Who to Impress
While the recent south-of-the-border boondoggle of the MtyMx Festival proved that his powers might not extend to convincing chill-wavers they’d be safe from Mexican drug cartels, promoter Todd Patrick is still the unquestioned king of Brooklyn DIY. With his cred-cup running over and eight years of built-up connections to once unknown, now-headlining bands greasing the wheels, Patrick is able to pull in more bold-type names than any other fledgling Brooklyn promoter could ever afford. Magic tricks like getting Bjork to play a DJ set at a raw Bushwick spot (an actual thing that really just happened), aren’t within the grasp of most anyone else in the hood. That said, the shows under his booking umbrella still take more chances on unknown acts, and still look for more and more unique spaces further and further into the ungentrified fringe than the competition. His dictatorship is a benign one.
While his 140-character record eviscerations on Twitter are enough to make any band tremble, Village Voice critic Christopher Weingarten is actually one of the fairest, shrewdest evaluators of local talent around. Weingarten’s “Yes in My Backyard” regularly scoops the broader-focus national publications on identifying Brooklyn bands whose wobbly yearling steps should be checked out at all costs.
Jack “Skippy” McFadden
Park Slope, either due to subway isolation relative to the rest of the city or its stroller/Subaru demographics, polls a distant third to Bushwick and Williamsburg for neighborhoods on the musical cutting edge. That said, Union Hall and The Bell House, the Slope venues run by Jack McFadden, are the beating heart of a considerable local scene. The amiable McFadden, perhaps the first grown man to go by “Skippy” since Family Ties, has the reputation of a straight shooter in a landscape full of flakes, along with a discerning booking eye—both of which help when those little bands playing Union Hall suddenly blossom into big bands who can fill The Bell House.
Since 2005, New York critic Doug Mosurock has been valiantly compiling his “Still Single” column for brainy music site Dusted, shining a light on limited-run vinyl releases that often only make it as far as the hands of a few greedy hoarders. Limiting his spam influx by only accepting physical copies of new releases, Mosurock heads the best-curated guide on the internet for those who’d like to dive into the world of off-the-radar 7″ singles but have no clue where to start. And bands who’d like to reach those people would be wise to submit.
Even further down the rabbit hole is the web community Terminal Boredom. Like “Still Single” its focus is the DIY world at large, rather than Brooklyn in specific, but you’ll find plenty of discussion about the thriving local scene here by default. They will review literally anything they are sent, format-be-damned, though you might have to wait a bit. The associated forums are a good place to find tips on truly obscure acts, spar with possible future bandmates, and just generally rant about records.
Brooklyn Vegan Commenters
No one is more ready, willing, and able to drop a squat on your dreams than the anonymous hordes of virtual unwashed perpetually trolling Brooklyn Vegan. You’ve done the hard work, you’ve cobbled together your debut EP, you’ve gotten a tight live set together, you’re ready to take on the world! They’ll take a 15-second listen to a streaming mp3 and declare it the musical equivalent of ball cancer. Ladies get the added-value implication that they’re carrying some variety of venereal disease. A fun bunch! Basically impossible to impress en masse, but don’t sweat it. Had it existed in 1967 it’d be absolutely jammed with bon mots like, “More like Sgt. Meh-pper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
No one’s taste gets more direct grief from the mob than Bill Pearis, BV‘s intrepid, “This Week in Indie” correspondent, and occasional Sound Bites NYC blogger. Amid a blog and tumblr landscape that teeters between vapid boosterism and cynical nihilism, Pearis is a refreshingly informed enthusiast. Since most of the messy rock and experimental bands that one might brand DIY fall under his beat, he’s often the first well-trafficked voice to spotlight emerging acts after only a handful of shows.
WHERE TO SIZE UP THE COMPETITION | WHO TO IMPRESS | WHERE TO DIVERSIFY YOUR INFLUENCES | WHERE TO SEND YOUR DEMO | WHO NEEDS A LABEL, ANYWAY? | MAIN