December 21, 2007

Year End Thoughts: Nick Sylvester

Baby Oliver, New York City: Try To Keep Up

What was it, three years ago when the Times ran that article about all the city’s dance artists moving to Berlin, finding flats cheap and lots of space and copious psychedelics while ‘clashed-out New York caved in on its ashen self. Blue cabaret laws, parties fizzling by four, teeth ground down to pulp. “Everybody keeps on talking about it / Nobody’s getting it done” – remember that one? Took a three-year minute but the carp became a rallying cry. In my mind this year the city’s 20-30 year-old set realized there was no pre-existing condition of dance music awesomeness here that had since past them by – they read their Up Is Ups and realized they needed to self-actualize, self-mythologize, if they wanted the experience they came here for in the first place.

Holy Ghost!, Hercules and Love Affair, Shit Robot, Lee Douglas, Metro Area, Italians Do It Better, Professor Genius, Baby Oliver, Justin Miller and Jacques Renault, Runaway, Escort, Juan Maclean’s “Happy House,” Studio B, Rub-N-Tug, Tim Sweeney, 205 Club, My Cousin Roy, and I’m forgetting lots else, to say nothing of Sound Of Silver, through which Murphy unpacked his aphorisms into something of a strategy – if their coincidence was mere chronological fluke, we should consider ourselves even luckier.

I don’t think it was a fluke though. To me their realization was something like when you’ve just started senior year at an all-boys high school, and the first Friday the 13th of the year is coming up, and you keep saying to yourself, “I wonder what everybody’s going to do for the prank this year. I wonder whether it’s going to be awesome like it always is.” That Friday the 13th passes, nobody did shit, the class gets really down on itself. The depression compounds because everybody hates the new senior class now too – not nearly as funny as the last senior class are they. Except a few months later the next Friday the 13th approaches. Some people figure it out, say hey why not, and that Friday morning all the teacher’s lounge furniture is rearranged pitch-perfect in the student swimming pool. That Friday morning somebody put dildos in all the cheesesteaks. That morning in the lot outside, somebody took a baseball bat to all the parking meters and stole all the change.

Granted I’m not looking forward to six Friday the 13ths from now, when Spin and Rolling Stone and Pitchfork Media a/k/a the Zach Braff of Music Criticism figure out they’re eight Friday the 13ths behind with the stuff and try to kingmake from the conference rooms and messageboards. Not because I don’t think everyone in the whole world should hear the new Baby Oliver single. It’s just that so much of this music is motivated by a very real, very local chip on its shoulder – The Memory Of Our Betters – and the second that pressure drops, which it will eventually, will be another beginning of another end.

[Nick Sylvester]


  1. Agreed, although I’ll take the b-sides of both singles of the a-sides. Now are we all convinced Baby is actually Morgan Geist?

    Comment by matt — December 22, 2007 @ 2:52 pm
  2. primetime and shot caller are my #1 and #2 singles of 2007

    Comment by NBS — December 23, 2007 @ 10:12 am
  3. Not sure what happened in that first sentence of mine (second “of” = “over”).

    Comment by matt — December 23, 2007 @ 11:17 am
  4. […] Year End Thoughts: Nick Sylvester […]

  5. how about 2007 is the year where i get real sick of not being on whatever promo list it is that got to hear “blind” a few months ago and “happy house” and blog about how great they are, knowing that no one else can hear them?

    Comment by peter — January 9, 2008 @ 4:29 am
  6. nah. that does bother me but 2007 was the best year of my life and DFA had a lot to do with it

    Comment by peter — January 9, 2008 @ 4:32 am
  7. I think it needs to be mentioned that a lot of the artists mentioned (DFA, Italians Do It Better, Environ, Escort etc.) have been doing this music thing for a long, long time now “and the second that pressure drops, which it will eventually, will be another beginning of another end.” sums it up very very well.

    Comment by jazam — March 18, 2008 @ 6:36 am
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