Throughout history, many of the world’s greatest works of
art seem to have occurred in clumps.
Painting occurs in movements, music happens in scenes; but whether you are talking about Impressionism in Paris during the late 19th century or Grunge in Seattle during the late 20th century, it’s still the same - certain places seem to vibrate with a unique creative energy at a certain point in time. Unfortunately, it’s often only realized after the fact, and by that time, it’s too late for most to take part.
While the musical explosion currently taking place in Brooklyn may not end up being of historic proportions, it is exciting nevertheless; and luckily, someone has already done something to make people take notice before it’s all over and done with.
This month, the Arena Rock Recording Company, an indie record label located in Greenpoint, released an extensive double-CD compilation titled "This Is Next Year." The CD is comprised of Brooklyn-based bands and it documents some of what is going on in the current Brooklyn music scene.
"The name is a baseball reference," explains Arena Rock co-owner Greg Glover. "In the ’50s, the Dodgers lost to the Yankees a lot in the World Series and every time the headline of the local Brooklyn paper would say ’Wait Until Next Year.’ The year that the Dodgers finally beat the Yankees, instead of saying wait until next year, the headline read ’This Is Next Year.’ When I read that, I thought that it was a perfect name for the comp because it’s a throwback to when Brooklyn beat New York, but it is also forward-looking, saying, ’This is the new music you should be listening to now.’"
And with 42 tracks and well over two hours of music, there is a lot of new stuff on the compilation to listen to. Some of the bands, like They Might Be Giants, Nada Surf, Rainer Maria and Ida, are fairly well known (at least in certain circles), while others, like Enon, Mendoza Line and Mink Lungs, are just starting to catch people’s ears.
"I wanted to get bands where people would say, ’I know that band. I didn’t know they were from Brooklyn,’" says Glover. "But I also wanted to give new, up-and-coming bands who don’t have records out a chance to get noticed."
Anyone who listens to "This Is Next Year" will immediately notice that there is a lot more than just rock ’n’ roll going on in Brooklyn right now. Although the compilation doesn’t contain tracks by any of the borough’s numerous DJs and MCs (another double CD could easily be made of only rap and house), Brooklyn’s folk, country and bluegrass artists are well represented.
One of the best tracks on the compilation is by Laura Cantrell, a Nashville native who surprisingly moved from Music City to the Big Apple to pursue a country music career. Cantrell’s "Cellar Door" is classic Carter Family-esque country, which is a pure joy to hear.
The foot-stompin’, banjo-pickin’, Appalachian sound of "Bound for Brighter Days" by The Bogg’s (whose debut album on Arena Rock is scheduled to come out soon) is another standout.
But don’t go thinking that Brooklyn has gone soft. Les Savy Fav raises the intensity level with an energetic version of "No Sleeves," recorded live at Maxwell’s, while Weeds of Eden, Sean Eden’s Luna side project, contributes the fuzzed-out, guitar-heavy "Radiate." For the most raucous track on the comp, it’s a toss-up between Enon’s cover of Fear’s "New York’s Alright (If You Like Saxophones)" or Grand Mal’s "Hey Man."
"It’s totally over the top," explains Grand Mal frontman Bill Whitten. "We threw everything into that song. It’s super rock."
"This Is Next Year" goes from punk to alt-country to new wave to bluegrass in the space of just a few minutes, but even though the compilation shifts between sounds as many times as a cabbie on the BQE shifts lanes, the album is surprisingly cohesive.
And with so much great music by some of Brooklyn’s best bands, no one in King’s County should need any additional incentive to run out and buy this compilation. But there is another very good reason to shell out a few hard-earned bucks for "This Is Next Year." All the proceeds from the compilation are being donated to benefit the Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition (BARC), a not-for-profit, privately funded, no-kill animal shelter located in Williamsburg for homeless cats and dogs.
"We got involved in the compilation for three reasons," explains Karla Schickele of both Ida and k., her solo project. "One, because we were asked. Two, because we are all big boosters of Brooklyn, and three, because it’s a good cause."
"This is Next Year" (Arena Rock Records, $15.98) can be purchased at Beacon’s Closet [110 Bedford Ave., (718) 486-0816] in Williamsburg. For more info about Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition, call (718) 486-7489 or visit www.barcshelter.org on the Web.
©2001 Community News Group
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