What if the neighborhoods in Brooklyn were bands?:
Yeah, over the decade’s thousands upon THOUSANDS of bands/acts/musicians have come out of NYC: some epochal and awesome, others way too avant-garde and falling through the cracks of winding eternity. You think of Staten Island and you think of the Wu-Tang Clan; you think of Manhattan and hundreds of amazing acts intertwine in your noggin: The Strokes, Spacehog, The Velvet Underground, the 1960’s East Village crowd featuring Dylan and Baez; The Bronx birthed the likes of J-Lo, Fat Joe, and the Legendary OG Afrika Bambaataa; Queens spawned the Ramones and LL Cool J. Brooklyn, man, Brooklyn is always up there when it comes to donations of musical notoriety, both indigenous and adopted. Being born and raised in my dearest, brilliant borough of Brooklyn: I’m all-too-familiar with the mystique and idiosyncratic brilliance which each and every neighborhood showcases in ole BK. Brooklyn has 77 neighborhoods in it! Each of said 77 has its own cornucopia of nuances and sagacity and historic beauty and panache. What I see with my eyes when I travel hood to hood in Brooklyn is the essence, the ambiance, the aura of the streets, buildings, nooks, and hidden crevasses. Each hood in BK has had some brilliant musical act stem out of it, and will continue to do so perpetually as the centuries meander back into the infinite metronome; I’ll focus on (5) for now; I’ll focus on the quintessence of what my heart and eyes make out in each respective place…
Williamsburg – MGMT:
You might’ve never stepped foot in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and have a good idea of how it looks and how it feels; it’s its own World at this point! By now WillyB is its own mini-Brooklyn within Brooklyn, sort of like the Vatican and San Marino are to Italy. Top-tier art, literature, style, swag, cuisine, and of course music are synonymous with this marvelous joint. You know when you’re in WillyB as soon as you step foot off of the L train and smell that scintillating java brewing and made-from-scratch croissants baking. Anyone who’s anyone has either started out in WillyB or passed through it on their way up to the echelon. The first band that I think of when I think of Williamsburg is MGMT. Style-wise, sound-wise there’s no other act IMHO that identifies and represents WillyB better than the psychedelic rock/synth-pop duo. You see the awesome graffiti on Lorimer and Berry streets and develop synesthesia by hearing “Kids” and “Electric feel” play on in your head — juxtaposing to the vibes of the times — complementing the je ne sais quoi of the hood and the act. Walk around the blocks of the North and South streets, get lost in the now and you’ll always find “time to pretend.”
Brighton Beach – Gogol Bordello:
Led by Eugene Hütz, born Yevgen Oleksandrovych Nikolayev-Symonov, nothing better epitomizes the raw visceral intensity of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn – than Gogol Bordello! Originating from my Parents’ homeland of the Ukraine, Gogol Bordello have been vanguards in Gypsy Dub Punk since 1999. As you walk down Brighton Beach Avenue and hear them Q and B trains SCREECHING overhead — you’re reminded of the purest foundations of Punk Rock: grit, grizzle, grind, and grime! No wonder “Requiem for a dream” was filmed here! As the myriad Soviet-era fortune tellers, trinket/tchotchke peddlers, liquor stores, bodegas, and “vareniki” luncheonettes adorn the raunchy vista of this Southern Brooklyn “Odessa by the Sea”, you feel the reels of time and space combine to wallop your behind… punk is never alive nor dead — it’s all a concept — a rhythmic yet amorphous goo that radiates out from the pits of whatever Zeitgeist is guising along! Punk is solace deep in the bowels of Bedlam; just like the beautiful Atlantic a few meters South of the main Avenue of Brighton, Gogol Bordello is the harmonization out of the cacophony of chaos!
Coney Island — Shpongle:
If there was a song to embody the historic Coney Island: it’d be “Carnival” by the radiant Natalie Merchant. But, when it comes to all-around whimsicality, childlike glee, and jovial anticipation: Shpongle instantly comes to my mind! Originating in 1996: when the duo of Raja Ram and Simon Posford met during an eclipse in India… Shpongle have been one of the top Psy-trance acts in the World. Featuring vocals from Terrence McKenna, and limitlessly mind-warping psychedelic sounds and imagery, Shpongle will take your DMT trip to the Magical Gnome and Elven Levels! As the fabled Wonder Wheel spins in the Western panorama, the Cyclone roller-coaster grinds and wails like a scorned Banshee, the parachute-jump rises in vertical splendor in-front of the Manhattan skyline… “Once upon the Sea of blissful awareness” plays on my headphones as my special brownie begins to introduce itself to my synapses and dopamine receptors. The hot sand warms the soles of my feet, the salt water clears my Chakras as I smell the funnel cake deliciously wafting my way! Life’s a little better with a little Shpongle serenading the happy cells in your body! Get Shpongled!
Park Slope — The Decemberists:
My friend always likes to say that, “Park Slope is where the Williamsburg Hipsters go to retire and raise their kids!” Park Slope is refined, man! There’s something a little extra classy about the Slope! The creativity is a little more creative; the food is a little more detailed; the music playing in the coffee shops and bistros is a little more complex… this place rocks in the most anti-ostentatious way imaginable! If “refined”, “detailed”, and “complex” doesn’t summarize the awesomeness of The Decemberists, I don’t know what will! Stemming from the great city of Portland, Oregon: which is pretty much a giant Park Slope — The Decemberists are the Kings (and Queen) of creative-writing, melodic folk rock! Eating a lobster roll in Park Slope at 2:30 A.M. as “16 Military Wives” plays loudly from the speakers is something that will leave an incredible memory and sensory appreciation in you — long after the deliciousness of the claw meat is forgotten by your taste senses. That’s what Park Slope is, bruh! Layer upon layer upon layer of creative and jocose pleasure; extremely similar to the amazing catalog of music from The Decemberists! Plethora is better than anathema!
DUMBO — M83:
Okay, I’ll get a wee bit more allegorical and sentimental with this one! Those who have been blessed to drive down the BQE when the dusk begins to roll around the bend — the Sun setting gracefully and iridescently as it bounces off of the BEAUTIFUL Manhattan skyline — know of the topographical majesty that I’m talkin’ about! I remember in perfect, picturesque memory “Midnight City” by M83 playing on my Classic convertible’s stereo, my mood was so euphoric as the skyline’s silhouette was gently dissolving off of my Aviator shades as I drove down the expressway to an amazing loft party in DUMBO. The coolest of vibes, ya know!? That’s what it’s all about: the vibes, baby! Isn’t that what it’s all about, Folks!? Cool vibes vibing with other cool vibes to create exponentially cooler vibes! Something about that song, man, I tell ya! When those first beats begin to emanate from my speakers — I feel a cool, crisp calm caress my entire be-ing… I flow like the whispering breeze through the trees of Infinity.
“Waiting in a car… waiting for a ride in the dark… the night city grows… look at the horizon glow… waiting in a car… waiting for a ride in the dark… drinking in the lights… following the neon lights… waiting for a word… looking at the milky skyline… the city is my church… it wraps me in its blinding twilight…”
Only the best vibes, Fam! ∞♥∞