Purple Magazine
— F/W 2008 issue 10


Here are a few of the current players,
chosen for us by PAMELA LOVE and

More than a scene, BROOKLYN is a crossroads where musicians meet in what seems like the hundreds, to see old friends and meet new ones, to hang out, to record, to start new bands or quit others, and maybe even fall in love before taking off on another tour.It’s like a laboratory for mixing genres of music. Journalists tend to see socio-musical revolutions where there aren’t any: we’ve had freak-folk and nu-rave and, most recently, the advent of what newspapers are calling “Brooklyn alternative.” But the only way to categorize the musicians captured on the following pages is uncategorizable. Many of them do, in fact, live in Brooklyn, but others are based in L.A., and most are scattered across the globe on tours at any given moment. With influences ranging from straightforward blues (Langhorne Slim) to a through-the-looking-glass mindfuck of psychedelic folk-rock, classical, hip-hop, and Africana (Dirty Projectors), they certainly don’t sound alike, nor can they all be said to share a penchant for haphazard genre hopping. They aren’t associated with skinny jeans or neon-silkscreened leisure wear; they won’t immortalize a particular haircut. They aren’t even necessarily “indie” (MGMT and TV On The Radio are on major labels). All that can be said about them, really, is that they each do their own thing, and they all seem to know each other. And that in the music world something — whatever it may be — is in the air, and the artists in this tangled web are at least partially responsible. Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, a rising garage-blues balladeer, had his upcoming album produced by Kyp Malone, a singer-guitarist in TV On The Radio and a solo artist in his own right. (Lately, everyone seems to have a side project.) Chris Bear, the drummer of Grizzly Bear — like Dirty Projectors, a Brooklyn band with lo-fi roots and high Pitchfork ratings — played drums on Robinson’s album. Bear’s band spent part of the summer opening for Radiohead; so did Natasha Khan of Bat For Lashes, who makes spectral, neo-primitivist songs from a seaside house in Brighton. It was through her friend Devendra Banhart — the apparent nucleus of this informal network — that she met her Brooklyn-based boyfriend, Will Lemon, who plays music in the equally difficult-to-classify band Moon and Moon and is also a visual artist, like Khan and Banhart and many of the others photographed here. One of Lemon’s roommates at the infamous “Vietnam house” in South Williamsburg, the producer-engineer Matt Boynton, laid down Khan’s forthcoming sophomore release at his Vacation Island studios, where rock legend Evan Dando recorded the Lemonheads’ comeback album under the production guidance of Gibby Haynes, the former Butthole Surfers frontman, who also paints and DJs. In the neighborhood are synth-pop mischief-makers MGMT, who recorded their debut with the Flaming Lips’ producer, and their former tourmates Yeasayer, whose portentous songs fuse psych-rock with traditional Middle Eastern melodies. Meanwhile, drummer Greg Rogove of Priestbird recently decamped for L.A. to start a new band, Megapuss, with Banhart, who lives in a log cabin in Topanga Canyon and hangs out with the all-female dream-folk quartet Warpaint (actress Shannyn Sossamon is the drummer) and indie trio Moonrats, whose commune-like Silverlake house is the stuff of local legend. Both regularly play the Silverlake Lounge, but when they want their eardrums blown out, they head to the Smell, a grimy all-ages club in downtown L.A. — its most famous recent export is noise-pop duo No Age, another of the year’s breakout bands. And on it goes. As the major-label starmaking system continues to crumble, a million little ideas are sprouting up in its ruins. It’s a good time to be making new music, and a good time to be listening. Just don’t call it a scene.

[Table of contents]

F/W 2008 issue 10

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