Tag: New York

The 50 Quintessential New York Albums – Village Voice List

Quintessential – representing the most perfect or typical example of a quality or class.

FEBRUARY 18, 2014

For the past week we’ve been locked in the torch of the Statue of Liberty, subsisting on nothing but Russ & Daughters’ lox, listening to the best records about, by, and for New York City through headphones endorsed by Lou Reed. Our mission: to come up with a list of the 50 Most NYC Albums Ever; albums born of the five boroughs that best capture what it’s like to live, love, struggle, and exist in the sprawling, unforgiving, culturally dense metropolis we pay too much to call home. The albums we finally agreed upon capture everything from the unaffected cool of the Lower East Side to the horn-spiked salsa of Spanish Harlem and much more. So let’s get to it. Here, now, the 50 most quintessential New York records. Apologies in advance for The Muppets Take Manhattan not making the cut.

50. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell (2003) The Yeah Yeah Yeahs might not be the hipster band du jour anymore, but Fever to Tell is still a perfect downtown New York record, gritty and artsy and stylish.

49. Jay Z – The Blueprint (2001) Jay-Z famously mocked Nas for having a “one hot album every 10-year average.” And yet Jay himself has only reached the height of his potential three times in a nearly 30-year career.

48. Jim Carroll – Catholic Boy (1980) With his New York drug-drawl and angel-headed hipster-hustler lyrics, poet-turned-musician Jim Carroll spoke-sang with an urgency that belied his drug of choice.

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Ramones Play CBGB

The Ramones’ legendary first performance at CBGB, whose name ironically stood for Country BlueGrass Blues, pioneered New York City’s underground punk movement. The co-founder of Punk magazine, Legs McNeil, witnessed the group’s first show. “They were all wearing these black leather jackets. And they counted off this song…and it was just this wall of noise,” McNeil later said. “These guys were not hippies. This something completely new.”

Devin Gannon,

Charlie Barnett Profile – Village Voice

AFTER HIS SET, I offer Charlie and Mar­cie a ride to Port Authority in the cab I’m taking downtown. Turning onto Times Square, wall-to-wall crowds at 3:00 a.m., I ask Charlie, who’s been pretty quiet the whole ride, if he’d ever perform in a place like this. “I do perform here, all the fuckin’ time,” he says. “That corner over there.”

I take a long look at the furtive little congregations forming and unforming at the “Meat Market,” the corner of 42nd and Eighth; it’s been said that over $1 million changes hands on this corner ev­ery day. To me, it’s like watching a bee­hive, only more alien, dozens and dozens of people moving back and forth, no one seeming to leave. To Charlie it’s just an­other crowd: “Huge audiences,” he says, looking out the window with me, “any time of the night. Hookers, winos, crack dealers, heroin addicts, drag queens, pimps. They pay real well. You’d be amazed at how well they pay here. Good place to work on your heckler lines, any new material. I learn how to time my routines here.”

Tears of a Clown: Charlie Barnett Cracks Up
Ivan Solotaroff
Village Voice, January 17, 1989

Walking Tour of Lower East Side, Manhattan – Village Voice

For the past year and a half, maybe the coolest touristy thing to do in the city–even if you live here–has been the three-hour walking tour “The History of Art, Crime, Drugs, and Punk Rock on the Lower East Side,” led by Cro-Mags singer John Joseph.

“I had a front-row seat for the craziest, illest, most fucked-up shit you could ever fuckin’ believe,” says Joseph.

I got a fuckin’ photographic memory and I got stories out the wazoo,” he says. Among his anecdotes: Living in the same building as Daniel Rakowitz, who in 1989 killed his girlfriend, dismembered her, then cooked her into a soup that he fed to the homeless in Tompkins Square Park. Hanging out at 171A while the Beastie Boys and Bad Brains recorded their first albums. Going to Union Square–“it was called 14th Street Park back then, that shit was the Wal-Mart for drugs”–to cop pills, weed, and acid. Cops busting through the door of his squat at 713 E. 9th and sticking guns in his face; thugs doing the same with shotguns and pistols while taking over another squat at Eldridge and Rivington. Watching the jazz guys go to Tompkins to score dope, then play at A7 ’til the sun came up. Witnessing rival drug dealers and gang members killing each other in cold blood and warring with cops during Operation Pressure Point in Alphabet City in the mid-’80s.

“The History of Art, Crime, Drugs, and Punk Rock on the Lower East Side” walking tour happens on Sunday at 3 p.m., meeting at the Cube in Astor Place. Tickets are $35, with a portion of the proceeds going to Hardcore Against Hunger–Feeding Vegan Meals to the Homeless.

Expose Yourself To Cro-Mags Singer John Joseph’s “Fuckin’ Photographic Memory and Stories Out the Wazoo” on His Walking Tour of the LES
NOVEMBER 16, 2012
Village Voice

Missed Shows are Always the Greatest Shows

I was thinking about going to see the Throwing Muses once but didn’t because I didn’t want to drive from Fort Collins to Boulder. A year after the fact I talked to a guy who did go and he said it was the best show he’d ever been to.

I once worked with a guy who had the chance to see Nirvana but didn’t because he was going to catch them when they came around in the summer and then Cobain committed suicide.

I once took the day off from work to go see the Screaming Trees. (I was working nights.) Go to the venue and they had cancelled. I guess they could be hit or miss but supposedly when they were *on* they were amazing.

In March the Voice ran a cover story titled “Why We Hate the Subways,” and everyone had their own tales. Me, I’d been mugged on trains a few times, twice at knifepoint, coming home from Manhattan shows alone at night. But the worst was in May, when I was stuck on a broken-down E train for an hour en route to the Port Authority Bus Terminal to meet a girl I was cross-eyed crushed-out on. She had tickets to see the Grateful Dead five hours north that night, at Cornell University’s Barton Hall. When I finally arrived, the girl and the bus—the last Ithaca run of the day—were gone. I was more upset about missing the girl. But in time, via magnetic tape, Barton Hall 5/8/77 would enter Dead lore as arguably the single greatest show the band ever played. Fucking subway.

Hermes, Will. Love Goes to Buildings on Fire