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(Various Artists) New York City Rock N' Roll

By Mick Stingley, Contributor
Monday, April 5, 2004 @ 11:48 AM

(Radical Records)

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Steve Blush is a New Yorker. A writer, he also books shows at a club in NYC called, Don Hill’s. He is the DJ there some nights, and is the author of the book, “American Hardcore: A Tribal History” (Feral House). A real rock fan well-versed in the history of NY rock, he put together this cd to showcase 22 rock bands from NYC who have kept the flames of rock, punk and the scuzz-glam of the Dolls and The Heartbreakers burning. As he explains in the extensive liner notes for this compilation, the rebirth of rock in NYC is often journalistically relegated to (what many call) “downtown hipsters” who flock to clubs like The Mercury Lounge andThe Bowery Ballroom to see the latest SPIN darlings and hopefully catch a glimpse of Julian Casablancas, before ditching to The Library for more drinks next to Marc Spitz, and catching the L train back to whatever hip part of Brooklyn they come from...

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Yes, rock ‘n roll gets shoved to the side here in our fair city. But, in lieu of giving up and moving to LA, where they’d have to buy cars and stop drinking at 2AM, real cool rock bands are thriving right now. And, while a lot of it has to do with 9-11 giving many New Yorkers an “it could all end tomorrow” lust-for-kicks, a lot of credit must go to Steve Blush and Don Hill. They gave bands a place to play rock that is sleazy, nasty, grimy and raw (in a club that epitomizes just that), as opposed to music that is more likely be heard on an iPod by the average Urban Outfitters customer. And, although you can’t smoke in NYC anymore, Don Hill’s is still a great club to see a rock band in this fuckin’ city.

Steve Blush handpicked these bands from the shows he produced at Don Hill’s. They are all from Manhattan, and not from another borough. While this obviously isn’t representative of all the rock bands in NYC (Stellar Tuesday, Peelander-Z, Lesion, & Missifus among others): it is certainly a fantastic selection of bands that, for the most part, epitomize the Dolls/Heartbreakers sounds,. Fans of Sunset Strip-era glam would find most bands on this disc a distant, dirty cousin to their hair-sprayed heroes. Incidentally, a lot of the bands here are chick-bands, or fronted by girls.

Of the 22 bands here, some notables:

The Sex Slaves open the disc with their fiery “2 A.M.,” which owes as much to Faster Pussycat as it does to Johnny Thunders or Mick Jagger.
Queen Vixen rock out a song called “Girl Gone Bad” (not VH); this band sounds a lot like Courtney Love meets Deborah Harry breaking the rust off The Blackhearts.
The Detox Darlings singer, Jet Set Jenna, gives “7 Songs In The Jukebox” a sexy voice to trashy rock ‘n roll that would make Joan Jett seem tame.
The Compulsions’ three-chord “I Was Right, You Were Wrong” is just flat-out fuckingawesome. Sounds like a less psychedelic Monster Magnet covering The Dictators.
One of NYC’s best live bands, Joker Five Speed, get down to business with “Destination: Meltdown.” If anyone escapes New York, it oughtta be these dudes.
Banana Fish Zero doing “Party Wrecker” sounds like The Offspring, if they were metal/rock and not OC Punks.
Pretty Suicide offers up “Should’ve Said Goodbye” like a heavied-up Go-Gos number.
Great song…
Chick-led Grounded offer up some cool stoner-doom with “Torpedo.”
Supervillain is something of an anomaly here, as they sound one hell of a lot like old Soundgarden. And that’s a great thing on this song…
The Slags fall somewhere between Bang Tango and The Sea Hags, when they rock on “She Said.”
Starr offer up something like Ted Nugent singing for The Heartbreakers doing Kiss with Brent Muscat; and the results are pretty cool…

This CD is a rocker through and through and recommended for ‘80s glam-rock fans. Available online: or you could come to NYC and go to Don Hill’s and see what it’s all about…

RadicalRecords.com * NewYorkCityRockNRoll.com

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