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are any of these Brooklyn bands "the real deal"?

are any of these Brooklyn bands "the real deal"?
March 09, 2008 06:57PM
I'm 45.

I lived in Manhattan in the early to mid 80's (post-college).

The amount of "new music" emerging during that time was unbelievably solid, and yes I was also a TP subscriber in high school.

20+ years later, Brooklyn is "the new scene", but I guess I just don't 'get it'".

Am I getting old, or will there just not be another perfect storm of "new music"???
Re: are any of these Brooklyn bands "the real deal"?
March 09, 2008 08:42PM
I don't know if Brooklyn is the "new scene," but I know I've heard this sort of complaint/concern before. I think we all have heard it, if not made it our own selves.

Chuck Klosterman is a music journalist who (from what I've read) doesn't get a whole lot of respect on this board. But he wrote something that stuck with me, about the time in his life when everything seemed really exciting and new. That time in Klosterman's life corresponded roughly to the time frame that you're talking about in your life, Meltdown. Klosterman said:


I have come to realize ... that those four or five years (from 20 to 25, roughly) represent the only time when things can seem new. When you're a teenager, you can't appreciate innovation intellectually — everything seems normal, and you take everything for granted. And when you reach 30, you can't enjoy innovation viscerally, because it's impossible not to see how everything is ultimately derivative of something else.... There is a very specific window of time when newness can feel truly authentic, and it's a really amazing moment in your life.

You can read the whole piece by Klosterman here, if this interests you.

Re: are any of these Brooklyn bands "the real deal"?
March 09, 2008 09:02PM
not to beat a tired old nag (or being one) and admittedly ignoring the original question despite being a brooklyn resident, i have to say that the claim "that those four or five years (from 20 to 25, roughly) represent the only time when things can seem new" requires one to presume that one's own lack of curiosity and openness is universal. Can you spell solipsism? I bet Mr. Klosterman can, because that's been the essence of his critical perspective since Fargo Rock City proved his worthlessness as a critic.

What he says may sound reasonable, but "newness" is a self-limiting concept, because in fact very little is ever really new, and the point is to find the imagination and the recontextualization and wit in the world, not the novelty. All he's saying is that when you first wake up and pay attention in your life, things seem new to you. D'oh! And then after you've paid attention a while, they don't. That's a tautological and meaningless observation, because novelty is rarely what makes music important to any of us. It may cause us to pay attention, but newness ain't worth shit if ain't actually good, right?

Personally, i did it the other way, finding the greatness in the undiscovered past and then the excitement of its creative result. I'd been a serious and attentive music freak for more than a dozen years when the new wave hit, and i loved both its freshness and its intrinsic qualities. Like a lot of you, i had my head spun around subsequently by the Reid Brothers and MBV, both of whom had one foot in the familiar and another down their own original path. Seems to me that newness is wherever you hear it, so long as you don't refuse to open your ears.
Re: are any of these Brooklyn bands
March 10, 2008 12:37PM
I've always been at a disadvantage in trying to figure out if the "stuff you liked in high school/college will always be your favorite" theory was true, since in my case that was when punk/post-punk/new wave hit. So how does one decide if you think that was the greatest era in music because it was what was around during your formative years, or do you think it was the greatest era in music because it was, in fact, the greatest era in music?

That said, I still get excited about new stuff. And old stuff that I'm just discovering.

Post Edited (03-10-08 12:55)
Re: are any of these Brooklyn bands "the real deal"?
March 10, 2008 03:20PM
I cheered Ira's post like I cheer a Chuck Berry guitar solo--which is to say I believe every note and agree vehemently. Klost.'s criticism has no subject except subjectivity itself; therefore, he shouldn't try to make universal proclamations for the rest. At 39, a year hasn't gone by where I haven't felt the excitement of discovery, whether it's digging backward or confronting new things head on. There are plenty of marooned music snobs among the critics--but if that's the case, they should retire their keyboards. The more I read, however, I see that there are plenty of critics and listeners alike who have kept their ears on.
Re: are any of these Brooklyn bands "the real deal"?
March 11, 2008 01:31AM
Well, I don't think I'm going to do any better answering Meltdown's original post, but, as I'm turning 38 in a couple of hours, and I've just (randomly) listened to Au Revoir Simone, The National & Stars (3 Brooklyn bands in spirit, right?) I'll offer a slight defense of Mr. Klosterman...

Klosterman is a good writer. He's a better writer than he is a critic. He can be quite funny. I think it's interesting how much Klosterman gets a lot of the same type of flak from music folk as Dave Eggers gets from the literary set (self promoter, loose with facts, self promoter). But I still think Klosterman's been more of a generally music-oriented writer instead of a critic for at least 5 years.

Now, Rob Sheffield? God bless him.
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