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The Return Of New York City

Street walkers, street style, street beat, street crime - street life in general - disappeared with the streets.New York City has been without a sound for years now, but just when we'd given up
JK
Κείμενο John Kelsey

Street walkers, street style, street

beat, street crime — street life in general — disappeared with the streets.

New York City has been without a sound for years now, but just when we’d given up on the possibility, a New York sound again. And streets again: mental streets, sexual streets, criminal streets you can only find under the influence of certain drugs or certain music.

These are the streets we’re fighting for when we put on The Centuries or A.R.E. Weapons, or when we go see them perform (in some basement or art gallery, anywhere but a rock club). It’s when New York seems most dead that it finally starts to sound and look good again.

ΔΙΑΦΗΜΙΣΗ

These bands are making a lot happen with not much more than a microphone and a synthesizer. Their songs sound like slow motion knife fights, perverted limousine rides at night, ceremonial processions and hidden passageways to much better party rooms. They are throbbing, luxurious, manic, minimalist, danceable songs that recall the dark days of No Wave (Suicide, The Contortions, DNA, DAF, ESG, watching Fassbinder movies for the first time), but it would be too easy to say they are retro. It’s more about a secret history that is always being paved over but always manages to return, updated.

When the Weapons say “New York City,” we know what they mean. They say it with moustaches and leather pants.

The Centuries use costume, make-up, posture and a strobe light, though no two shows sound or look alike. They are a sort of futurist vaudeville, our answer to Zurich’s Cabaret Voltaire in this era of the Metrocard and the Cineplex. It’s a sound that is nostalgically delinquent and even a bit pretentious (only the pretentious ever get anything done in this town). Delinquency, glamour and pretension are what these defiantly undead, invisible urban streets are made of. The new definition of New York City.

JOHN KELSEY

Look for The Centuries’ first release at Shrine Records.

A.R.E. Weapons

can be found at Kim’s Underground.