Our music-video series in which 25 bands cover 25 songs in one small, round room in The A.V. Club office.

"Portland Cello Project and Alan Sparhawk o..."

Portland Cello Project made its name mostly by covering reimagining hip-hop tracks for strings; the group even caught Jay-Z's attention with its cover of "H.A.M." (They're interviewed on Jigga's blog about it, even!) We thought it would be cheating for an instrumental group to participate in Undercover, though, so we helped PCP connect with Alan Sparhawk of Low, who's visited the round room twice before. The song they chose, "Institutionalized" by Suicidal Tendencies, is the song I was most excited about at the beginning of this year's Undercover. It's such a strange beast: a hardcore/thrash track whose verses are mostly spoken-word, and a painful personal story that's simultaneously pretty hilarious. It sounds incredibly dated, but in 1983, it sparked a lot of other bands (and got an incredible amount of MTV airplay, believe it or not). Sparhawk took the challenge seriously, donning a blue bandana and grabbing himself a Pepsi (all he wanted--and she just wouldn't give it to him!) for the performance. For those unfamiliar with the original, the video is embedded below. Watch 'em both! And then go see Portland Cello Project on tour, dates below, in support of its new album Homage.