Earlier this week, Chris Richards, the “pop” music critic of the Washington Post, wrote a short guide to experiencing live music in the nation’s capital. Yet the article’s understated point was about the importance of independent venues that promote local music outside of the rarified air served by corporate national interests, star touring acts, and global streaming services. It outlined how “local scenes” exist in a city like D.C., which sadly makes Richards an outlier, a music writer at a major American daily in a major American city who consistently promotes local artists and causes.
New York City, supposedly a global arts and media center, does not have the “luxury” of a critic/journalist/beat-reporter at any of its print outlets, mass-reader websites, or on its mass-audience public radio stations, who actively and regularly covers local music. The people who are doing the daily work there focus more broadly. They write to a national audience or about national acts, cover local artists only after these have reached a fevered critical pitch, or investigate local music issues that involve bigger stories or mass capital. Some who write about “local music” do not actually live in New York. It adds a layer of despair to the city’s musicker community, leaving almost no way for musicians to make their work known outside of their social media feeds, or discovery by those already in-the-(musical)-know.
This was one of the reasons for creating Bklyn Sounds at Bklyner, not at an arts- or music-centric outlier publication, but next to other local news that sews together the social fabric of a neighborhood. It is sad that this experiment — which feedback from readers and musicians has proven to be successful — must today come to an end. But those musickers whose tastebuds were peaked or renewed by Bklyn Sounds, should know that there are resources for new music and local events and local artists. Whether that is an event list like NYC Noise who focus on local artist and spaces; local publications like New York City Jazz Record or Love Injection whose writing and reviews investigate music by local musicians; or hyperlocal internet broadcasters such as The Lot Radio and HalfMoon whose DJs live in your neighborhood and know the best music there.
Maybe at some point Bklyn Sounds will continue to add its distinctive point of view on what is happening in Brooklyn - or in all of New York. (Scroll down if you want to see how you can stay in touch.) That’s not the same as having a daily newspaper reporter, but it’s better than nothing. Thank you Liena for publishing. And thank you readers for reading.
Please keep on listening and keep on dancing.
Our Picks 9/10-16
Calling all Brooklyn dancers, and those who want to join them! This weekend offers an abundance of riches and opportunities — all free or inexpensive — to engage with the dancefloor community, in crowds both big and small.
Friday (9/10) offers one of those evenings where you want to be in many places at once.
Early evening, join in the folks behind the Peer Pressure and Sweet Kicks parties who will set up the Karlala Sound System, sound man Karl Scholz’s wonderful mobile audio creation, in Vale of Cashmere, a northeastern corner of Prospect Park, for the kind of pop-up dance party that originally inspired Bklyn Sounds. Guaranteed that the excellent DJs - Miss Alicia, Tiffdot and That Matt — will play a lovely mix of house-disco-soul-techno for the masses. (off Flatbush Ave, 6p, Free but donations recommended)
As the sun sets, walk south to the Prospect Park Bandshell for Celebrate Brooklyn’s best dance-bill of the summer. The featured performance is the premiere of a piece called “Trapped” by Passion Fruit, an NYC-based street dance company with music by Detroit producer Saadiq Bolden. But the big bonus is the DJs before and after, two of Brooklyn’s treasured public dance-party crews, Soul Summit and St. James Joy. Hands in the air, by the young and old. (Prospect Park West @ 9th St., 7:30p, Free)
Still going? There’s two ravishing, late-night Brooklyn-centric options to dance til the sunrise.
In Greenpoint, the Good Room, a cornerstone of the Bk club scene, finally reopens its doors. (Shamefully, without any help from the federal government’s nightlife assistance program.) Opening night offers a great trio of local musicker-DJs: the disco-house vocalist turned selector (and occasional Hercules And Love Affair member) Kim Ann Foxman, the Detroit-to-Brooklyn transplant Lauren Flax, and Jadalareign, whose mixes of Black-diaspora rhythms go bang! (98 Meserole St., 9p, $15)
Another indestructible all-BK bill at Nowadays, on the border of Bushwick and Ridgewood, features a pair of veterans of the city’s dancefloor wars: Ge-ology, famed downtempo/hip-hop producer who over the past decade emerged as among the city’s most consistently excellent DJs, and DJ Lindsey, whose early-00s Meatpacking District parties are legend, and whose Black is Black radio show is headed there. This will be fire! (56-06 Cooper Ave., $20, 10p)
If you are ready for more on Saturday (9/11 - hard to even type it), the recently reopened Friend and Lovers in Crown Heights has an excellent low-key, hard boogie for you.
“Shake!" Flea Market Funk’s DJ Prestige and the homey Monk-One’s soul party, hosts Skeme Richards, a Philly funk (mostly) 45s selector whose rare records back-up every last boast with a much better one; not to mention a tight bassline. This is for the lovable record nerds, and their significant others. (641 Classon Ave., 10p, $5)
End the weekender back in Prospect Park, under the sun, at a classic! Sunday (9/12) will mark the 28th Annual of Lil Ray’s Clubhouse Jamborees, which makes it the longest continuously running, free afternoon dance party in New York City!
What was once a small house-music get-together at the Music Pagoda, has grown into an event that the Parks Department and NYPD deem a major event, which is why Ray has a GoFundMe site that you should contribute to before coming down. The DJs are great, but the atmosphere is the reason to go. (off Ocean & Flatbush Avenues, 2p, Free, but please donate)
Or maybe you wanna end the weekend/start the week off with another kind of old favorite. Pretty sure that Sunday will mark the first hometown show that Brooklyn’s long-running indie-rock champions Les Savy Fav have played since 2019.
Go to the recently reopened Market Hotel on the Bushwick/Williamsburg to see if singer Tim Harrington’s stage demeanor has become more low-key during the pandemic. With Heavy Lag opening. (1140 Myrtle Avenue, 8p, $25)
Another hometown favorite returns to the stage on Monday (9/13) when Combo Chimbita arrive in Bushwick, on Elsewhere’s Rooftop, with their latest incarnation of futurist, Afro-Colombian, psychedelic-punk rhythm music.
The quartet has been dropping new singles for a couple of months now, so expect to be introduced to whatever singer Carolina Oliveros’ and her compadres have been conjuring. With Bembona opening. (599 Johnson Ave, 7p, $24)
We’d never be so gauche as to call beloved indie-rock institution Yo La Tengo a “Brooklyn band,” as Hoboken will forever be Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley’s symbolic home. But certainly the group’s other songwriting/multi-instrumentalist linchpin, James McNew, is a Bklyner. I know ‘cause I see him almost daily.
On Tuesday (9/14) and Wednesday (9/15), YLT comes to Bushwick’s TV Eye for a pair of intimate shows that will make those in attendance pine for Maxwell’s. Which should explain the steep ticket price. (1647 Weirfield Street, 8:30p, $45)
You should try to never miss a show by New York’s freewheeling jazz-punk-hip-hop art ensemble, Standing on the Corner, as each “concert” is a happening that’s sonically, visually and socially different from the last.
Thursday’s (9/16) rare pandemic appearance at Elsewhere’s Zone One is billed as part film premiere, part dance troupe performance, and “Inna Trio Stylee.” It will sell out, so don’t delay! I’ll be the one dancing like a loon - with my mask on. (599 Johnson Avenue, 7p, $15)