Named a Best Book of 2017 by NPR and GQ
Joining the ranks of the classics Please Kill Me, Our Band Could Be Your Life, and Can't Stop Won't Stop, an intriguing oral history of the post-9/11 decline of the old-guard music industry and rebirth of the New York rock scene, led by a group of iconoclastic rock bands.
In the second half of the twentieth-century New York was the source of new sounds, including the Greenwich Village folk scene, punk and new wave, and hip-hop. But as the end of the millennium neared, cutting-edge bands began emerging from Seattle, Austin, and London, pushing New York further from the epicenter. The behemoth music industry, too, found itself in free fall, under siege from technology. Then 9/11/2001 plunged the country into a state of uncertainty and war--and a dozen New York City bands that had been honing their sound and style in relative obscurity suddenly became symbols of glamour for a young, web-savvy, forward-looking generation in need of an anthem.
Meet Me in the Bathroom charts the transformation of the New York music scene in the first decade of the 2000s, the bands behind it--including The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, LCD Soundsystem, Interpol, and Vampire Weekend--and the cultural forces that shaped it, from the Internet to a booming real estate market that forced artists out of the Lower East Side to Williamsburg. Drawing on 200 original interviews with James Murphy, Julian Casablancas, Karen O, Ezra Koenig, and many others musicians, artists, journalists, bloggers, photographers, managers, music executives, groupies, models, movie stars, and DJs who lived through this explosive time, journalist Lizzy Goodman offers a fascinating portrait of a time and a place that gave birth to a new era in modern rock-and-roll.
From the clubs of New York's Lower East Side to the warehouses of Williamsburg--a time that changed music, and the city, forever.
As the twentieth century drew to a close, New York City felt played out as a cultural capital. A flood of new money had turned downtown into a museum of what used to be cool, a playground for bankers and the dot-com crowd. If you wanted the rock-and-roll life, New York City was the last place you'd move. And yet, in the decade that followed, it would serve as the stage for a radical pop-cultural renaissance. How exactly did this happen?
In this riveting oral history told by those who were actually there, playing the music, pouring the drinks, signing the checks, and writing the cover stories, journalist Lizzy Goodman chronicles the rebirth of New York rock. In the early 2000s, the Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Interpol, the Moldy Peaches, LCD Soundsystem, and others, who had been honing their craft in obscurity, suddenly became reflections of a newly flush, newly booming town determined to recover from the devastation of September 11. As kids around the world began to dress like they'd been thrifting on Avenue A, it became clear that New York had not only reclaimed its signature rock-and-roll swagger, but had also exported this new incarnation of American cool globally. A second generation was eagerly waiting in the wings: Franz Ferdinand, the Killers, and Kings of Leon, who'd all but given up on breaking out of their provincial corners of the world, got the message that rock was back, and used grotty New York clubs as launching pads on their way to selling out arenas around the world.
Meet Me in the Bathroom explores how during this era the music industry was dismantled and then reborn via technology--first by Napster and later iTunes--and how traditional publications like Rolling Stone and Spin were pushed to compete with evangelist bloggers typing feverishly in their underwear, as well as with edgier journalistic upstarts like Vice and Pitchfork. Meanwhile, as the reshaping of the city--technological, aesthetic, cultural, and physical--spread from downtown Manhattan to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, bands like MGMT, Vampire Weekend, TV on the Radio, Grizzly Bear, and Dirty Projectors became the new stars, remaking the idea of New York in their own nerdy image, and helping ensure "I heart Brooklyn" would become the mantra of a new generation.
Crafted from nearly two hundred original interviews and curated by a writer who remembers the hangovers herself, Meet Me in the Bathroom follows in the great tradition of the beloved classic Please Kill Me by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain. Charting the first decade of the 2000s in all its epic and reckless glory, here is a brilliant portrait of a city, an industry, and a generation on the verge of seismic change.
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