On account of a few variables, namely the mainstream media and your one friend who lives on Bedford Avenue, it’s possible you’ve been duped into believing the only place contributing to Brooklyn’s musical eminence is Williamsburg. Enter an ongoing series of neighborhood spotlights, in which we’ll highlight notable music-related places in each area to prove this is untrue. It’s a hyper-local visiter’s guide for the music enthusiast that doubles as an “I-lived-here-for-10-years-and-didn’t-know-that-was-there” tip sheet. Music, and its many businesses, is everywhere in this borough — which is maybe the best part about living here. Today, a look at all that Bushwick and Ridgewood have to offer:
Where to See It
At the metaphorical center of Bushwick’s expanding DIY scene is Shea Stadium and Silent Barn, together leading the all-ages booking crusade at the cusp of industrial wasteland. While Shea’s joint rehearsal-and-show space mimics the decorating aesthetic of your parent’s basement in the 90s (plus the addition of a smoker-friendly balcony), the Silent Barn compound is inching closer to its multifaceted work-live-performance-space end goal.
In December, its former location on the Ridgewood-Bushwick border reopened as Trans-Pecos. Under a rotating curatorial eye of local labels, bands, promoters and art collectives, it’s a purist’s dream, placing a premium on underexposed, out-of-the-box music. It notably joins Shea’s metal-and-hardcore-leaning neighbor The Acheron, loft space 538 Johnson and others long entrenched in the scene’s steady crawl eastward.
A cycle of questionably legal venue openings and closings comes with the territory. From the latest crop of staunchingly DIY spots, Palisades, Hot 97.4 and Pet Rescue are the best bets to see promising local bands (and Yung Lean) in their natural habitat. Radio Bushwick and The Wick, meanwhile, are welcomed additions to the neighborhood map of proper bars, the former housing a legit radio station, the latter adjacent to a beer garden and occasionally alluring national bands.
Where to Buy It
Though it stocks zines, tapes and more, Heaven Street has emerged as a goldmine for punk, metal, industrial and noise albums, fitting nicely with the neighborhood’s rough-around-the-edges appeal. Relative newcomers Vinyl Fantasy and Human Head cater to the devoted crate-digger, stocking mostly used vinyl and providing a neighborly touch. “Friendly advice upon request, with minimal smart-assery,” reads the Human Head website, while Vinyl Fantasy frequently hosts community events for art, music and comic book nerds.
Where to Make It
With stretches of nothing but warehouses (relative desolation!), the neighborhood is a magnet for studio and rehearsal spaces — Bushwick Studio, The Fort, Young Love Studio, Royal Drag and Gravesend Recordings, to name a few — but we’re partial to Danbo Studios, an one-stop-depot for all your career needs: Buy your weapon of choice next door at Main Drag Music’s Bushwick Supply Annex (EDIT: this location has closed in recent months), learn to play it at one of the dirt-cheap practice spaces at The Sweatshop or opt for one of the other rooms housed in the giant Danbro complex, record your debut at Swan7 studios, and land a spot in Newtown Radio’s heavy rotation, broadcasting across Internet waves from a stone’s throw away.
Follow Lauren Beck on Twitter @heylaurenbeck.