Another case in point: Friends. (Could a band name be more dull?) The best song on their album Manifest is the first one, "Friend Crush," but the album never reaches such heights again. There's an appealing minimalist approach to this music even when the percussion sounds busy (much like TV on the Radio) but there are so few melodies to latch onto that the experience is not engaging. The BBC thinks Friends are hot and their song "Mind Control" a "life-changer." Maybe in 1980. Not now.
Bands have moved to Brooklyn since forever ago. In the 1970s and '80s, especially, artists moved there in droves. Rent was cheap and rehearsal space was plentiful in Brooklyn. But that's not necessarily the case anymore. So why would a band set up shop there? Part of the answer, of course, is to be part of the scene. But what if Van Wyngarden is correct about the Brooklyn scene? What if there's no "there" there and the bland tunes are but a reflection of this emptiness?
Let us begin 2013 in earnest. Let us label things correctly: New Brooklyn music is becoming sterile, empty; cerebral without being engaging; enamored of gadgetry, found sounds and sampling but bereft of a blood pulse to invigorate it all. There is no wonder in this music, no sense of discovery beyond the initial thrill of accidental gimmickry. Did these people toss their souls into the East River as they lugged their gear across the Williamsburg Bridge? Countless other bands have already made better versions of this same music. Why are we revisiting it?
A decade hence, there will be retrospectives and ruminations and Rolling Stone articles about the significance of the New Brooklyn movement – and these retro ruminations will be wrong. The movement no longer has any significance.
Please: No more bands from Brooklyn.
Photo credit: Wikipedia