The Big Apple. Gotham. The city so nice they named it twice. Just plain ol’ NYC. Whatever you call New York, the one thing that never changes is its position as one of America (and thus the world’s) biggest hotbeds for exhilarating music.
So, to celebrate that status, each month, we’ll be rounding up the best of it in this brand new column, from the albums and tracks you need to get in your ears, the gigs you need to be down the front at, and the news from the city you need to be up to date on.
Welcome to New York, Neu York.
You need to hear…
Veda Rays - ‘For The Rest To Rest’
As goth kings The Cure and synth-goth auteurs Depeche Mode, and Nine Inch Nails all celebrate decades together, allow us to introduce a band picking up their overcast, atmospheric baton. Veda Rays (singer/guitarist James Stark, keyboardist Maria Joanna Bohemia, and drummer Jason Gates) release their second album tomorrow (13th July) and it’s a gloriously gloomy listen. ‘For The Rest To Rest’ cherry-picks the dappled shoegaze of Cocteau Twins, deep croon of Morrissey, steely post-punk urgency and more, and melds them into its own glimmering thing. Recorded and produced by the band in their Brooklyn basement and mixed by Jeremy Cimino, its inventive and bright, from the ever-so-slightly dissonant ‘Doublespeak’ to the surging punk rolls of ‘These Final Days’.
Listen to it in full below and pre-order it from the band’s website. If you want some slightly NSFW visuals (is nudity NSFW if it’s a computer rendering?), head here to watch the Matt Rosenbaum-directed video for the album’s title track.
Veda Rays will be celebrating the record’s release at Bushwick’s Alphaville on 21st July, where they’ll be joined by Operator Music Band and Flexi. Get your tickets here now.
Bodega - ‘Endless Scroll’
Has there been a more invigorating new band to emerge from anywhere than Bodega in recent times? One listen to their debut album ‘Endless Scroll’ will give you the answer - almost definitely not. The band formerly known as Bodega Bay tackle topics like masculinity, vacuous scenesters, female masturbation, and our reliance on technology with wry irreverence and deep, sexy bass grooves. Read our full review here.
You need to know…
- There’s another new venue coming to New York, this time in Long Island City. The Arc will boast two performance spaces - a smaller room with a capacity of 389, and a larger one that can fit 1,690 people. There’ll also be a recording studio, media centre, and 24-hour cafe in the building, which was once a sushi factory. The Arc is currently set to open in early 2019.
- New York already has murals of Joe Strummer, Joey Ramone, Beastie Boys, and Biggie. Now, high priestess of punk poetry Patti Smith is the latest NYC hero to be immortalised on the side of a building. Find her looking as iconic as ever on the corner of 1st Ave and 2nd Street.
You should have been at…
The Britanys and Rebounder @ Rough Trade, 16th June
The latest DIY Presents… show saw two of New York’s most exciting rising acts prove there’s no need to settle for indie nostalgia where the city’s music scene is concerned. Rebounder were full of promise at only their second live appearance, while The Britanys continued not to rest on their laurels with ambitious set props and bold new songs. Read our full review here.
King Princess @ Elsewhere, 25th June
King Princess - aka 19-year-old Brooklynite Mikaela Straus - seems like she was born to be on stage. As soon as she stepped out at Elsewhere for her first headline show in her hometown she exuded the kind of presence you can’t fake - a warm kind of sass between songs and something alternating between vulnerability and playfulness in them. Although Mikaela’s only just released her debut EP - and thus still a very new prospect - the room acts as if she’s already a superstar, offering her hits of their juuls and throwing mini crowns on stage. Read our review of her ‘Make My Bed’ EP here.
You need to be at…
Here’s DIY’s top five picks for gigs in good old NY, NY over the coming month.
Future Punx @ Berlin, 14th July
Brooklyn’s self-proclaimed “post-wave” group (think post-punk given a robotic, futuristic edge) are celebrating their fifth anniversary with a series of shows at various intimate New York venues. The first one takes place this weekend at Berlin, before they head to Union Pool (20th July) and Alphaville (27th July). All three will be recorded for a future live album so head down and be part of it. Event info.
Petal, Camp Cope and Sidney Gish @ Bowery Ballroom, 20th July
Kiley Lotz’s latest album as Petal, ‘Magic Gone’, is a poignant and uncompromising document of facing up to your demons. Work through your feelings with her as she and her band bring this killer line-up, including Run For Cover labelmates Camp Cope and rising bright spark Sidney Gish, to the city. Tickets.
The Muckers @ Baby’s All Right, 22nd July
Psychedelic garage-rockers The Muckers not only look like they stepped out of the ’70s (we’ve seen them wearing some seriously envious flares), they sound like they’ve time-travelled from another era too. Currently, they only have two tracks online in the dishevelled glam of ‘Suspended For A Long Time’ and the marbled ‘This Town Will Drag Us Down’, but both are more than enough to give you a taste of their live show i.e. absolutely epic. Tickets.
Coney Island Music Festival @ Coney Island, 4th August
Coney Island is already one of the best days out in New York. Add a free one-day festival and it gets even better. (Sandy) Alex G and The Garden co-headline this year’s edition, and they’ll be joined by local indie-poppers Navy Gangs, DIY supergroup Public Practice (featuring members of WALL and Beverly), Captured Tracks’ signee Juan Wauters, and more. Event info.
Porches, Sunflower Bean and Crumb @ East River Amphitheatre, 11th August
Look at this stacked bill. Just look at it. Guess what? It won’t cost you a single dollar. Yes, for absolutely nada you can watch three of New York’s best while (hopefully) soaking up some rays in the park. Dreamy. Event info.
Got a New York band you think should feature in New York, Neu York? Wing an email to [email protected].