Thursday, August 21, 2003

WHAT THE NEW YORK MUSIC BLOGS SAY: Catherine's Pita has long been one of our favourite dropping off points on the web, and in common with most of the rest of the city last week's powercut provides the backbone for current entries - luckily, or maybe not, the crumbling of America's infrastructure didn't stop the Polyphonic Spree's gig in Central Park. Hmmm, a slightly odd and ill-defined cult in Central Park, eh? Whatever next?

It was Catherine who brought New York Press' guide to the NY bloggers to our attention, and to fill a dull few minutes and/or to make us feel like Clive James on his old Saturday Night show, we're going to do a quick scamper round the NY Blogs to test out if you really can get the measure of a place from what it (self-)publishes.

The Modern Age was also at that Polyphonic Spree date (so much for the city that never sleeps - if they can pull such a crowd we'd have to assume the competing attractions in New York ain't up to much), but also has an interesting chat with Bruce Brand about the cover he produced for The White Stripe's Elephant, complete with an 'are they related' side-by-side with the 1927 album Jack White asked him to 'borrow' the design from.

It's easy to forget that while Pete Doherty is jemmying open the gas meter here, The Rest of the Libertines are touring round the States. Divestar was there for their Irving Plaza gig, and nearly got thrown out. Jo, frustratingly, withholds the details - although she clearly managed to be allowed to stay, as the photos prove.

More great live photos on New York Doll - is it just that New York indie-giggers have superior technology and better views of the stage than the rest of the world? Guilia also offers up a piece of advice that you should all write in the front of your filofaxes or whatever young people use these days: "If someone tells you there is an open bar from nine to eleven at a show you are going to, don’t arrive at eleven. Everyone around you will be completely drunk already, and you’ll be standing there trying to have a decent conversation with someone, trying to tell him about all the different ways your day kind of sucked, but he will only see your mouth moving, as my very tipsy friend was nice enough to point out to me when I tried to explain why I arrived so late. Then you’ll go up to the bar and order your regular gin and tonic, and when you give the bartender a ten dollar bill for your eight dollar drink (which happens to come in a glass about the size of your grandmother’s pincushion), he’ll take the remaining two dollars and give them to himself as a tip, even when you’re holding your hand out for the change (no, that was not your little gift to yourself, that was my money). And the worst part is, you’ll still be sober enough to realize you were robbed. Eight dollars for a Gin and Tonic?

Back to the blackout for Hard Glitter - yeah, having no power and no microwave is bad, but having to put up with your local drug dealer's taste in music is probably worse. Reading this makes us wonder if dealing/pimping is the new djing - since any record, no matter how awful, that mentioned 'dj' or 'radio' was guaranteed several thousand plays by radio presenters self-obsessed beyond the point of critical judgement (how many times was Rex Bob Lowenstein given a trot out on Simon Mayo's breakfast show?); nowadays, regardless of how poor quality the track is, anything about running hos, shooting cops or selling pills gets seized upon by every single gangster-wannabe across the world. In the same way that adding 'Mr. Radio Man' would give you a cast-iron PPL payment, throwing in a couple of references to 'your bitches' will translate into sales galore.

Bidi (the Jean Genie) brings the news of a Hedwig and the Angry Inch tribute album featuring Bob Mould, Sleater Kinney and, erm, Cyndi Lauper; Hey, Mike from I'm Losing My Edge, if you're prepared to go see Pete's new band, we'll gladly hold your coat or something; and we love the description of Interpol fans as being 'better looking, less nerdy' than you expected. JT of Garage Dream admits he's probably going to be talking about the Strokes every day from now until the new album (and then probably beyond), which does seem to be something of a default setting for New Yorkers of an indie persuasion. Not that there's anything wrong with that - we'd doubtless be getting excited if Liverpool had something as big about to happen, but somehow the Coral's second album didn't quite work us up to fever pitch and we've given up wishing for a new Waste album to give a kickin... erm, critically evaluate. There's also speculation on Garage Dream that the second Stroke's album might be history repeating The Knack, this time with slightly better clothes (in this theory, Last Nite becomes their My Sharona; album number turns the tide of critical goodwill into violent, mocking spleen overnight).

Of course, we've probably managed to miss some great NY Blogs here (feel free to get in touch if you think we've slighted you by oversight) but the impression is of a place where stuff is happening (pace my Polyphonic Spree jibe) and of a scene that actually works like a scene rather than a group of people thrown together by geography hoping their mutual self-loathing and two-faced back-biting won't show itself in public like some places I could mention. Next week: The Dover Blogs.

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