12 Essential New York Records.

CBGB bowery OMFUG rock punk


I’m not someone who gets overly annoyed easily (but if you chew loudly or sniff constantly on public transport, I’ll probably want to smack you in the kisser.) However, after reading the apparent “essential” NYC records chosen by BBC 6Music, I got annoyed. In fact, it went beyond being annoyed. I am pissed off. A pissed off Punk who is absolutely infuriated by this list and I know that I am not alone in this.

If you want to share my rage, here is the list:

1. The Strokes – Is This It
2. Wu Tang Clan – Enter The 36 Chambers
3. Blondie – Parallel Lines
4. Talking Heads – 77
5. Nas – Illmatic
6. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever To Tell
7. Simon & Garfunkel – Bookends
8. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
9. Princess Nokia – 1992 Deluxe
10. The Rapture – Echoes
11. Interpol – Turn On The Bright Lights
12. LCD Soundsystem – Sound Of Silver


I am a massive fan of Nas, Wu Tang, Interpol, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Strokes. The Strokes first record was my crutch for a long time, and I do agree with it being there- but not at the top. There is so much missing from this list- how can you even condense it down to 12 anyway? Maybe 20 wouldn’t even be enough.

So with my burning rage, I have to come up with my own list. I don’t want to claim that my list is correct or anything like that- it’s just an opinion. I could be wrong, or someone may feel like they agree with me. The severe lack of Punk in the list just makes me sad. I do agree, as I said with some of the records being there, but some are wrongfully missed.

Also, it isn’t in any order- I don’t like order, it makes me nervous.


It was either this or Leave Home. I think Leave Home is my favourite Ramones record, but their debut deserves to be there because of the huge impact it had. I remember hearing it for the first time when I was about 14/156. The age where everything and anything can influence you. I remember hearing it and feeling like I had been born in the wrong era. Every song gave me this incredible feeling, and every song just made me idolise them. I think it is obvious that I worship Joey Ramone. Oh man, Beat On The Brat is one of my favourite Ramones songs. I love the lyrics and I love the humour in their songs but there is a real sensitivity in Joey’s voice that is so unique and beautiful. It’’ just such an iconic record. It was made to influence and to be played loud.

Lou Reed-Transformer.

The most important NYC record of all time. ALL.TIME. Why the hell wasn’t it included?! It’s pretty insulting to Lou’s legacy that this record isn’t on there. It’s not only a great NYC record; it’s probably my favourite record of all time. As a gay person, this record gave me this sense of freedom that I hadn’t found in any other record when I first heard it. I didn’t come out until years after hearing this record, but it gave me this feeling of being alright with who I was. Besides, me being gay doesn’t define me. Never has, never will Transformer is just the coolest record ever made. I hate the word cool, we know that but fucking hell Lou Reed was THE coolest person to have ever lived and he just smacks it in our faces with this record. Sally Can’t Dance and Coney Island Baby are obviously worth mentioning. Pretty sure my list could just be Lou and Ramones records. Vicious and Andy’s Chest…man alive! “You hit me with a flower.” That’s GOT to move you in some way. I love the lyrics to Vicious, and I think this whole record shows Lou in a different way, you know? He just expressed himself in a way nobody else had dared to. I still don’t think anything can touch this record.

New York Dolls-New York Dolls.

The clue is in the bloody name really. Absolutely criminal and horrendous that this record isn’t on the list. My mum got me into the Dolls at a very young age. I don’t even think I was a teenager. I remember finding her copy of the record, and being in awe of the Dolls in drag. How beautiful they were! I was drawn of course, to Johnny Thunders (the greatest guitarist of all time.) Subway Train is such a beautiful song. Jet Boy has this incredible snarl to it. The whole record oozes attitude that is so unique to the Dolls. The lyrics to Trash and Personality Crisis are just great. This record is New York through and through. It’s got the charm and grit. It’s got the attitude and bite. It’s a record that I always find myself going to time and time again, and discovering more things to love about it. It’s just timeless.

Richard Hell + The Voidoids-Blank Generation.

Alright so Richard isn’t from New York- but this record was recorded at Electric Lady Studios so, it’s a NYC record. And he moved there pretty early on, so it’s fine. It’s acceptable.

I am a Richard Hell obsessive. I paid £30 once for a Richard Hell t-shirt from a shop on Brick Lane. Yeah it was too much money, but it’s Richard Hell.

Blank Generation would easily be in my list of best Punk records. It’s got this raw attitude to it, and I just love Richard’s voice. As a singer and as a writer, I just love him. His autobiography is one of the best of its kind I’ve read. He has most certainly lived a colourful life. Sure he’s done questionable things, the little bugger. But, he’s made some incredible music along the way.


Suicide are probably the best duo of all time. Frankie Teardrop is the best 10 minute song of all time. Dream Baby Dream is a masterpiece. The whole record is a work of art. If any record can capture the roughness of New York in the 70s, it’s this record. It is such a grand record and well ahead of its time. It still is. Nothing and no one has ever come close to this. For me, I think Suicide are massively underrated but they have influenced so many bands that I adore. It still hurts and it still sucks that Alan Vega is no longer here. I remember when he passed; I had the same reaction most had for Bowie. Suicide were never afraid to push their sound and to make music that was entirely different. It is a beautiful noise that brings such pleasure and joy to the ears. It is a gritty record from start to finish, and they keep that grittiness throughout every record they have ever made.

The Heartbreakers-L.A.M.F

I think this was recorded in London, but Johnny Thunders was a New Yorker, The Heartbreakers were a supergroup. I did want to pick a solo Johnny record, but I remembered how much I am obsessed with L.A.M.F (it stands for Like A Mother Fucker.) and how One Track Mind is such a great song. I can’t help but imagine what it would be like if Johnny was still here. Like I said earlier on, for me he’s the greatest guitarist of all time. His style was just impeccable and one of a kind. No one else could play like him. His style was way ahead of its time. He was ahead of his time.  He had this way of just magnetising you with every note. The record has been reissued so many times, but regardless of what version you have- it’s a genius record. It is proper Rock N Roll and has Punk foundations. Of all the records I own, I think this might be my most played. It’s one of those records I just really enjoy listening to over and over again.


Nas is one of the greatest rappers of all time, that’s obvious. There are so many Hip Hop records I could have chosen. I know that The Big Picture by Big L is one of the best. I bought it when it came out, and to this day it is still one of my favourite records. Like Nas, Big L was and still is above the rest. Illmatic portrays New York in a way that most don’t want to hear. Nas is not, and has never been afraid to show the harsher side of life. From losing friends to growing up in the projects in Queens- he really takes you there. He’s a poet, a storyteller. Halftime is one of the songs on Illmatic that really show this. He makes you see the world and his world the way he does with Illmatic. Is it his best record? For sure. It’s one of the best Hip Hop records of all time. Nas has constantly brought out remarkable records that have, and still do influence so many. It’s one of those records that you can’t imagine not ever happening. It is such an important record- irrespective of what kind of music you’re into; it is such a phenomenal record. What he did with this debut record most want from their whole career.

A Tribe Called Quest-People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm

Tribe have always made consistently great records that are so experimental and diverse. They fused together all styles of music. There are so many records by them I could have chosen, but it felt right to go with their debut. It came out in a time where you had groups like NWA with their aggressive songs. Sure their songs may have been, but it is important to remember that NWA were telling us about the things that were happening in Compton- it is just as important and to an extent maybe more so. But this about New York right now. What I love about the first Tribe record is that it frees your mind, it gives you something that you won’t find anywhere else. Q-Tip and Phife are two great rappers, and I don’t think they have ever got enough credit it. Tribe’s records each have distinctive sounds. Push It Along is nearly 8 minutes long, Bonita Applebum is genius, I Left My Wallet In El Segundo is timeless and Luck of Lucien is just amazing. The samples on this record used range from Grace Jones to The Beatles to Lou Reed. It’s a record that quite simply, you need to own.

 Sonic Youth-Confusion Is Sex

I could have happily listed every single record by Sonic Youth. I’d have no idea where to start- so I went to the start. It’s such a heavy record; it’s a record that has influenced so many. It is powerful, it is loud and it has Jim Sclavunos on drums. What more do you need? (She’s In A) Bad Mood is such a brilliant way to start the record. Jim’s drumming is so brutal; they all just move you in a way that you wouldn’t expect. There is nothing calming about the sound on this record- they just rile you up in a way that is mind-blowing.

I think it is possible the record that shows us all just how amazing Kim Gordon is. I mean, we know that anyway but Confusion Is Sex has some awesome moments that just leave you inspired by Kim. Shaking Hell is my favourite on this record; it’s so aggressive and really brutal. The louder you play this, the better. The way she yells “Shake off your flesh!” is so hypnotising.

The Velvet Underground-Loaded

Maybe I should have gone with their first record. Maybe. But, Loaded is my favourite and I remember buying my copy of this in Brussels and feeling like I had won the lottery. My copy doesn’t play as well as it should but that’s because I am always playing it. I love listening to it and allowing Velvet Underground to take me some place really magical. Rock & Roll is such a fantastic song, and you can’t help but think you’re the person Lou has written about. Lonesome Cowboy Bill is out of this world- it’s not like anything else.

Oh! Sweet Nuthin’ is up there as being one of the greatest songs of all time. It’s one of Lou’s best, easily. I’ve written about this record so many times, and I’m sure I have never done it justice.

Television-Marquee Moon

I cannot make this list without mentioning Television, and this record. Many have regarded it as one of the best records ever made, and they aren’t wrong. It is such a wonderfully created record. From the vocals to the production- it is so effortlessly great and really does have a slick sound that you know is from New York. Every song on Marquee Moon is so distinctive. You hear one note, and you immediately know that it is them. The intro to the title song is one of the most iconic ones of all time. It’s an intro that just stays with you. You immediately go back to the first time you heard it as soon as it comes on. It’s just a magnificent record that definitely does deserve its status as being one of the greatest records ever made.

The Strokes-Is This It

There are a number of records I could have picked. I could have gone with Foxy Brown, Mos Def, Interpol, Talking Heads, Big L- so many. Why did I stick with The Strokes when I could have picked someone else? Because this record holds a lot of importance to me. It’s got me through hell and back. It still does. I adore Julian. I love his words, his voice and just him. It’s a record I constantly go back to. I can play it and I immediately go back to my first time hearing it. I was 15 years old, being bullied at school. I’d play it every day. And every single day I would imagine I was hanging out with Julian in New York City eating pizza, going to record stores and going to shows. This record was my escape, and it still is. It captures New York and it captures what music means to me. So from a totally personal point of view, this record is New York. This record is important. Again, it is one that is still a massive influence to bands. They are all great musicians, and there will never be anything else quite like it- just like all the records I have mentioned.


Like I said, there are so many records that could have been named. This is just my personal take. Maybe it is wrong, maybe it is right. It’s just a point of view, like the 6Music one is. But I just find it hard to accept that so many great and influential records were missed off.

“It’s damned if you don’t and it’s damned if you do. Be true ’cause they’ll lock you up in a sad sad zoo.”

They’ll take your freedom in any way they can. They’ll tear out your tongue. They’ll break your heart. You can find a sense of romance in almost anything; but not that. People judge, and people will call you out on things you haven’t done. Things you haven’t said. Do it back, they say. But you can’t. You’re not a cruel person. You’re sensitive and you hate yourself for it. You can hate yourself for so many reasons, this is one of them. But it’s okay because at least you don’t lie to yourself. Kid yourself and spiral into a frenzy of lies; that’s what most do. I’d rather be honest with myself than be a judgemental cunt. This is all for a reason. I have a point.

Monday night, I went out. I’m wishing I hadn’t because since then I’m carrying a feeling I cannot get rid of, and it’s starting to get to me. I’d rather write this down than do the normal thing of telling someone face to face or whatever. Anyway.

I’ll be the first to admit my face isn’t all that. I wear black all the time (I have a pair of red creepers, a red Sonic Youth shirt and a red Iggy Pop shirt..I don’t really wear them.) Just because I wear black all the time doesn’t mean I am going to stab you and offer your heart as some kind of sacrifice. I notice nothing when I go outside, I just put my headphones in and walk. I look at the ground or whatever because over here, eye contact isn’t good. Eye contact, I have learnt is never good. If I look at you when I talk to you it’s probably because I probably think you’re alright. I’m getting better. For a while I’ve been working on the whole self-confidence thing. You know how you get people who do the whole “OH FUCK ME I AM SO VILE TODAY JUST LOOK AT ME” and take about 50 photos of themselves (they do it on a camera phone and probably use Instagram too) and just want attention? Physically, I dislike myself a hell of a lot. I’m fat, short and my face is unfortunate. I’ve re-joined the gym so at least I can stop being a chubber. As a person, I like to think I have some positive traits. My Bob Dylan impression is a treat (can only do it if I’ve had whiskey) and my hugs are alright. Despite the fact that I probably look like a moody twat, I laugh at most things (obviously not at racist jokes and the like, I’m not a cunt.) I’m a lot of good thing, I’m a lot of bad things. I know what I am, no one else has the right to judge.

So, on Monday as I was leaving this bar with some friends I walked past a tabel of about 4 or 5. I didn’t look at them, but I knew they were there. I’m oblivious to most things, but for some reason my ears actually picked up on what was said.


Wow..cheers for that. Do you feel better for that? I hope you did. I really do. I get weird looks ALL the fucking time here. All the time. I only leave the house if I have to. I go to the gym every day, but I walk there and where I live is quiet so I don’t really have to walk past anyone. Going to town for me, is my idea of hell. I hate it. I hate leaving the house.

When I’m in England I’m totally fine. I can walk around London or Manchester at 3am and feel completely safe. Here? Not at all. Not in the slightest. At 25 years old, you’d think I’d be alright with going outside right? Wrong. It’s anywhere but here. Everyday I wake up and wish I was somewhere else. I can’t help but think I was really awful in my past life and this is payback. Never mind, right?

I’d rather live on the streets in a city I love than wake up here one more day. It’s doing more than crushing my soul; it’s destroying me as a person.

They say, “Keep trying.” But I am. Fuck me I am trying, but I get nothing. I’m heading nowhere fast.

I live somewhere that destroys me everyday. I used to be strong and okay with myself. That’s all going. This is why this is coming out.

It took a LOT for me to come out (my mum is so fucking liberal, so I’m blessed in that way) but it still scared me to do so. I know how hard it is to let that part of you, especially when you are from such a small-minded place. My mother always told me, “Be true to yourself and don’t live a lie.” I may act like I don’t listen to people, but that is something I carry with me. It’s hard to keep at it at the moment. I guess I just have to.

To judge someone based on how they look or sexuality or anything is the most pathetic thing in the world. Maybe I should’ve said something to this idiot, but I didn’t fancy being punched. I’ve been hit enough times in my life; I don’t really fancy it again. I cannot hit anyone. I could never bring myself to do it. I’d probably runaway crying. Sure I may be overly sensitive and I may take too much to heart; but at least I can feel. I’d rather be this way than totally numb.

It’ll take a while before I “get over” this, and to any of my friends I had a rant about this all too since..I am sorry. I apologise for most things but..yeah. Anyway. I cannot change what has happened. It’s just pissed me off that we live in a world where people think it is okay to be obnoxious and cruel.

One step forward and about fifty back.

“Did they tell you, you should grow up, when you wanted to dream. Did they warn you, better shape up if you want to succeed.”

I took a walk just now. Whilst walking, a Metric song came on and it just made me realise that it is okay to be my age (25) and still be a dreamer. Someone who isn’t always sure of everything around them, but knows what they want. They do all they can to get it, but something gets in the way. That something at times, holds you back. But you still keep going. Sometimes a song is all it takes for you to keep on dreaming. To keep everything in you alive. It is hard, I bloody well know it is. You see, I’ve been a freelancing fool for 6 and a half years now. I’ve had this site since early 2008. I’ve had times where I wanted to just say “Fuck this..fuck it all. I can’t no more.” The constant self-doubt I carry on my back keeps me going. If I ever thought I was good at something, I wouldn’t do it. The self-doubt makes me work harder I guess. If I didn’t write, I’d probably be sectioned. I’d gnaw at my hands and rip my eyes out from frustration. Yet, for some stupid reason, I feel the need to write. I have no idea who reads this. Or even why someone would read the nonsense I write, but I just want to thank you. If I could buy you a cup of tea and hug you- I would. If you’re a friend of mine, that’s pretty cool. But I know none of my friends read this. It’s cool. I’m pretty sure most read this and think, “What the hell is this idiot doing? I can do better than her. She’s useless.” Probably. You probably can. I do it for the love of music. I don’t do it for any other reason. I know I want to make a living from this, but truth be told-I never will. I guess you cannot put a price on something you love. So this is going to be a collection of songs that make me feel alright with being a dreamer, I guess. Thing is, I know what the reality around me is. I’m not happy with it, but only I can change it.

Maybe one day, one of my daft dreams will come true. Maybe one day I’ll get some poetry published. Maybe I’ll write a book. Maybes are okay- but you cannot live off them. Keep the dream alive, and do what you need to do. The following songs just give me hope, in their own unique  non-conventional way.


“Shake your head, it’s empty.”

Wants and needs cloud your judgement. It’s easier to ignore them both so you can carry on. And carry on you will. This is the hangover talking. Not in a physical sense, that passed at half 10 this morning when I stood in the shower playing Explode by Uh Huh Her about 5 times until I felt like a person again. Things go wrong very quickly, you try to be cautious. You do what is right. You leave things behind so you can move forward. The things you never faced smack you right in the face when you have brief moments on your own. I’m trying to distance myself from this because some things, well..you’ve got to never tell so you stay sane. So what happens? Lose.Your.Shit. Lose your mind if you want. Nobody is strong all the time. Nobody is always weak. You can find strength in the things you think are killing you, metaphorically. You hold everything back. And for what reason? You’ve got your reasons. You try to let it out, but for some reason- it just won’t come out. Not because you’re biting your tongue constantly, but..the words. The words are not there. So you find a sense of peace and become calm in the midst of hearing THAT certain part in a song that you love. The song that cradles you. The song that nurses you. Like a whisper in your ear, “It’s going to be okay.” It will be okay.

One day I will take on board what I have just typed up. Until then, I’ll remain a hypocrite, or maybe just one of life’s lost causes plodding their way through. Knowing that nothing is secure, or forever. Time is just a way of limiting yourself. I never wear a watch. Lose yourself to something positive than give yourself up to something destructive. This is why I don’t show my poetry or songs to anyone. It goes deeper than the paragraph above, and I’m ashamed of it.

So, with this utter nonsense out of the way- there are songs. There are always songs. Songs that will drag you through because you just don’t want to think about how you’d word it. Wants and needs. You want a person, but do you need them? Anyone who says they don’t need anyone is lying. Even if it’s just one person, you cannot deny that you need them. It doesn’t have to be in a romantic way. A relative, a close chum- you need them. You want them around. You think you’re going to lose them at times. You think you’re about to because the Universe is a fucking BITCH. Solace is found in music. Shut it all off and fall into the music. It’s the only way you know how. And maybe…just maybe we are all struggling to get to the same thing in life. So, please be kind to everyone. Be respectful and tolerant. Walk gently through life and do everything with heart. Speak up. Be strong, be weak. Be yourself.

The art of growing up….is a pain.

In 9 days I’m moving back home. I call it home, although it never feels like it. I’ve never felt at home anywhere. I hope that when I leave there after a month or so, I can find a place called home and stop feeling on edge or whatever. I was alright with leaving here, until this evening. I know some truly beautiful and wonderful people. I’ve had a bit of a cry, I suppose I’ll blame the wine for that. Or the fact that I am way too sensitive and sentimental for my own good. Orignally I wanted to make this mixtape post about the songs that helped me grow up and saved my life. I’ve decided to change it, and just put a bunch of songs that remind me of certain people and certain events that have happened. I guess you can call it a thank you or whatever for the people I care about more than I probably show. I’m utterly toss with saying how I feel, so I guess using a song is the best way to do it. Besides, like most I fear rejection so this is my best bet.

I like to think that certain songs are obvious as to who and what they are about. I don’t want to explain because it will take away the meaning and I suppose the sentimental value. This year has been a bit shit, but it’s also been alright. Certain people have made it easier. Again, they should know who they are.

I could honestly ramble on, but I’d just bore you to death.


New York.

New York City. The birthplace of two genres of music that own my heart. Punk and Hip Hop. Oh, I can’t love the two? I can’t possibly love Hip Hop because my favourite band of all time is The Smiths? I can’t love Hip Hop because I think Warpaint are one of the best bands around right now? Oh okay then, I guess I’ll just start being small minded like the rest.

Or not.

New York City has given us some of the greatest musicians of all time. From Disco to Salsa- it all started in NYC. Going through most of the music I own, most of it comes from NYC. It’s something that I’ve recently picked up on and as a result, I am fascinated with all music that is created in this city. I hate flying. It shits me up a stupid amount. I have a brief panic attack whenever I fly to see my family on the Isle of Man and that’s only a 20 minute flight. However, if I had the money and a doctor gave me enough tablets to knock me out for the duration of the flight- I’d go to New York. I’d explore the birthplaces of the bands I love, the venues that they’ve played. I’d go to underground clubs and watch bands play that nobody has ever heard of. I’d wander round eating a bagel and explore the record shops. I’d take a virtually empty suitcase and bring back a load of records and books with me.

I’d take everything in and refuse to go back home. Knowing me, I’d probably take copies of my CV with me whilst there and give it to various record and book shops. That would be the best thing ever. Not only would I no longer be in England, but I’d be constantly surrounded by good music.

I can dream I suppose. Or, I make that dream a reality. I’m going for the latter.

So, New York City. The home of The Strokes, Ramones, Mos Def, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Liars. I could list them all.

It’s quite possibly the home to the greatest. I am tempted to say Manchester because of Morrissey- and of course, I regard this one person to be greater than thousands. Always.

The city has given us, within the last 10 years, bands such as The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Battles, TV on The Radio and Brand New. All of which have their own distinctive sound.

I remember when I first listened to The Pains of Being Pure At Heart and thinking it was the early 90s and in hope that The Jesus And Mary Chain were still going, coming back to reality wasn’t nice.

The city has so much to offer for anyone. It doesn’t matter what your race, religion, sexuality- anything. None of it matters (it never should anyway) there’s just something for everyone. It’s just this ridiculously huge place that has everything.

When I listen to the Ramones, I always think what it must have been like to have been around in New York when the whole Punk scene started. Imagine going to CBGBs and seeing a band start out- years later, they become one of the most influential bands of all time.

Imagine being part of the Factory scene- being in awe of Edie Sedgwick’s beauty every single time she walked past. Or being around when the Velvet Underground first emerged.

New York City, responsible for so much- yet it doesn’t have to answer to anyone. Ever.

You cannot mention New York without naming one of the best bands to have come from the city- A Tribe Called Quest. They were one of the first hip hop groups I remember falling in love with. I remember watching the video to Scenario on MTV at a very very young age, and just being obsessed. I loved the way Q-Tip pronounced his words and the words he used. I just loved everything they did.

I loved Q-Tip’s solo work- anyone who doesn’t love Breathe & Stop is a twit. Seriously. I just couldn’t get enough of them. The Low End Theory is easily one of the greatest Hip Hop albums created. It mixes Jazz with Hip Hop in a way that has not been done since, if it has, it hasn’t been done as well. The production on the album is mind-blowing. The samples used on it are just insane. From start to finish, it is sheer perfection.

I remember in 2001 first hearing The Strokes. For the past 10 years they have got me through bad times and have been there through the good. Two years ago I had Is This It tattooed on me. The album is so personal to me. I obviously don’t need to tell you why, but it was a crutch for so much- it still is. It always will be. I fail to see why many overlook First Impressions of Earth- the bass on Juicebox is mental. Heart In A Cage is just perfect. Evening Sun is beautiful. All four of their albums mean a lot to me for various reasons. They have that same rawness that the Ramones had. They don’t have to explain or define what they do to anyone- that’s how it should always be.

Music from New York has this type of edge to it. I can’t think of a better word, so I’ll go with edge. It has a distinctive sound. When you listen to band from the city, you know they are from there. It’s this raw, powerful sound. The feel of Punk still lies within a lot of bands from New York- even if they don’t realise it. Punk wasn’t just a genre of music- it was a way of life, a state of mind, an attitude. It’s in bands such as The Stokes, Vivian Girls, Yeah Yeah Yeahs etc- the way they play and how they are on stage just shows this.

Some may regard Punk as a music genre as dead, and that is the case. But the true spirit of it is alive and well within certain bands from New York City.

When I think of the music that has come from New York, I think of all the cultural aspects that are with it too. It’s such a vibrant place. It is full of all forms of Art. Whether it’s break-dancing, graffiti, theatre, cinema, Salsa- it’s everything. It has everything.

So many songs have been written about New York. It’s the Hip Hop community that you feel can truly sum up what New York is, and what the place is to true New Yorkers.

The Strokes- Is This It. 10 years on….

10 years to the day, one of the most raw and influential albums emerged from New York City. The piss ridden streets that you love and loathe produced something so passionate and important- it was pretty hard to get your head around.

I was in secondary school when Is This It was released. I was listening to all kinds of music. I was obsessed with Aaliyah, Garbage, Silverchair, Wu Tang Clan and Morrissey whilst at school. I’d constantly have them on my mix cd I’d make for my cd Walkman. I had to hold the cd Walkman down with my hand as I walked because the songs would skip. Little things like this I miss. Nothing could touch me as I walked through the corridoor playing my favourite songs.

Someday was the first song I remember hearing. I was just blown away by the sound. Jules’ voice captivated my young mind. “In many ways, they’ll miss the good old days.” It’s just an utterly timeless song. Screw that, it’s just an utterly timeless album. So many “critics” have delcared it one of the greatest albums ever, and yes- they are correct. But it is the same words written about this album over and over again. It makes you wonder, are they actually listening to this album? Do they walk the streets listening to it and pretend they are in New York City? I’m not ashamed to say that I have done that, and still do.

I want to write thousands and thousands of words as to why this album is one of the most important records ever. I want to tell you how it’s been a massive part of my life. I love the album so much I have Is This It tattooed on my wrist. My reasoning? It was one of the albums that got me through a break-up and just made me feel better about everything. It gave me strength and courage. When I feel a bit hopeless, this album just makes me feel better. There’s something about it that just feels like a safety net. I can’t possibly put it into words. I’d just be throwing around words and odd descriptions of what the album does to me. It’s just played a massive part in my life.

10 years on and The Strokes are still one of my favourite bands ever. I love every single album. Yes, I even think First Impressions is a bloody brilliant album. They changed everything for me when I heard them 10 years ago. They changed the way I felt about everything and everyone. If music is about making you feel less alone and to make you feel okay with having certain feelings- then that’s exactly what Fab, Nick, Nikolai, Jules and Albert did then, and continue to do so.

“I say the right things, but act the wrong way. I like it right here, but I cannot stay.” There has never been a time where this one line doesn’t describe my life.

Cheers lads!

The Strokes.

My love for The Strokes started when everyone else’s did, in 2001. I remember first hearing Someday and wishing I was a teenager in New York rather than the Isle Of Man. Being a teenager in Grimsby would’ve been better than the Isle Of Man, anyway- moving on.

Their debut album, Is This It did something to me that has lasted 10 years. It has been an album I go to when everything seems a bit shit. The frustration I hear in Julian’s voice and the lyrics means so much to me. As a result, I have Is This It tattooed on my wrist. I know it sounds oh so morbid, but maybe it’s just my sick sense of humour coming through.

Many websites and magazines have constantly said how important Is This It is, ignored Room On Fire and just destroyed First Impressions Of Earth.

It’s about time this is put right.

I’ll start with First Impressions. Basically, it pisses me off and wounds me when people just dismiss it. Have you not listened to Juicebox? Have you ignored the beautiful lyrics of Evening Sun? What about Razorblade? Seriously, it is an amazing album. If you hate it, I doubt my words will make you change your view. Try and give it one more listen before you dismiss it and you will see just how wonderful it is.

Room On Fire. Overlooked slightly I feel. The End Has No End, Between Love & Hate, Meet Me In The Bathroom- why isn’t this album held up as high as Is This It?

All of their albums, including Angles have that mind blowing raw, aggressive New York sound. Many have tried to copy it, but they cannot master it. The Strokes have, with every single album.

Jules’ voice is everything I want in a singer. He just sings every word with frustration and a lot of feeling- yet at the same time, just makes it look like he doesn’t give a shit. Yet you know he does. On The Other Side is one of my favourites, “I hate them all.I hate myself, for hating them. So I’ll drink some more. I love them all. I’ll drink even more. I’ll hate them even more than I did before.” The sheer disappointment in his voice here, that seems directed at himself, well- it is something we can all relate to. That’s why I love First Impressions Of Earth so much. Out of all 4 albums, this one just pours out with disappointment and frustration.

Each band member just makes everything they do look so effortless and natural but at the same time you can see how much they love what they are doing. Everything about them is easy to relate to. A lot prefer to hold musicians away from reality, but I think it’s good to feel like you can relate to them. In a way, it just makes you feel less alone.

You get bands such as The Smiths, Velvet Underground, Ramones, My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus & Mary Chain etc who just change everything in music. They are rare and so many try to copy them over and over, but there will never be anyone quite like them again. I feel The Strokes fall into a list of bands just like that. There will never be another band like The Strokes.

Their solo projects made me think, “this cannot be the end” cue a few panic attacks, but their solo projects were stunning. All of them. Then a week ago, we were finally blessed with Angles. No it isn’t like Is This It. You know why? Because that was 10 years ago. They’ve grown up, got married, and had children- they’ve changed. If you fell in love with them 10 years ago like I did, then nothing in the world is going to stop you from loving them now.

The Strokes to me are what The Smiths and Garbage are to me. My crutch. They are the three bands I go to when everything is wrong, besides it’s a lot better than bothering a friend. I love a lot of bands and different kinds of music, but there is something about The Strokes that just have everything I want. It’s like finding your dream home in the perfect location. That’s right, music means more to me than where I live (to an extent…I don’t want to live in a cardboard box!)

If/when they split up, I have no idea what I will do- I’m just thankful I’ve had a band like The Strokes to be everything I want and more.

Some things…..

Cold Cave are playing a few dates in England in May. I’d go to the Manchester one but….it’s the same night as Florence. I can’t miss Florence oh no!

There’s a Marina & The Diamonds tour in May too.

The gorge Ellie Goulding is doing a few dates in June.

Oh, and The Strokes are recording for the new album!!! Also Garbage may be doing some new tracks/album!!!