New York has long been a breeding ground for exciting new music, a city whose ever-changing scene has been romanticised than most others. You only have to look at the recent swell of nostalgia for the early ’00s indie wave to see that, but it’s a perspective that can be traced all the way back to the first wave of punk in the ’70s and beyond.
The third DIY Presents show to be held in the city showcases two of its new charges who are helping keep that allure of discovery alive. Rebounder are almost as fresh as you can get in a world where you can find out a new band’s life history the instant after you find out about them. They have only one song in the public domain (the great ‘Japanese Posters’) and this is only their second ever show. It’s scrappy in places, but full of charm and the songs are all gold. Zippy opener ‘Slow Angel’ is a new wave-y pop cracker while the likes of ‘MMATBATEOTW’ and closer ‘Swim Zone’ are more pensive, but still exhibit an effortless knack for getting stuck deep in the recesses of your brain after one listen. If Rebounder aren’t the finished article yet, this early display suggests big things when they are.
Already well on their way to big things are tonight’s headliners. Where other bands are happy to just show up and play, The Britanys are making extra strides to make their gigs that little bit different. “You’ve reached Britany,” an automated voice crackles over the PA as they walk onstage, as if it’s coming from the giant papier-mâché phone (made by Adam Green, no less) glowing like a real iPhone to their right. “Look at this shit, it’s amazing,” comments frontman Lucas Long once they’ve hit their stride and he’s not wrong.
The first half of their set features the older songs that have got them this far like ‘Basket Holder’ and ‘City Boys’, while the second half shows what they’ve been up to lately - namely writing tunes that are even stronger, more advanced, and more distinctly their own. ‘Neon Lights’ balances surging garage rock with longing sentiment, and recent single ‘I Don’t Know How To Be Alone’ might be their best work yet, building from stuttering bass grooves in the verses to a chorus that sounds gigantic live. The cascading, urgent guitar lines that close ‘We Are Human’ would be the perfect end to a triumphant set, but the crowd isn’t satisfied yet. Chants of “One more song!” ring around Rough Trade until the band concede and return for a cover of past New York heroes The Ramones’ ‘The KKK Took My Baby Away’ that’s shuts things down with a snarl. Forget past glories, New York’s present is as bright as ever.