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New York City Buzzz by Jeff Rey with contributors:
Malcolm Sane, Michele Falk, Bonnie Tagate
© 2004 NEON, blue door productions
All rights reserved
The Break-Up
A new band featuring the core of Girl Harbor
Update: Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Not only was the past year Busy Busy Busy for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, it looks like they aren’t about to slow things down for 2004. Karen O, Brian Chase and Nick Zinner have been more or less on a constant touring schedule since Fever To Tell (Interscope) hit the streets. And even long before that release was a reality, the “hip” music media, both here and especially abroad, were spurting out the accolades. Now even the staid, old New York Times has named Fever To Tell the LP of 2003 and they’ve been nominated for a Grammy. Finishing up an exhaustive Pacific tour this past fall through Japan and Australia (including a show in Sydney where Karen O managed to fall off the stage – which barely led to them skipping a beat) it was back to America for more. After an amazing show at the Hammerstein here in New York to kick off the New Year, the trio took a quick hop over to the west coast to play the Troubador in L.A. Then its on to dates in Canada before venturing into Heartland, USA for a string of shows and back again to the west coast to finish out March. Whew! What’s next guys?
Update: The Strokes
While we were freezing our butts off here in New York City, after a jaunt through the UK and Europe, and after celebrating the New Year with a concert in Las Vegas, the Strokes were touring Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia further heating up those already toasty environs with selections from Room on Fire and of course Is This It. They also picked up two NME Award nominations for Best New Album and Best International Band along the way. The ceremony is scheduled to take place in London in mid-February. Following "12:51,"  "Reptilia" b/w "Modern Girls & Old Fashioned Men" should be out as the second single off of Room On Fire by the time you read this with the video following shortly. As of press time, The Strokes were planning a mid-March to mid-May eight week U.S. tour.
New York City Seen
February/March 2004
Just shortly after we featured Girl Harbor in our Summer ’03 issue, that punk ‘n roll outfit started to pull back from the NYC club scene. Was it something we said? In truth, we loved singer Jimmy Spoiler’s brash stage bravado and Jeff Mensch’s trashy, blues-sparked guitar and along with their fans lamented the apparent demise of one of this city’s more exciting bands. Now the core of Girl Harbor (Spoiler, Mensch and drummer Greg Altman) have combined with Allie K. of the Blue 88’s on keyboard and bass man Jay H. and answer to the name The Break-Up. The new band premiered at the Mercury Lounge at the end of January and at press time were about to release She Went Black a 5-song CD. They’ve tipped us that long months of rehearsing new songs and the infusion of new blood has led to an all new sound – which we can’t wait to hear. Look for more on The Break-Up in our next issue. ..
Gal about downtown Kerri Black continues to host some of the most fascinating shows in NYC (recent samples: Aerovox, Benzos, Scout and Go Station at Sin-é; Orange Park and Aerial Love Feed at the Mercury Lounge) and has added innovative touches such as her very hip version of all ages shows at Arlene’s Grocery (a recent Saturday afternoon event featured the Inevitable Breakups, Hurry-Up Offense and Coppermine). Now her STRIKE! parties at Tribeca are back, kicking it off on February 20th with The Fashion, The Good North, Aerial Love Feed and master DJ Brian Molloy. Details on all of Kerri’s events can be found at … And speaking of putting on a show, Jasper Coolidge recently hosted his own jenyk/dot/com event at Sin-é with Omaha’s pride, Tilly and the Wall headlining (go to to see Jasper’s copious collection of live band shots and his on-going chronicle of the local music scene). This of course in addition to the Vicious nights and other events at the same venue he continues to co-host with fellow blogger Audrey of … and speaking of putting on a show, how about a TV show? Cool music on TV? What a concept! That’s the idea behind Fearless TV which recently debuted on Manhattan cable’s Channel 35 (from whence, once upon a time NEON TV also emitted highly excited cathode rays). It premiered with the Everyothers, the Twenty Twos, Aerial Love Feed, Scout, the King of France, the Giraffes and Billionaire Boys Club. Many more of the very cool groups you also see featured in NEON are scheduled for future shows. Fearless TV airs on Mondays at 8:30PM. More info and program schedules at Somebody tape it for me!
Band Notes: Aerovox emerged as the 2nd prize winner and sole rock band left standing at the end of M.E.A.N.Y. Fest 2003 so congrats to our last issue’s talented cover boys are in order … Australian garage rockers The Vines’ new album Winning Days is officially out late in March, but album track “FTW” got an early release both digitally and as a 7” single at select locations. Once again produced by Rob Schnapf, the group recorded this, their second effort, at the Bearsville Studios in Woodstock … Fans of Ambulance (LTD) will be happy to know that a full length album debut is coming in April. After completing recording in London with producer Jim Abbiss (Bjork, Placebo), the band has been touring with the likes of Guided By Voices, Suede and Placebo. A nationwide tour is planned for Spring 2004 … Since renaming their group the Minors, Ben Carroll and his band have been gigging all over this city and elsewhere as the final mastering of their recently recorded album continues with a release date expected sometime this month ... Besides appearing on Manhattan cable's Fearless TV as mentioned above, Billionaire Boys Club can also be heard on VH1. The new show Best Week Ever has been using the band's upbeat "Don't You Wanna" for on-air promos ... No sooner did New York City Buzzz complain about the Wayward Saints lack of club appearences than they were back out there again with recent shows at the Mercury Lounge and Arlene's Grocery. John Washburn continues to also play guitar with Public, bassist Bick continues to record with Clara Venus and Tom Collins can be found behind the drum kit at HotSocky's shows. We have no further complaints ... Jen Schwartz tells us NYC is about to be changed from hipster cool to hard rock heaven with bands like Eve to Adam, SED, the Cringe Band and Social Hero. RocknRoll Scene (  hosts these bands and others at CBGB Feb. 26 and 28 ... Sweden's The Sounds are at Irving Plaza on Feb. 24. They feature a (surprise!) blonde songstress up front and have been compared to another group led by a platinum-tressed chanteuse - Blondie ... Queen's based Bona Roba just released a limited edition CD that has a bluesy early Stones meet Ramones feel and we'll have more on 'em next time.
This issue of NEON has photo features on the return of Wheatus to the Luna Lounge, the enticing all-female group Boobytrap, the tale of punk band Stupid’s car wreck and another look at Earlymay – who continue to be the rock band for the thinking man. In Quick Cuts we listen to recent releases from the Everyothers, the Inevitable Breakups, Coppermine and Boston’s Diabolix … plus lots of on-stage photos in our NYC Seen and HotNites/CoolNites sections – and there’s more too, so take a look around for news and pix on the hottest groups gigging in NYC …
The Strokes - sun, surf, singles and some more touring ...
Karen O at the Bowery Ballroom, April 2003
Photo: Audrey Levy - courtesy of
This is serious stuff, so listen up. I had just posted this issue of
NEON and was looking through the tasty gossip on Page Six of the NY Post when I got the mailing from the Luna Lounge’s Rob Sacher about a “new NYC government proposal (that) will very seriously effect the ability of Luna Lounge and other live music venues to stay open for your entertainment.” And there it was laid out in the Post before me. Mayor Mike and his minions in their continuing war against this city’s long tradition of being the nightlife capitol of the world are proposing that clubs pay for a special license to stay open beyond 1 A.M. They also propose substantial fines, closures and assorted other threats. Mike’s mouthpieces contend that the number of noise complaints have risen sharply. Uh, Mayor Mike, noise complaints are up in the vicinity of clubs because you idiotically forced people out of bars and into the streets to legally smoke before thinking about the obvious consequences. In addition – that restriction also forced clubs to raise drink prices to make up for the drop in business the ban had caused. He’s also devised all sorts of clever fines against long-time mom and pop businesses and won’t be satisfied until this city is just a  squeaky clean sprawl of Gaps, Starbucks, Pizza Huts and Disney stores that rolls up the sidewalk just after midnight. Enough of this mad multi-millionaire. The Luna’s Sacher provided a link to City Affairs Commissioner Gretchen Dykstra who is pushing the proposals for Hizzasshole. I reprint it here in the hope that you agree that the people of the “city that never sleeps” should have somewhere to go while they’re awake. Voice your opinions to the city at:
- Jeff Rey