New York Cares About Local Music: 2004

Various Artists

Local Music Now, 2004

REVIEW BY: Jason Warburg


Local Music Now is the Brooklyn-based brainchild of Bob McKee, whose stated goal is to promote local music on a national basis through the pages of This particular double-CD packs 31 songs by 31 talented New York City artists, and is the first of several planned discs featuring local artists from various cities across the nation.

The volume of high-quality local NYC music crammed into this package is fairly staggering, matched only by the variety. Disc one kicks off strong with the appealing "Live," a bouncy, philosophical, catchy-as-hell cut from Sheryl Crow write-alike Jennifer Marks; just three tracks later, you're on a musical acid bender with a collective that combines elements of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Frank Zappa and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (Black 47 is the group; "Fatima" is the track).my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Just when you're recovering from that twist, Sirsy kicks in with some tasty Joan Armatrading-ish electric funk on "By July." Nadine Goellner, Rebecca Hart and Julia Darling all contribute thoughtful folk-rockish cuts, while Ben Ratliff offers a growling electric blues called "Permanent Midnight." Tucked in the middle of disc one you'll also find Daily Vault fave Bryan Master's acerbic confection "Karmacide," a treat for any fan of "pop" songs with bite and resonance.

More highlights: Mitch Van Doff's earnest country-rock; the "streetwise Alanis" sound of the marvelously named Nefertiti Jones; Sam Bisbee's Matthew Ryan-ish raw-boned indie rock; and Nathan Caswell's sparklingly funny road trip with "Einstein's Brain" (if you've ever wondered what rhymes with Nagasaki, listen up).

The most memorable pair of tracks on disc two, though, starts with Edible Red's deliriously fun No-Doubt-meets-Bette-Midler cut "Sugar And Spring." Anybody who can make you want to get up and dance while rhyming "bada boom bada bing" with a straight face is alright by me. Its opposite number in more ways than one is Second2Last's socio-cultural hip-hop manifesto "Issues Of Today" -- a cut whose real, honest, soulful poetry reminded me in spirit of early '70s Stevie Wonder. Props also to Don McCloskey for his memorable closer "Ending The Mission."

Frankly, there isn't enough space here to list all the good music on these two little discs. It is incredibly rare for me to find a compilation album that doesn't make me want to hit "skip" several times before I get through it. Not so with New York Cares About Local Music: 2004. Through all the variety and occasional unevenness in quality, this is one of the most consistently entertaining compilations I've ever had the pleasure of hearing, maybe that much moreso because every track resonates with the hunger and determination of real local musicians.

It's also worth noting that this collection benefits both the good musical works of Local Music Now and the humanitarian efforts of New York Cares, the city's premier volunteer organization, providing opportunities for 27,000 people every year to serve New Yorkers through a variety of community-based programs.

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Rating: B+

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© 2005 Jason Warburg and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Local Music Now, and is used for informational purposes only.