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Sunday
Nov162014

Who are the Top 5 All-Time NYC Rock Bands?

Everyone already knows New York City is responsible for producing a lot of fantastic things.

Pizza.

Liberty.

Brooklyn Lager.

The list goes on.  Of course, music has always been entrenched in NYC culture.  Jay-Z, Miles Davis, Simon and Garfunkel are all products of the greatest city in the world.  But what about rock n' roll?  And no, I don't mean Steely Dan.  I mean actual distortion loving, frontman wailing rock bands.  Well NYC has those too.  And Rated Wrong is now going to take some time out of its precious Sunday football watching time to inform you on the 5 greatest rock bands to call NYC home.

*Criteria Key:

- Quality

- Influence

- New York City-ness

- Level of fame

- Musicianship

Honorable Mention

Kiss

The ultimate salesmen of rock n' roll, Kiss are the Walt Disney of music (and Gene Simmons is Mickey Mouse).  All of your senses will be bombarded and everything is for sale.  If this was a list of the most recognizable NYC bands, they'd have a strong argument for #1, but ultimately, Kiss don't measure up in musicianship, influence or the hits to make the top five.  Their greatest song about New York, "New York Groove", isn't even a Kiss song (It was on Ace Freely's solo album).

#5


Talking Heads

The late 70s into the early 80s were dark times for rock n' roll.  Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Huey Lewis and the News made up the very pinnacle of rock.  Fine bands all, but anytime you say "Fleetwood Mac is the biggest rock band on the planet"  that's a bad day.  While the nation was suffering, however, the New York City rock scene was flourishing.  Talking Heads was a band that didn't have much national fame, but their quality would endure for years to come and their influence remains strong in rock music today for bands looking to the push the artistic envelope.  Also, bonus points for trailblazing the "woman bass player" look.

#4

LCD Soundsystem


The only band on this list that wasn't around when Richard Nixon was president and without question the greatest band to come out of The Big Apple in the last 25 years.  Strictly speaking, LCD Soundsystem's classification as a rock band is a little tricky.  Truthfully, classifying LCD's rock/electronic fusion sound at all is pretty tough, but the power on tracks like "North American Scum" and "Give it Up" is undeniable.  Combine their impressive catalogue with that groundbreaking musical style and you end up with James Murphy's brain child being the #4 all-time NYC rock band.

#3


New York Dolls

Robert Christgau's all-time favorite band.  The New York Dolls helped usher in the era of punk in New York with their searing 1973 self-titled debut album and rough, wild attitude.  A feat so greatly influential to rock music that they can be forgiven for also being a primary cause to the rise of glam rock.  Heavily influencing the likes of The Ramones, Kiss, Ryan Adams, and Guns n' Roses, the New York Dolls are not only one of the top five New York City bands ever they may also be one of the most all-time influential rock bands anywhere.

#2


The Ramones

The students have become the masters.  No one would ever call the Ramones talented musicians or nuanced song writers.  What they were:  4 guys from NYC with loud guitars, catchy lyrics, and the ability to play their instruments very very fast.  The Ramones perfected a look and sound that would come to define punk rock for decades.  Playing songs that might have been pop hits if they slowed down and weren't about Nazis and the Klan.

#1


The Velvet Underground

Was there ever any doubt?  Between John Cale's musicianship and every single thing about Lou Reed no one was ever going to challenge The Velvet Undergound's place atop the mountain.  Although they never achieved wide reaching fame while together they made their mark on music, influencing a multitude of artists and coming to define the detached, cool attitude that is the very spirit of New York City.  During an era of incredible musical experimentation, no one else sounded like the Velvet Underground.  The Velvet Underground have been often been described as being ahead of their time, but this is incorrect, the Velvet Underground changed the future of rock music.

Friday
Nov072014

"Too Many Cooks" or The Greatest Opening Theme to a Fake Show Ever

So yesterday, at 4am Adult Swim aired this.

I don't want to go to deep into it, the mystery of where it will go next is a big part of its majesty, but it is worth pointing out that all of the actors names are their real names.

Is it a show intro that never ends or a show that is nothing but an intro?  You be the judge.

(It starts getting weird around 1:18).

Thanks to Lorie Steele who showed me this on DangerousMinds.net where it was posted by Richard Metzger with thanks to Syd Garon. 

Friday
Oct312014

Baseball: The New Exciting Playoffs and The New Pointless Regular Season

The Giants are World Series champs for the third time in five years.  The series against the Kansas City Royals was nothing short of a barn burner.  It had all the plot twists of an instant classic: close match-ups, exciting comebacks, and nail biting finishes.  Madison Bumgarner turned in a spectacular pitching performance for the ages.  And when all the dust has cleared the Giants make for the least convincing baseball "dynasty" of all time.

Such is the new age of baseball that we live in.  One where two teams can carry a sub .550 winning percentage all the way to the World Series.  Baseball, more than any other major North American sport requires time to determine excellence.  It is why it has the longest regular season of any sport and why up until the 90s only 4 teams progressed to the playoffs.

Now, with the twice expanded playoff system allowing for 10 teams in each league to compete for the World Series in the post-season, teams like the Giants need to build a roster that can play just well enough to get in and then pull out all the stops in a short series.

It is what it is.  Are the Giants a dynasty?  I don't think so, but that's mostly a subjective term anyway.  What isn't subjective is that they won three World Series in a stretch that saw them have only the 7th best winning percentage (.538) behind the Yankees, Cardinals, Braves, Tigers, Rays, and Rangers.

If these Giants teams had been playing in pre-playoff expansion they would have only even made the playoffs once in the last five years (2010).  And the Giant's World Series opponents?  They've never faced one that finished the regular season with a record better than fourth in the American League (2010 Rangers 4th, 2012 Tigers 7th, 2014 Royals 4th).

Royals fans loved a postseason run, but their team finished with only 89 wins and a run differential of +27.

All of this points to a truth that has been unquestionably apparent in Major League Baseball for a few years now:  Being the "best" doesn't matter.

No sport has the perfect playoff system for finding the truly best team.  I a way, that's the whole point.  But at a certain point, 162 games feels a bit redundant if they don't really matter.  Parity is fun, but if you're going to make the MLB post-season into March Madness, something should probably be done about that pesky regular season.

As logical as it would be, it's unlikely MLB would walk away from all the money that have 162 games every season brings in.  Maybe the league could try separating the season and playoffs from each other into two separate trophies, like European soccer leagues.  The switch would add value to the regular season but it would also challenge the playoff system in a country where playoffs are all anyone has ever known.

There aren't any easy solutions and as long as the playoffs remain unpredictable and exciting it is unlikely MLB is going to look very hard for one.  So, just sit back and cozy up to the idea that you're about to care about June baseball even less than you already do.  But keep the popcorn ready when October rolls around.