The Best of Brooklyn 

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5 Best Albums Released by Brooklyn Bands So Far This year
1. The Men—Open Your Heart
It may not be the most timely album of the year, but it’s certainly the hardest-hitting and most viscerally affecting.
2. Hospitality—Hospitality
If ever a Brooklyn band deserved to have their full-length debut released by the mighty Merge Records, it was these guys, with their impeccably tasteful, hyper-melodic indie-pop.
3. Sharon Van Etten—Tramp
Proving once and for all that there is nothing quite as powerful as a scorned, guitar-toting woman with a voice that can move mountains.
4. Dirty Projectors—Swing Lo Megellan
The most user-friendly DPs record to date is of course still every bit as unpredictable and peculiar as you’ve come to expect, but with even more big-time hooks mixed in.
5. The Walkmen—Heaven
For better of worse, this record should probably be freely distributed to all Brooklynites on their 30th birthday or immediately following the birth of their first child. Stately, mature and beautiful.

Best Comment on BrooklynVegan’s “8 Bands You Need to Hear” Post this year
“I am thankful for L Magazine. When I leave the house [to] walk the dog, and I forget to bring along a plastic bag, there is always an L Magazine dispenser close by to assist. If you unfold it at the staple, it has just enough surface area to grab all the doodoo without getting any on my hand. Thanks, L Magazine!”

Best Music-Related Facebook Initiative: Adam Yauch Park
When we lost Beastie Boy Adam Yauch to cancer earlier this year, locals began a petition to rename Brooklyn Heights’s Squibb Park in his honor. It would make perfect sense in any case, really, but with renovations under way to turn it into a skate park, well, there’s just no way it can’t happen.

Best Distraction from the Thurston Moore/Kim Gordon Divorce
Lee Ranaldo’s Between the Times and the Tides

Devoted Sonic Youth fans have always known that Lee Ranaldo was the band’s secret weapon, but even we didn’t see this coming. His first large-scale solo release is a beautiful, hooky distillation of everything he’s been bringing to Sonic Youth for the past 30-plus years.

Best Go-To Producer for Brooklyn Bands
Shane Stoneback

Whether you’re in one of the borough’s most musically precise bands (Vampire Weekend, Hospitality) or one of its most bludgeoning (Sleigh Bells), you’ve found yourself turning to Stoneback at some point in recent memory for his expertise in producing, engineering, mixing and making things sound real good.

Best Song About Brooklyn By a Non-Brooklyn Band
“Bushwick Kids” by Fidlar

When a group of sneery L.A. punks release a song called “Bushwick Kids” on their Tumblr, you’d assume it’s going to be a dis on the ‘hood. First you hear the refrain as “Fuck you, Bushwick kids!” but then it hits you that frontman Zac Carper is actually yelling “yeah” instead of “you,” and the whole thing is a loving tribute. Fuck yeah, indeed.

Best Licensed Spot of a Brooklyn Band in a Brooklyn-Based TV Show
Silver Jews, Episode 3 of I Just Want My Pants Back

It was a surprising clip from “Trains Across the Sea” on MTV’s I Just Want My Pants Back that turned a dopey show set in Greenpoint into a momentarily poignant (for at least 20 seconds!) look into post-collegiate life. That’s the power of the acoustic guitar and David Berman, who lived in Greenpoint for a time before releasing the track, so, therefore, Brooklyn band, right? Right!

Best Split-7” Tribute Series
Famous Class’s Less Artists More Condos Series
In keeping with the late DIY concert promoter Ariel Panero’s band-discovery manifesto, the B-side to each edition in the series is handpicked by the band on the A-side. So far we’ve got previously unreleased tracks with corresponding picks from A Place to Bury Strangers and Future Islands with Thee Oh Sees on deck. Added bonus: proceeds benefit the Ariel Panero Memorial Fund at VH1 Save the Music.

Best Thing Happening to williamsburg This Fall
Rough Trade Record Shop Opens
The leaves are a golden yellow, the air outside is crisp, and there you are, buying some new vinyl from what we assume will be a stellar and tasteful selection before checking out an in-store performance booked in tandem with Bowery Presents. We’re excited.

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