10. Sebadoh

When then-Dinosaur Jr. bassist Lou Barlow and Eric Gaffney joined forces, Sebadoh was an early purveyor of lo-fi brilliance in the late ’80s/early ’90s.

9. A Perfect Circle

Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan found a softer, more melodic side in his collaboration with guitarist Billy Howerdel and other notable musicians.

8. The Raconteurs/The Dead Weather

These two bands are the most super group-y on the list, with Jack White joining forces with members of The Greenhornes for The Raconteurs and The Kills’ Alison Mosshart for The Dead Weather. Yes, White has gotten to work with both Loretta Lynn and Mosshart — nicely done, sir.

7. Gorillaz

Leave it to Blur’s Damon Albarn to create a side project — featuring Del the Funky Homosapien and Dan the Automator — that exists in a fictional universe and is presented as depraved cartoon characters.

6. The Postal Service

The electronic indie-pop project of Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard and producer Jimmy Tamborello released only one album, but it became a massive record store favorite and spawned a successful 2013 reunion tour.

5. Divine Fits

Even though the band only has one — amazing — record under its belt, they surely deserve inclusion on this list. Spoon’s frontman Britt Daniel joining forces with Wolf Parade’s Dan Boeckner and New Bomb Turks’ Sam Brown is a collaboration we hope continues for years.

4. Broken Bells

There was a beautiful alchemy in the pairing of Shins’ frontman James Mercer and super-producer Danger Mouse (aka Brian Burton). Broken Bells also puts on an impressive live show for what just seemed like a studio project.

3. The Breeders

Pixies bassist Kim Deal and Throwing Muses guitarist Tanya Donelly started writing songs together while their bands were touring together. This eventually spawned two of the best alternative albums of the ’90s, Pod and Last Splash (on which Kim’s sister Kelley of R. Ring replaced Donelly).

2. Grinderman

Nick Cave’s music with the Bad Seeds was plenty dark and dingy, but he took it to the next level with this project. Sadly, Grinderman appears to be dead … for now.

1. Eagles of Death Metal

Imitable BAMF Josh Homme seems to never run out of new ways to make kick-ass records by collaborating with different folks, but this side project with Jesse Hughes is simply brilliant. Only these two could ask the question, “What would the offspring of The Eagles and death metal sound like?” and have the answer be, amazing.