NYMag’s 40 Songs That Define The Brooklyn Sound

Amrit Singh | November 10, 2009 - 9:38 am

Welcome to your music meme of the week. Turns out there are bands in Williamsburg, and New York is all over it. It’s far from the first time our neighborhood’s been dressed up and packaged for a major print publication, but maybe it’s the first time the scene’s been distilled into a playlist everybody can argue about. The criteria for inclusion on this list isn’t explicitly stated, beyond the “A highly subjective ranking of the songs that define the sound of right now” subheader. And subjective it is: Passing through its 40 tracks and 39 artists (“Knife” and “Two Weeks” are by the same band, after all), it seems there wasn’t much criteria at all: an artist could call Brooklyn home, but also just have just visited (see: Neon Indian). A song could have been released in 2009, but also three years ago (see: the aforementioned “Knife”). But before we jump down NY Mag’s throats about their fuzzy parameters, it sort of fits with what passes for the Brooklyn scene now, a neighborhood of transplants and myriad genres that share little in common aside from a 11211 postal code. Although that won’t stop the mag from framing their top pick as its focal point. After all that we’ve been through, I know you’ll guess it.

40 Light Asylum – “Angel Tongue”
39 Oakley Hall – “All the Way Down”
38 Here We Go Magic – “Fangela”
37 Apache Beat – “Tropics”
36 Bishop Allen – “Click, Click, Click, Click”
35 White Rabbits – “Percussion Gun”
34 Japanther – “Challenge”
33 Class Actress – “All The Saints”
32 Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – “The Debtor”
31 Ninjasonik – “Art School Girls”
30 Antibalas – “Beaten Metal”
29 Black Dice – “Glazin'”
28 The Antlers – “Kettering”
27 Panda Bear – “Comfy In Nautica”
26 The National – “Mistaken For Strangers”
25 Amazing Baby – “The Narwhal”
24 St. Vincent – “Actor Out Of Work”
23 Neon Indian – “Deadbeat Summer”
22 Matt & Kim – “Daylight”
21 Grizzly Bear – “Knife”
20 Suckers – “Beach Queen”
19 Sharon Jones And The Dap Kings – “100 Days, 100 Nights”
18 The Drums – “I Feel Stupid”
17 A Place To Bury Strangers – “To Fix The Gash In Your Head”
16 Chairlift – “Bruises”
15 Telepathe – “Chrome’s On It”
14 Crystal Stilts – “Crippled Croon”
13 Das Racist – “Combination Pizza Hut And Taco Bell”
12 The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – “Young Adult Friction”
11 Hercules & Love Affair – “Blind”
10 Animal Collective – “My Girls”
09 Yeasayer – “2080”
08 Vampire Weekend – “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa”
07 Vivian Girls – “Where Do You Run To”
06 Gang Gang Dance – “House Jam”
05 TV On The Radio – “Golden Age”
04 LCD Soundsystem – “All My Friends”
03 MGMT- “Kids”
02 Grizzly Bear – “Two Weeks”
01 Dirty Projectors – “Stillness Is The Move”

Yes, Dirty Projectors at #1, maybe you’ve heard of them. If not, there’s a handy five-page profile that serves as the centerpiece of this issue’s Brooklyn-music focus, which essentially posits that Brooklyn-music’s centerpiece is the brain of David Longstreth. Or at least, that his approach and creativity is a perfect case study for the scene, but no mostly that all these Brooklyn musicans “want to be David Longstreth.” Have fun with that.

Dirty Projectors – “No Intention (Acoustic)” (MP3)

The full 40 tracks and their accompanying blurbs are laid out here. You won’t get reasoning for inclusion, it’s more about what those songs sound like in case you haven’t been reading blogs the last few years. Congratulations, Williamsburg: You’ve gone unnoticed by the internet for far too long.