Top Ten Songs by New York Artists
10. The Walkmen
Released off their second (and best) album, The Rat is a statement of furious intent from the New York band that struck a nerve.
9. TV on the Radio
Staring at the Sun
The debut single of this extraordinary group, Staring at the Sun reminded listeners that New York still had beats.
8. Sonic Youth
A pop song about J Mascis as President is the defining teen song for indie kids everywhere.
7. The Strokes
Hard to Explain
It’s not Last Night or Someday that the Strokes should be remembered for, it’s Hard To Explain. This sees the band at the height of their powers with Julian Casablancas flying through verses with the nonchalance of a pro. This is the song that proved The Stokes were more than just style.
See No Evil
Without Television there would be no Strokes or Interpol; the original NYC guitar band whose intricate style and breezy attitude was the template for Casablancas, Banks et al.
5. Vampire Weekend
Punctuated funk from the brats who know too much. Vampire Weekend blazed a trail of intelligent mayhem with their single A-Punk and gave indie movies everywhere the perfect soundtrack.
4. The National
The great slow-burning band of the Noughties: The National, after five critically acclaimed albums, are finally one of New York greatest musical assets. And it was their fourth album opener, a scathing attack on the Bush administration, that made many stand up and notice the Brooklynites.
3. The Velvet Underground
All Tomorrows Parties
One of the most famous sayings in rock and roll is that hardly anyone bought The Velvet Underground’s debut, but everyone who did started a band. All Tomorrows Parties is the seminal song from this seminal album. Sung by Nico in her trademark husk, the Underground perfectly captured the skewed reality of the flower-power excess of the sixties.
2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs
A Date With The Night
One almost feral front-woman, a post-punk loving guitarist with 80’s hair and an unassuming drummer who becomes the hulk when he’s given drumsticks. Put them altogether and you get A Date with the Night, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs most dangerously sexy track that makes you feel euphoric and terrified at the same time.
Never has a band captured New York’s spectral beauty better than Paul Banks and his band of moody men. Lead by Banks’ trademark monotone and Daniel Kessler’s delicate guitar NYC becomes the city’s musical equivalent, evoking its vastness and its withered charm. Like the city itself, NYC has become truly iconic.
By Kevin Boyle