Naming eight NYC bands you need to hear seems like it would be an easy task, no? Yeah, well, it’s not. Maybe if we were a pocket-sized listings guide in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, it would be a different story, but here in New York it makes for a stressful, sleep-depriving mission. The difference between the eight bands on the previous pages and those that remain on this one is like the difference between a gold and silver medal at the Olympics — the only thing separating them is .009 seconds, or some other crazy miniscule measurement. And so we’d like to give credit to our silver medalists.
Motel Motel first caught our attention with the song ‘Coffee’, a five-minute retelling of a tale complicated by wine, cocaine and the eponymous stimulant. At its inception, frontman Eric Engel sounds wounded and defeated, but as the string section and chugging guitars gradually build up steam, his voice gives way to resounding urgency and vigor. We’ve got high hopes for their brand of rattling, old-timey country on their soon-to-be released full-length, New Denver.
THE SHOT HEARD ROUND THE WORLD
There’s a certain tone to The Shot Heard Round the World’s music that’s
hard to pin down exactly — light, wispy, dewy — that makes us want to
wrap ourselves in a blanket, put on Ten Songs for Town and Country, and
fall asleep in a field of flowers. Next month they’re slated to release
EP via Mountain Landis Records. If you love the Byrds, rejoice.
A few months back, Dan Deacon told Pitchfork
that Air Waves is taking the cake as his favorite new band. Allow us to
vouch for Dan Deacon’s intelligence, just this once. While Air Waves
may be predisposed to downtrodden folk, rounded out by a gentle pop
edge, there’s something strangely uplifting in the way Nicole Schneit
sings. You trust that no matter what gets thrown her way, she’s going
to fight through.
YOUR 33 BLACK ANGELS
Allow us to state the obvious: There are moments when Your 33 Black Angels sound an awful lot like the Velvet Underground. There, now that’s out of the way, and we can focus on the quirky subtleties of their 2007 debut, Lonely Street: staccato guitar licks, the candid grittiness of Josh Wesfal’s vocals, and a song about a girl named Sue. This year we’ll see their follow-up, and it should — if record label people are smart as we are — spur a bidding war among the indies.
It seems like yesterday — that’s probably because
it was, more or less — that this Brooklyn trio was grooming its
power-pop-meets-rock sound with regular performances at Pete’s Candy
Store. Now with a Daytrotter session under their belts and even a
snippet of their song ‘Colors That Lie’ featured on some MTV thing,
Meowskers’ scrappy piano-banging rock ‘n’ roll is beginning to pick up
TWI THE HUMBLE FEATHER
There are lots of bands out there lauded simply for their originality, bands that otherwise don’t deserve much attention. Twi the Humble Feather, while sounding like nothing we’ve ever heard, is not one of them. The exclusively acoustic three-piece come across as a live-action tape-loop of sorts, their chanting falsettos bleeding through cycles of finger strumming dwindles and swells. It’s part Gregorian chant, part Christmas carol and part Panda Bear’s Person Pitch unplugged. The forthcoming album is called Music for Spaceships and Forests.
So, there was this time about a year and a half ago when we first heard
the debut EP from Mussels, and we were all about it. Then they kinda
just didn’t play that many shows for a while, and we sorta forgot how
much we liked ‘em. Then they played a couple well-attended local shows
and went on a tour, and we’re just now getting around to listening to
them again. Really good stuff: smart guitar-based indie-pop with guitar
tones that would made Doug Martsch jealous.
Charles Burst got his start playing drums for the sadly broken-up NYC psych-rock band the Occasion, and now he’s off on his own, playing warm, organ-driven 70s singer-songwriter type stuff that we’re liking more and more with each passing day. Disclaimer: Burst just signed to the Ernest Jenning Record Co., which is owned by L Magazine friend and one-time contributor Pete D’Angelo. Don’t worry, though, because we really hate when our friends succeed and would never go out of our way to see that they do, unless we really, really meant it.