Tokyo Damage Report

DOES NEW YORK HAVE ANY GOOD ROCK BANDS BESIDES RAMONES?

"Fuck all the critics in the N-Y-C
Who wants to rock the microphone after me? "
– Ice Cube
 

 

I was thinking the other day how much I hate all those NYC bands that critics think of as ‘punk’ : Patti Smith, talking heads, television, Richard hell, Johnny thunders. Who the fuck besides critics has ever listened to any of that shit? If your only claim to fame is, "I was more hip  and edgy than Rick Springfield and Peaches and Herb" – that is not something to crow about, my friend!
 
I guess Talking Heads might have had a hit, I don’t really keep track of stuff like that.
 
But still. All those bands are wimpy crap, but are even more crap because they are supposed to have something to do with punk. What’s next, is some douchebag with a SPIN article in his resume going to say that ELO invented punk? Anyway I am – thankfully- not here to have a debate about  "What is punk?" I ain’t even gonna go near the event horizon of that shit.
 
Here is my point: After realizing all those bands are retarded, I tried to think of other NYC bands that were NOT retarded. Ramones, of course. And the Ramones. And. . .well, there’s the Ramones. Oh, can’t forget the Ramones. That’s all I came up with. Ramones and um well.
 
I  done suprised myself!
 
I never had anything against NYC. I love east-coast rap. So why can’t I think of any NYC rock bands I like?
 
Sonic Youth? No. Another band you only like because you have been told you have to like them to be hip. Swans? OK, you got the Swans. Can’t fuck with the heaviest band in the world. Swans and Ramones. But even then, Swans I honestly haven’t listened to in 10 years. I am not man enough. How about NYxHC? Cro-Mags and agnostic front? Terrible! What the hell??? Chugga-chugga crossover crap. Youth of Today? Why? You can see their ex-members now at some dive bar trying to impress some chick, "You know sweatshirts with hoods? We invented that shit, baby! Hoods! You can put them up or leave them down for that free-and-easy feeling! Would you care for another Mojito?"
 
Reagan Youth! Yes.  I assumed they were from DC – not because I dislike NYC punk, but because I simply assumed that they were Reagan’s wacky neighbor. Like he’d go out to get the paper and find a bunch of trash in his yard and a dead dog. And he’d be like “Reagan Youuuuuth!!!” and shake his fist. But it turns out they are the only good NYC hardcore band.  OK. So now that gives me Ramones, Reagan Youth, and Swans. Who else? Billy Joel? Joel’s first album- ATILLA – was rad, but after that he was awful – going from rad to shit within one album. It was like a shit shift of Die Kreuzen proportions.
 
Barbra Streisand? Never liked her. Barry Manilow? Liked him a little – he had around four good songs. Copacabana of course, and Mandy, but also Can’t Smile Without You and the insanely heavy Latin breakdown in New York City Rhythm.(@3:24)
 
 

 

 
Oh and plus the insane arrangements of American Bandstand.
 
But "I Write The Songs" is crap. Always was crap. The only interesting thing about it, is that he DIDN’T write the song! He bought it from a professional songwriter. He tried to defend it by saying, “No, I didn’t mean, I, Barry Manilow, wrote the song, the ‘I’ of the song’s title refers to music itself, personified. Music is saying that he writes songs.” If only Vanilla Ice was so philosophical when he tried to explain how his infamous bassline was different than Queen. He should of just said, “Who cares? It’s only Queen.”
 
 How about False Prophets? No, they only had the one good song from that comp : ("Never Again, Again"). How about Ludichrist? No, they ALSO only had one good song – the cover version of "Barber of Seville." 
 
 

 
 
 
Velvet Underground? I guess at the time they were a good antidote to the peace and love, but 20 years after hearing their shit, only 2 songs pass the test of time: "waiting for my man" and "white light/white heat." That’s 3 less good songs than Barry, if you are into math.
 
A.O.D.?  swell! But again, there’s only 2 really essential songs: their punk cover of the Masterpiece Theatre theme, and the song BUGS – but even Bugs is only essential because of the genius lyric, “To arms! To arms! We only have two arms!”
 

 
Of course, the less said about electroclash  or the white stripes, the better. Anthrax was never good. Suffocation is one of those bands where it’s fun to listen to ONCE, just to trip out on how complex the music is, and then never listen to again, because – like all death metal – they have no idea how to write actual SONGS. 4 bars of this! 4 bars of nearly-identical other riff! 4 bars of some other shit that not even our fans know what we are playing! 4 bars of a breakdown! Time for some solos!They Might Be Giants? They might be a band which is kind of sad. Maybe if they played Suffocation cover-tunes (or vice versa), it could be rad. But when even NPR’s Science Friday makes fun of you, you’re so nerd that you should stop what you’re doing, put down the accordion, and listen to some Westside Connection until you get a little gangsta.
 
Now I’m starting to scare myself – are there really only 3 good bands from NYC, ever? What about the sixties? Seventies? I swear I don’t hate the place, I just never thought about where bands were from.  Anybody out there – tell me! Who is your favorite NYC band? Convince me there are more then 3 good bands/singer-songwriters from there since 1950.
 
 

 

19 comments Tags:

19 Comments so far

  1. Don October 25th, 2009 6:39 pm

    No mention of Jon Spencer or Blues Explosion?

  2. Troy Polamalu October 25th, 2009 6:53 pm

    I saw Alice Donut in Chapel Hill NC 1995 w/ Nomeansno. Great show,I got a few records and Ive been a fan ever since.

  3. Narcoleptic October 25th, 2009 7:45 pm

    How quickly you forget the Spin Doctors.

    Seriously, there’s plenty of NYC acts I like, though off the top of my head, most are hip-hop. NYC hardcore did suck, but then again I’m from California, so I WOULD think that. I liked the Talking Heads okay, but my first Talking Heads record belonged to my parents, which should tell you something about how punk they were.

  4. Whoah... October 25th, 2009 8:30 pm

    Holy shit! Somebody actually LIKES Alice Donut? Will wonders never cease?!

    But seriously, NYC sucks rock-wise. Always has. Fuck the Talking Heads, in fact, fuck those guys twice. They can share the second one with Television (Q: Overrated? A: Overrated!). Don’t even get me started on Patti Smith. Also overrated? Nausea. Oh yeah.

    All that being said, Wreckage were an excellent NYC band. Only one demo, which was put out as a 7″ by a Euro label some years ago but still, there’s one for you. Perdition are an alright current band from NYC as well. Japan does that style better, but those dudes are trying hard and doing pretty okay with it.

  5. Miles October 25th, 2009 11:09 pm

    Well Blondie and Blue Oyster Cult at least deserve a mention.
    And how can you forget the hottest band in the land… KISS!

  6. admin October 25th, 2009 11:23 pm

    @miles: yeah, blondie is a pretty rad band for karaoke. BOC I honestly don’t know anything about.

    Kiss. . . i’m planning to mention them in a future post, which will have nothing to do with them.

    @troy : oh yeah! you are on the money, my man! Alice Donut is one of the classic bands. “video preacher screaming out my mass/ i got a Jackson Pollack tattoo on my ass / I got a new Trans Am, I’m so fucking cool / got Jimmy Hoffa floating in my swimming pool”, shit i can recite those lyrics from memory. It took me a while to figure out that “jackson pollack tattoo” means a birthmark.

    @Don : oh shit! Yeah, blues explosion. Not sure if they’re “good”-good. Drummer Richard Simmins is hella rad – one of those guys where there’s more off-beat notes than on-beat notes!! and the singer’s voice is cool, but the guitar parts sound wimpy and rolling stonsey and not cool. But they definitely get points for mentioning their name in every song. Full grown! Get down!

  7. megane-kun October 26th, 2009 6:08 am

    Urban Waste is good. If you think it sucks, well you suck too.

  8. Crazy Chocolate October 26th, 2009 7:57 am

    NYC does lay claim to The Bad Brains and Born Against were pretty bad ass. The Devils Dogs, maybe?

  9. Darkclown October 26th, 2009 9:44 am

    I have to add Kill you idols, the band that got me into hardcore all together

  10. Drunkengoth October 26th, 2009 10:26 am

    Dude. good bands from new york?
    Type O Negative(doom metal) and The Dead Boys(actual punk) for starters.

  11. fizgig October 26th, 2009 10:55 am

    dude, Liquid Liquid is from New York. Free Kitten I like. Bush Tetras, Mars, DNA and Teenage Jesus (Lydia Lunch solo not so much). Especially DNA, which was Arto Lindsay’s band.

    are Royal Trux from NYC?

  12. admin October 26th, 2009 4:11 pm

    @all: urban waste? kill your idols? Wreckage? born against? The f-f-frikkin’ dead boys?!?
    man, why are you kids saying all these off-brand, no-name bands and you don’t say PLASMATICS??
    I tell you the truth, my friends: the first draft of that rant had PLASMATICS featured alongside ramones, but i deliberately took the PLASMATICS out as a test. as a test! To see who would represent and speak up for real rock and roll. (sigh).

  13. Keith McX October 26th, 2009 9:05 pm

    SWANS

  14. Troy Polamalu October 27th, 2009 4:03 am

    I got a yeast infection from Wendy O. back in the day. The strange part is Ima dude.

  15. Crazy Chocolate October 27th, 2009 8:25 am

    Handsome Dick Manitoba Vs Wendy O. Hmmm?
    But what’s really the point right, SWANS
    And I am the sun I rise above the world And when the light goes out I kill another child And I am insane I crawl into your mouth I grow like a flowerI grow a suicideAnd I am the sunAnd I am the lightAnd I am the sunYeah I am the light
    And I am the dogI cut out my eyesYeah I will nullifyMy true love creationAnd I am the sunI love everyone
    I live inside your chestI grow like a cancerAnd I am the sunAnd I am the lightYeah I am the sun
    Yeah I am the light I love everyone
    I love everyone

  16. fizgig October 27th, 2009 10:34 am

    Unfortunately, Plasmatics sort of lack the punk credibility that makes people willing to admit they like them. don’t underestimate the influence of the punk-elitists

  17. admin October 27th, 2009 5:23 pm

    @troy: yeah, you’re right. It IS really strange that you’rea dude.
    @ everyone who said SWANS: fuck yes.

  18. fzgig November 5th, 2009 10:42 am

    Just thought of another one: ESG.
    the most sampled of all Bronx based bands…

  19. Miles November 14th, 2009 4:29 am

    Around 1981 – 82 NYC had one of the fiercest hardcore punk bands. I had their EP.

    They were called Beastie Boys… heard of ’em?

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