It’s not easy keeping track of bands in this city. They’re always coming or going or changing names or breaking up or doing any number of other things that serve nicely to confuse would-be fans. But, like the doting, concerned parents we are, we’ve kept a close eye on the eight bands we wrote about in the 2007 edition of this issue. Here’s what they’ve been up to.
Sorry, but did you really think we weren’t going to start with this one? We know we can’t take all the credit here, but we’d be lying if we said we don’t sleep ever so slightly better at night knowing we got on this train way early on. Since appearing in the magazine last year, Vampire Weekend have: incited a bidding war among labels big and small, played sold out shows all over the world, appeared on David Letterman
and Saturday Night Live
, been featured in our favorite ever scene of Friday Night Lights
, been played on the sound systems of every giant chain store we’ve ever been inside, seen their record climb to number two on the iTunes album chart, scored slots on pretty much every noteworthy 2008 summer festival, and briefly made everyone wonder if they too might be able to pull off a yellow v-neck sweater embroidered with tiny dogs. The L Magazine
: 1, Brooklyn Vegan commenters: 0.
Bear Hands was one of the bands we knew we were taking a big chance on last year. They hadn’t played more than a handful of shows, and we’d only heard the few songs they had posted on their MySpace page. When they showed up at last year’s photo shoot, they looked about ten years younger than everyone else and, frankly, scared and shocked to be included at all. In the year that’s passed, they’ve been everywhere: featured in Spin
, Alternative Press
and Entertainment Weekly
, among many others, and sharing stages with so many big-name bands we’ve honestly lost count — all on the merit of the same four-song EP we heard now over a year ago. One can only assume they’ve got even bigger things in their future.
Somehow, at last year’s photo shoot, I think I managed to get through the entire day without speaking to anyone in White Rabbits, which is strange and totally rude on my part. So, I’m sorry about that, White Rabbits. Doesn’t seem like they’re losing much sleep over it, though. The past 12 months have seen them release their debut full-length Fortnightly
, tour incessantly, appear on David Letterman
, and receive a nomination for Best New Artist from the PLUG Awards. They’ve also scored a slot at this year’s Sasquatch Festival, plus a three-week tour opening up for the Walkmen and Spoon. They recorded a Daytrotter session, received an impressive 8.1 from Pitchfork
, and continue to get bigger and bigger. Well done, White Rabbits.
Just because, out of all the bands in New York City, you choose to feature one primarily because they remind you of all the things you loved most about high school — those being, specifically, Pavement and Sonic Youth — doesn’t mean it wasn’t deserving. Such was the case with the Muggabears, a trio of noise-loving Brooklynites with an equal respect for melody. The past year has been complicated for the band. Drummer Kevin Murphy left to go back to school and was eventually replaced by Gabriel Wurzel. They played shows all over the city, with such esteemed bands as A Place to Bury Strangers, Besnard Lakes and Apostle of Hustle, and they recently returned from a nation-wide tour that took them through Austin, TX, for this year’s SXSW, where they played a well-attended Brooklyn Vegan day-party. The Voice also ran a piece on them, even after they made fun of us for recommending them.