8 NYC Bands You Need to Hear 

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North Highlands

MP3: "Sugar Lips"

At a time when one of the most common gripes against the indie-rock hype machine is that too much is gleaned from a band's earliest material, and that they wind up written off before they've had a chance to develop, or praised to the high heavens before they're able to live up to it, it is perhaps a bit gauche to do what we're about to do. But man, the first song these guys ever wrote together is just brilliant: It's called "Collar Bones," and it's an irresistible bit of chamber-pop—airy and gently swaying, and eventually a little bit jumpy, with singer Brenda Malvini's vocals adding an almost vaudevillian quality to the mix. And here's the kicker: Everything they've done since is just as good, if not better. Their debut EP, Sugar Lips, was released back in December of last year, and it's just dripping with homespun charm, all warm and comforting, but never boring. You'll want Ms. Malvini to be your grandmother, basically.

Favorite NYC Venue:
We are real appreciative of new DIY promoters who keep venues open to smaller local and traveling bands. They book eclectic shows and take risks, giving new bands their start. The show could be anywhere, we just love playing with bands who keep us excited to be living in New York City.

What NYC band would you give up your spot on the list for?
Dream Diary.

One thing you'd like to change about being a band in NYC?
It wouldn't hurt for it to be more affordable. More free beer tickets and sandwiches maybe. Ideally grants would be more available to musicians and composers. Isn't that why Scandinavian bands are so good?

What's the biggest misconception about being in a band in NYC?
Some blog comment pages show a skepticism that many New York bands are insincere, contrived and undeserving. There are definitely a lot of developing bands in New York who bust their asses hard making music because they love it.

If you could be a NYC band in any other year in history, which year would you choose?
1984.

Favorite song about NYC:
"Springtime in New York" by Jonathan Richman.

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North Highlands
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North Highlands

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Main | Ava Luna | MiniBoone | Twin Sister | Asa Ransom | Nohow On | Ball of Flame Shoot Fire | North Highlands | Oberhofer | Honorable Mentions | Where Are They Now? The Class of 2009

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