May 03, 2003

Various Artists "Yes New York"

I'll admit that I've been quite blah about this whole "new rock" movement; it seems that every rock and/or roll band in New York City has become quite beloved, even if the band isn't all that great. True, it's a personal taste thing, and while I'm not going to say that such music is bad or inferior or whatever, I'm going to say that bands such as the Strokes, Interpol, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs just really don't do it for me.

Though I disagree with the folks at Vice Records, who consider Yes New York to be the "definitive statement of the New York Scene"-- that honor belongs to Arena Rock's massive This is Next Year--this is still a pretty good little collection. Yes New York (named in tribute to Brian Eno's legendary collection of the no-wave scene, No New York) contains songs old and new from many of the bands you'd excpect--The Strokes (with a live version of "New York Cops"), Interpol, The Rapture, and Calla--as well as newer, lesser-known acts, such as The Fever, The Roger Sisters, and The Witnesses. (Boy those New York kids sure love their definite articles!)

Personally, I'm fond of the Le Tigre remix "Decepticon," with its fun disco beat, Kathleen Hanna's disco-diva singing (including a generous 'borrowing' of Barry Mann's "Who Put the Bomp?") and clever lyrics (did I hear correctly, did she sing "your lyrics are dumb like a linolium floor?") all add up to make a wonderful song. I'm also fond of ex-Texas boys Secret Machines' previously released "What Used to Be French," The Rapture's "Olio," and, heck, even the Yeah Yeah Yeah's alter-ego the Unitard's sad acoustic closer, "Year To Be Hated."

Though I'm still not convinced about some of the bands on Yes New York, all in all I've got to say that it's been a fun listening experience. If you've not heard the This is Next Year comp, I recommend you get it, and put all three on your stereo, as Yes New York certainly serves as an excellent companion piece. Yes New York also is a benefit record for a most interesting New York-based organization, Musicians on Call, who you should check out.

--Joseph Kyle

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