From the best onstage accessory to the best new trend in naming bands, here are our favorite things in Brooklyn music.
Best New Venue Temperature Control: Alphaville
There’s an air conditioner there now! Everything’s changed! We approve.
140 Wilson Avenue, Bushwick
Best Niche Festival: New York’s Alright
As part of a growing trend of smaller-scale festivals throughout the city (NYC Popfest, Out in the Streets, Gigawatts Festival, etc.), New York’s Alright epitomizes a weekend curated by and for a community of diehards—in this case, hardcore punk purists. News that this year’s fest was its swan song is a hardcore bummer.
Most Underused Setting for Live-Show Photography: Muchmore’s “Black Box”
While not technically known as “the black box,” that’s exactly what the stage at Muchmore’s is: small, contained, and pitch black AKA the perfect place to get some ultra-dramatic photos of whoever is rocking out that night.
2 Havemeyer Street, Williamsburg
Best Brooklyn-Based Label: Orchid Tapes
With its consistent output of emotionally resonate artists—Alex G, Katie Dey, Ricky Eat Acid and Elvis Depressedly among the bunch—Orchid Tapes has become the Mighty Mouse of local labels—even though this was not likely a title Warren Hildebrand was gunning for back in 2010, when he formed Orchid Tapes as a means of releasing cassettes by his one-man band Foxes in Fiction.
Best Greenpoint Dance Party Locale: The Good Room
Europa, ex-weekend Polish disco powerhouse, is no more. It’s been replaced by this eclectic electronic mecca, which benefits from a healthy walking distance away from the tourists that clog nearby Williamsburg spots.
98 Meserole Avenue, Greenpoint
Best Sad-Sack Fake Out: “I Admit I’m Scared” by Eskimeaux
The title of this song makes it seem like it’s just another twee take on, we don’t know, the terrors of everyday life, but don’t be fooled! This tune by Gabrielle Smith is actually far more dark and twisted than we’d have first thought.
Best Brooklyn Metal Record: revisionist by Sanhett
Best New Resource for Local Labels: Brooklyn Vinyl Works
Best Underground Warehouse Freak Fest: Shade
Organized by party royalty Ladyfag and Seva Granik, this series of high-octane warehouse parties has punctuated our last year with a very special brand of over-the-top all-night fiendishness.
Best Band Choreography: Shirley House
This band blends electro-pop with soulful vocals and lots and lots of dancing. The group itself contains its own choreographer, as well as many dancers, making each and every performance feel like just about the best party ever.
Best Brooklyn Albums That Have Aged Surprisingly Well a Decade After Their Release: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah by CYHSY, Illinois by Sufjan Stevens, LCD Soundsystem by LCD Soundsystem
Least Accurately Named Local Rap Duo: The Underachievers
Most Slept-On Local Hip-Hop Record: Your Discretion is Trust by Cities Aviv
Sonically and lyrically radical, this fractured blast of noise-rap hasn’t dominated the discussion, but it deserves to start a few.
Bossest Rock Star Accessory: The Hot-Pink Bass Mitski played at Northside Festival
This was just so badass. So. So. Badass. We want one for ourselves, and we don’t even play bass.
Best Politically Charged Trend: Queercore/Transcore (Aye Nako, Worriers, Little Waist, Kings, PWR BTTM, Bottoms, BOYTOY, Tomboy, more)
Best—But Saddest—Reminder of the Ever-Changing Music Industry: Insound Closing
A devout proponent of first-wave blog rock and online antidote to the big-box megastores of yesteryear, when this Greenpoint-based music retailer tweeted they were ceasing operations at the end of March, a flood of nostalgia for “the way things were” washed over us, e.g that first Clap Your Hands Say Yeah record is a damn fine album, and BrooklynVegan commenters were nicer then.
Best Band Naming Trend: Active, Compound Nouns for Noise/Synth/Experimental Bands, e.g. Dreamcrusher, Eartheater, Boyharsher
We appreciate a band that tells who they are, what it is, and what they are going to do to it.