New York Magazine recently published an extensive article about the merits of the music scene in Brooklyn. Though they are a bit biased (and so am I), I have to agree. (1) For a while, I thought it was all about Portland, but for the past few years, Brooklyn has churned out quite an impressive roster to the extent that I find myself assuming that every new band I encounter is holed up somewhere in Greenpoint or ‘East’ Williamsburg practicing.
Of course, there’s the obvious: The Dirty Projectors, Grizzly Bear, MGMT, The National, Sufjan Stevens, Mos Def, Yeasayer, Jay-Z, The Antlers, Vivian Girls, Talib Kweli… and the bit more obscure: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Drums, Crystal Stilts, Bishop Allen, Jeffrey Lewis, Here We Go Magic, Suckers. Artists don’t just get their start in Brooklyn. Often they move here to continue their work after they have already made a name for themselves and to just partake in the Brooklyn community.
Recently, I have noticed that often the audience members at New York shows comprise a number of talented musicians and artists. One of my favorite games to play at a crowded show is trying to pick out people who are in bands. In North Carolina where I went to school, this was an easy task. Look for the slightly older guys with impressive beards, skinny jeans, plaid shirts, slightly more attractive than the average guy. Bingo! In New York, this can be more challenging, but I’ve stood beside members from The National, Jeffrey Lewis, Matt and Nan of Schwervon!, Sufjan Stevens, and more. (The Bell House is especially good for these sightings). It’s pretty delightful.
Even my dad saw the article in New York Magazine and wrote me an email, saying: “So, maybe the economy is struggling to get out of the recession but the Brooklyn music scene is already in a bull market. Rachel, this may be the best time to be in Brooklyn in years. Timing is everything.” And if my sixty-one-year-old father in rural South Carolina is praising the Brooklyn Music scene, there must be something to it.
(1) And they’re not the only ones who are sighting Brooklyn as a hot spot. There’s also The Guardian.