NY: The Next Wave
you’ve probably noticed over the past few years,
whether it be through friends, shows, or every single
issue of NME published since 1999, New York City has a
rock scene that just can’t be beat with a stick.
Bands like Interpol, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Radio 4, the Strokes
and throngs of other great acts have been able to capitalize
on the N.Y.C. buzz, and compilations like the recent Yes
New York demonstrate that, if it’s from the city,
it deserves critical acclaim.
Question is, does the world really need another “New
compilation? The answer, without dispute, is a big ol’
fat yes siree! Next Wave is like Yes New York’s
kid sister, with a fake ID: Screw all the “cool”
bands, because I’ve scoured the Bowery and beyond
and brought back the real deal.
The CD opens with a luscious track by Sea Ray, a literal
sonic wall of smooth vocals, cellos and distorted guitars.
It sets the mood perfectly for the other artists on the
CD. They are the unsung heroes of the N.Y. scene; the
bands we walk past on Avenue A and don’t even notice.
They deserve our attention, and they deserve this compilation.
Giving a nod to the budding disco-punk scene is the Fever,
spreading its spastic keyboards and ballistic wails over
“Labor of Love.” If you’re achin’
for some 90s alternative-rock nostalgia (think Pavement,
Built to Spill, Archers of Loaf), Awek is just for you;
listen to their track “If You Win (It’s Because
I Let You)” and wonder why they aren’t on
the bill for the resurrected Lollapalooza.
The compilation also knows when to bring it down a notch
(the swirling melodies of Four Volts and Bastion do the
job quite efficiently) and feature a few up-and-coming
acts who’ll surely soon be playing at a Virgin Megastore
showcase near you. Elefant, the band whose debut, Sunlight
Makes Me Paranoid, is still creating buzz quite a
few months after its release, and stellstarr*, who has
been described as the Robert Smith fronting the Pixies
so many times even the band members are sick of it. Both
bands are heavy on the bass and sing-a-long lyrics. After
hearing Elefant’s song, “Bokkie,” twice,
you‚ll be humming it for weeks.
I could easily go through every song on the CD and sing
you its merits, but every self-respecting New York resident
should pick up a copy from their local record store, so
I‚ll let you musically discover NYC yourself. I
see the future of NYC, and it is bright. CAMERON