Local News: New Yorker critic disses own city

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“I don’t think, in the last 20 years, New York has exactly been on fire in terms of putting out music.”

It’s probably the last thing you’d expect to hear from the music critic at The New Yorker, but Sasha Frere-Jones believes a rise in the city’s rental costs is commensurate to the quality of music coming out of the Big Apple right now.

“It became so fucking expensive,” he told FL ahead of an appearance at the Melbourne Writers Festival this weekend, “and good music is almost always going to be correlated with reasonable rents. That’s just not something you can find almost anywhere in New York City now. We do have some good bands, but a lot of them came from other places. We used to have bands from people who grew up here, like Beastie Boys and Liquid Liquid. It used to be you could all live together in a loft.”

Frere-Jones, who has been The New Yorker’s pop critic since 2004, said that while music from New York was once important to him, his listening habits have never been defined by geography.

“I don’t like or not like bands because of where they’re from,” he said. “When I think of the records that changed my life, they’re spread all over the map. I mean, Grace Jones was massive for me as a kid. Killing Joke. Bad Brains are New York sort of, but they’re really from DC. I think the most important New York band was probably Liquid Liquid.”

The full interview with Frere-Jones, including his take on Australian music (hint: he likes AC/DC), will be published on FL tomorrow.

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