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Stylish NYC band Weep releases debut CD

For obscure, probably yin yang related reasons, these days we don't stumble very often upon acts that - like Weep - are inspired by the sound of stylish acts like David Bowie, Roxy Music and Air. It seems like in this musical era the scruffy sound of DIY is WAY more - pardon my French - en vogue. But Weep isn't afraid of style - how passe`! But isn't passe` the future, really? Weep just release their debut CD "Worn Thin", check out some streaming songs here - When I'm Wrong in particular..

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classifieds   [this article appeared in the 22nd print issue of The Deli Magazine - Spring 2010)]
     
 

New York’s class of 2000/2001 never really fulfilled their early promise. For these bands there wasn’t so much a level of hope attached, but expectation. With The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Walkmen, French Kicks and a couple of dozen others, there was a buzz about the city at the turn of the millennium so clearly absent during the previous decade. The nineties hadn’t been the most fruitful decade for music in the city for those artists who weren’t illmatic, and as the Y2K hysteria died down there was a positive feeling that the new clutch of bright young things had a clean slate to carve out what would be a productive era for indie music in The Big Apple.

After all, the world needs a fully functioning New York. The shadows of Lou Reed, David Byrne and a thousand more cast long over the five boroughs. Musically, this was the land that produced Sonic Youth and the noise rock explosion. Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa and the birth of hip hop. The Godmother of Punk Patti Smith; should I go on?

But let’s not be too hard on their twenty-first century successors. Culturally, the carpet was ripped from beneath their feet. Take The Strokes, New York’s archetypal pre-9/11 band. Leading man Julian Casablancas’ writing was so observant of youth in the early noughties that retrospectively it’s amazing to think this was a band accused of being lyrically hollow. Indeed, tracks like ‘The Modern Age’ recall September 10th New York as a place of real vigor and excitement. Sure, the songs are basically about kids having fun and stuff, but they depict a Manhattan that was still the centre of the world. When the towers fell, Clear Channel Communications circulated a list of 166 songs they deemed “lyrically questionable” to some 1200 radio stations. Among the more unusual choices were The Bangles’ ‘Walk like an Egyptian’ and every Rage Against The Machine track. Cynical rock was forced out of the mainstream for good. The Strokes understandably removed ‘New York City Cops’ from their debut album Is This It, which despite being released to a bruised America was greeted with rapturous acclaim. The band would never again reach the same heights. Each release was lesser than its immediate predecessor and the Strokes drifted into self-imposed exile. In a sense, The Strokes were the last of the NME bands (the English rock publication recently named Is This It the finest album of the decade). A band whose hype was built without the power of the internet.

So what changed? Well...everything. From the complete digitalization of music, to how bands interact with their audiencethe way we view and consume our music has been completely uprooted and replaced. Perhaps the revolution has accelerated even faster than we thought when Napster scared the industry shitless ten years ago. Any wouldbe DJs can now simply hook their laptop up to a set of speakers play any request via youtube. A friend and I once spent a party blasting the grimiest dub step records we could find for the satisfied, smokedout audience.

Music in a sense has become disposable and intangible. I’ve lost my MP3 collection a soul destroying amount of times over the last few years thanks to failing hard drives. Bands themselves have become almost as throwaway as music itself. There are literally hundreds of them worth your time and money, but who has the time to consume them all? The vast and varied world of rock journalism—now online no doubt—helped the dam to burst, and was there soon after, trying to help mop up. Coinciding with the change has been the rise of powerhouse indie music website Pitchfork. The Holy Grail for all up and coming bands is their “best new music” section, which features more albums than most of Joe Public take in. But it leans heavily towards debuts, and the much discussed sophomore slump has become so slippery most artists don’t survive it in the brave new world.

Still, New York remains in a cultural bubble. Brooklyn has become a safe haven for America’s art kids, avant-garde artistes and would-be musical trendsetters. It’s a place where a myspace page is all that’s required to generate that much sought after commodity “hype” and protection from the hazards of web 2.0, ringtones and American Idol. Heck, this is a city where one of the biggest pop exports, Vampire Weekend, is tinged with influences that range from Nigerian music of the 1970s to Appalachian folk.

The indie rock scene certainly evolved quickly in the early noughties. Just a few short months after The Strokes’ rifftastic debut, Interpol emerged with the brooding “NYC”; the anti-“Modern Age” if ever there was one. Sure the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s have survived, but only by pandering to the “synths > guitars” trend that gathered pace a few years ago. By the end of the decade, bands like Animal Collective and Dirty Projectors who once formed the “alternative” to the garage rock heavyweights became the city’s major players. Indeed, we’re a long way from the heroin-fueled grunge movement in Seattle some years ago. Skinny ties and skinny jeans are seemingly the new rock star uniform, and a musician’s genius is no longer measured by his or her drug use. It’s a trend that was confirmed when Grizzy Bear’s tight harmonies and aleatoric eccentricities took their album Veckatimist to #8 in the US album charts last year.

While this success is tantamount to an explosion, the hip hop scene of the past decade suffered the same stagnation as indie rock in the nineties. But every city needs a monarch and Jay-Z began the decade with a firm statement of his intent to snatch the much coveted ‘King of New York’ crown from the clutches of his competitors. “If I ain’t better than Big, I’m the closest one,” he proclaimed. A statement which became more and more accurate as each year he competed unopposed. Ending the decade with the anthem ‘Empire State of Mind’ felt like the completion of his legacy while solidifying his new ‘black Sinatra’ guise. Meanwhile, his one time foe Nas slunk away, becoming the cranky old man of hip hop by prophesying its downfall and supplying the rap writers with more controversial album titles than memorable music.

But wow, did the noughties produce some good music. Dance and punk bumped pelvises on The Rapture’s Echoes, and its centrepiece ‘House of Jealous Lovers’ was one hell of a jam. Annie Clark, gorgeous, weird and easy to love became the epitome indie chick you wanted to date. As St. Vincent she forged her own unique brand of pleasure-filled pop, combining rasping textures and spooky arrangements with irresistible melodies. Two albums in and she already looks every inch of a superstar. James Murphy, making music under the LCD Soundsystem banner linked blurry-eyed nostalgia with twentyfirst century rhythms. His masterpiece ‘All My Friends’ captures the same world Casablancas had years earlier, describing that hazy sensation brought by sunrise after a night’s partying where overwhelming content and joy melts away the tiredness.

When New York Magazine published their list of the forty songs that define the Brooklyn sound towards the end of last year, it felt like a real lap of honour for the whole New York music scene. It was if these bands, only linked by a 11211 postal code, were spiritually unified and truly doing something that was worth doing. Included was ‘Mistaken for Strangers’ by The National from their 2007 album Boxer. A friend of mine once tried to put his feelings on that album into perspective: “Dean,” he stressed to grab my attention before pausing dramatically. “Boxer is where I’m from. It’s where you’re from. It’s where we are all from.” Following that admittedly broad statement to its most logical starting point, New York, reveals a classically beautiful and terribly romantic city. And while my friend was right that the album has that warm feeling of home wherever that may be, when Matt Berninger’s booming baritone echoes out “Hold ourselves together with our arms around the stereo for hours,” nowhere else does this statement feel more relevant than NYC.

 

 
 
 

 

 
 
 




The 23rd issue of The Deli is out + Online interactive version!

Music obsessed NYC-ers,

The 23rd issue of The Deli (pictrured) was delivered to the most rocking NYC neighborhoods yesterday - did you see it?
If you didn't, here is a shortlist of the location that carry it:

LES: Mercury Lounge, Pianos, Cake Shop, Arlene's Grocery, The Delancey.
East Village: Webster Hall, Bowery Electric, Rivington Guitars, 1st Flight Music, Otto's Shrunken Head, Banjo's Jim, The Library.
Chelsea: Music Buildings on 30th St. and on 8th Ave at 39th street, Funkadelic, S.I.R., Smash Rehearsals, 30th Street Guitars, Rogue Music, News Cafe.
West Village: Other Music, Rebel Rebel Records, My Generation Records, le Poisson Rouge.
Williamsburg: Main Drag, Southside Guitars, Earwax Records, Beacon's Closet, Soundfix, Public Assembly, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Trash Bar, Bruars Falls, Flood Rehearsals, Glasslands, Monster Island, Union Pool, Sweat Shop rehearsals.
Greenpoint: Matchless, Coco66, Rehearsal Studio on Franklin, Europa, Permanent Records.

We will hit locations in Park Slope/Gowanus and Bushwick early next week.

YOU CAN NOW ALSO SEE IT ONLINE HERE!!! With interactive liks, dudes!

CHAIRS!

The Deli's Staff

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NYC Scene 2000-2010 - A Naughties Retrospective

The end of the decade offers an opportunity to look back at how the NYC scene (and the music industry it fuels) changed in a time frame that will be remembered for many reasons. This retrospective about the NYC music in the first decade of the new millennium was published in our 22nd print issue, enjoy!

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Weekly Feature #210b: Fang Island prepare to tour with Flaming Lips

Some of what Fang Island has to say might be taken with a grain of salt – they are notoriously snarky in interviews, but that sort of goes along with the playful nature of the band’s powerful tunes. No matter what, they’re funny to read they’re even more fun to contemplate as the transcendent force of pure fun and happiness they envision themselves to be. I’d say they’re getting close to that vision – with a huge album (in sound and in impact) in the bag and a streak of luck that just can’t be paralleled (they found the very touring van that was stolen from them) Fang Island is poised for surfing some cosmic waves of joy in the next few months. - read Dale W Eisinger's interview with the band here.

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