Unplugged Online

With the exception of the occasional one-off, like last year’s “Alicia Keys Unplugged,” MTV has mostly abandoned its Unplugged franchise. Remember that acoustic performance series on which artists ranging from Bob Dylan to Kurt Cobain performed alternate versions of some of their greatest hits? We sure do — and we miss it.

Which is why we’re so enamored of The Interface, a new, free weekly podcast that lures cultish artists such as Cat Power, The Decemberists, M. Ward, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Beth Orton, Peaches, and even a Liam-free Noel Gallagher (of Oasis) to its studios for impromptu acoustic concerts and chitchat. It’s a pretty perfect use of the medium.

Most of the recordings are just over 20 minutes and feature three songs. The show is a new venture of AOL Music, which is clearly trying to reach out beyond AOL’s ultra-super-middlebrow mainstream.

We usually skip the public-radio-esque Q&As at the end of The Interface and simply revel in the unexpected listening pleasure of, say, wild woman Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs reinventing herself as a coffeehouse troubadour.

“>HEAR The Interface (you can stream the audio online or download each of the individual podcasts for free; you can also subscribe through iTunes)

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Unplugged Online