Brooklyn Is Helping You Be Terrible

“A regional music scene—hereafter, ‘RMS’—furthers art in the same way that, say, Wisconsin furthered progressive politics under Gov. and Sen. Robert La Follette in the early 20th century. RMSes generate ideas. They lend music character…. Brooklyn has a downside. Those who abandon their RMS to come to Brooklyn risk co-option by an aesthetic Borg. Things get mushy. There’s too much input, and there’s not a lot that’s not known. Somebody’s band sounds like Howlin’ Wolf and ESG and Gang of Four, but also sounds like REO Speedwagon and Glenn Branca and The Pointer Sisters. There aren’t many secrets. There are no mountains to go over…. Artists wanted to live in the city of Pollock, Warhol, and Basquiat; writers wanted to live in the city of Kerouac and Thomas Wolfe; bands wanted to live in the city of Suicide, ESG, and Talking Heads. And the musicians, once they got there, started sounding more like Suicide, ESG, and Talking Heads.”
Regional music scenes “are disappearing because everyone is starting to sound like everyone else,” goes this argument. To blame is the hipster Internet, which is Brooklyn. I also blame “taste” and its lockstep pressure. There’s a really good Ariana Reines poem about this whole taste and culture and belonging thing, it turns out!