All-Time Best Band: Velvet Underground
All-Time Best Solo Artist: Mary J. Blige
Best New Band: Yeasayer
This one was tough, but Public Enemy didn’t write “Sweet Jane,” Sonic Youth didn’t write “Sister Ray,” and the Ramones . . . well, you can’t honestly think the Ramones are the best band ever from New York. The Velvet Underground, in their five short, fussy, foggy years, did more to change the future of rock music than any other band in the five boroughs — or beyond. They may have inspired a few more touristy (among other) trips up to Lexington 125 than were necessary, but they also loosened the limits of what rock could be — and squeezed it into tighter jeans. | We can only imagine that each of you has had those mornings when you can just feel something bad in the air. For those of you vaguely nodding right now, you most likely know the Febreze-like effect a Mary J. Blige track has on your morning frownies. Sometimes you just don’t want to brush crap off your shoulders, but Blige’s soaring, roaring tracks are clinically proven to delete doubt — all while really working your abs. Point being: she wins. | Having a favorite new(ish) band from New York is like having a favorite soap bubble, so sue us for being all gooey for Yeasayer: purveyors of experimental rock (à la Animal Collective) enhanced by Eastern twinges, chanty gang vocals, and (apparently) a shared penchant for Peter Gabriel. Theirs is lush, aware, (actually) edgy, and challenging music that brings you back to a time when NYC was known for such things (like the Velvet Underground).
Video: Velvet Underground
Video: Mary J. Blige
Listen: Velvet Underground, "Rock and Roll"
Listen: Mary J. Blige, "Be Without You"
Listen: Yeasayer, "2080"