Savages Are the Band We’ve Been Waiting For

Photo courtesy of Press Here.

Each week, Lizzy Goodman guides you through the dirty streets of rock and roll.

I’m writing a book. It’s an oral history of rock and roll in New York City from 2001-2011, a sequel of sorts to the classic oral history of ’70s punk Please Kill Me. I’ve been working on it for a while, talking to artists who rose up in the early 2000s in New York, like the Strokes and Interpol, as well as to those who came a bit later in the narrative, like Vampire Weekend. A topic that keeps coming up in these conversations is the origin of originality, if that makes sense. When you’re asking people how it felt to be in the room when the Strokes played their now legendary residency at the Mercury Lounge in December of 2000, or what it was like watching Vampire Weekend play at Saint A’s on the Columbia campus in 2006, they all say the same thing: we knew something was happening but we didn’t know what it was. So how does that work, exactly? How does something new begin? And how do you know it when you see it?

You just do. That feeling — the spine-tingling, butterflies-in-the-stomach, visceral thrill you get when something connects — is really a combination of two seemingly contrasting emotions: familiarity and novelty. When you hear a great new band or see a painting that moves you or watch a film that makes an impact the feeling is one of both awe — How the hell did they do this? And intimacy — I know exactly what they mean.

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