Yes New York

Yes New York

Various Artists

Wolfgang Morden/VICE

Referring to Brian Eno’s seminal 1978 No New York compilation, Yes New York makes it painfully obvious how little has changed over the course of the last 25 years, NY’s late-’70s art-school, pre-punk scene being recovered and rejuvenated in various forms and shapes by everyone from The Strokes to Interpol, and a new audience discovering the eclectic vibrancy of urban hipster rock.

The first five songs on here underscore this point perfectly — once The Strokes, Radio 4, The Rogers Sisters, Ted Leo/Pharmacists and The Fever have all made their points, you begin to wonder if nothing happened since 1976. Thankfully, the Longwave come along. Although they’re shit, they deserve kudos for not referencing Television in every note they play. And when the wonderful Calla follow right after, you finally realize that New York Rock today isn’t as easy to pigeonhole as albums like this initially seem to suggest.

If anything can be said of NY rock today, apart from the fact that it leans heavily towards the late ’70s/early ’80s, it’s that its confident arrogance is both annoyingly posturing and wonderfully fascinating. The Strokes, for all their pretty-boy, middle-class retro-treading, do have a strong presence to them that signifies a lot of what’s good about this ‘scene.’ It’s an arrogance that never looses its cool, yet it self-confidently pulls you in with a sense of (make-believe) mystery and danger. It’s grating, but it’s endearing too, as Yes New York convincingly shows.

Most of the tracks on here are already available, and the two exclusive tracks alone are no reason to get this. The live version of The Strokes’ “New York City Cops” is fun enough but nothing really special, while the only interesting thing about Unitard’s “Year To Be Hated” is that the band consists of Karen O and Nick Zinner, who would eventually go on to form Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

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