New York: Arguably the greatest city for music on earth. Here we take a look at 50 of its best artists. Who else to start with but these guys? As New York as the Empire State Building, The Strokes played their first ever gigs at the Lunar Lounge and Mercury Lounge before releasing now-legendary debut album “Is This It?”
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David Bryne, Chris Frantz and his girlfriend Tina Weymouth all shared an apartment. They formed the band Talking Heads as a trio and played their first gig at CBGBs in June 1975. It wasn’t until Jerry Harrison joined that they became internationally recognised, building on their impressive reputation in New York.
The Rapture started their post-punk, indie exploits in 1998. The band has seen many members come and go, with lead singer Luke Jenner quitting only to return. The band initially tried their luck in the eastern cities of San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle. It wasn’t until they took one last shot in New York that the band prospered.
Since forming in 2007 Vampire Weekend have released three albums, two of which have reached number one in the US album charts. They announced their most recent album by tweeting from their official twitter account “NYT Classifieds…”, where, under the Notices & Lost and Found Section, five lines read “Modern Vampires of the City May 7, 2013”.
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Battles is an experimental rock group founded in New York in 2002, currently consisting of Ian Williams (guitarist/keyboardist), Dave Konopka (guitarist/bassists) and John Stanier (drummer). The band’s first full-length album ‘Mirrored’, released in May 2007, included the track ‘Atlas’ which was voted single of the week by NME.
Formed in 1981, the Beastie Boys’ original line-up of MCs Michael ‘Mike D’ Diamond, Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch and Adam ‘Ad-Rock’ Horovitz are all from New York. The band played their very first gigs back in the ’80s, supporting the likes of the Dead Kennedys and the Misfits at venues such as CBGBs in Manhatten.
Chicago born Patti Smith performed her first gigs like so many others at CBGBs. Despite Smith using New York to find fame, fortune and as well as obtaining her “Godmother of Punk” status, she now believes: “New York has closed itself off to the young and the struggling… New York City has been taken away from you. So my advice is: Find a new city.”
The Dirty Projectors, based in the Brooklyn area of New York, started creating music in 2002 and already have 6 albums to their name. When preparing to record the album ‘Swing Lo Magellan’, David Lonstreth travelled to a more peaceful retreat in upstate New York to write.
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Behind the make-up, the extravagant clothes and the outrageous on stage antics are four mere humans (Gene Simmons , Paul Stanley, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer) who played their first gig as Kiss on 30th January 1973 at New York’s Popcorn Club (renamed Coventry). Almost nobody turned up.
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The Walkmen and its members were based both in New York City and Philadelphia. Initially unsure about being associated with New York’s music scene, they came to be seen as one of the city’s key contemporary bands. Lead singer Hamilton Leithauser said: “Our biggest accomplishment is just being here”.
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Steely Dan originated from Annandale-on-Hudson in the city of New York. The band is centred around its two members, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, who met in Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson. It is thought their signature style has been influenced by the city’s multiple jazz radio stations and the music scene in New York.
Here We Go magic’s self-titled debut album was entirely written and recorded by frontman Luke Temple. It wasn’t until he was invited to tour with fellow New York band Grizzly Bear that he needed to throw a band together. Nowadays Here We Go Magic also includes Michael Bloch and Peter Hale.
Brooklyn based band Chairlift’s origins can be traced back to Boulder in Colorado. The duo of Caroline Polachek and Aaron Pfenning initially intended to make background music for haunted houses. The band, were a trio for three years when Patrick Wimberly joined only for Pfenning to leave to pursue his solo project ‘Rewards’.