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‘Now NY – A True Groove Curated N.Y.C. Band Compilation’ Reviewed

Now NY


The recently released ‘Now NY – a True Groove Curated N.Y.C. Band Compilation’ is a collection of music curated by guitarist and producer Tomás Doncker and released on his label True Groove, that he founded in 2014. The hand-picked compilation could be described as a sort of answer to ‘No New York’, an album produced by Brian Eno in1978 and featuring Lydia Lunch and James Chance and the Contortions, now regarded as the definitive document of New York’s no wave movement.

Decades later, Doncker adopts the same attitude and wants to convince us that current NY music artists are more vibrant, diverse and fascinating than ever. While scouring the New York scene with the help of True Groove’s executive producer and curator Marla Mase and engineer-producer James Dellatacoma, he is on a mission to showcase up and coming artists. ‘Now NY’ gathers 13 songs by 13 different artists which obviously gives to the album a very eclectic taste. I was just barely familiar with a few of these names, and unless being deeply versed in New York contemporary music scene, there are a lot of chances this album will fill a valuable gap in our pop-chart-infested culture.

From Touchy Feely’s strong vocals over fuzz-out funky post-punk production of ‘1.2.3.’ to Marla Mase’ s melodic protest rock song with a heavy-theme ‘A Gun’, the tone is given since the first tracks, the album is an ode to diversity of genres by showcasing an impressive range of styles, from rock, pop to hip hop.

This is truly an album to discover this fully-alive NY scene that few people have heard of, and it’s so easy to fall in love with many tracks while getting lost between a few of them. There is so much to explore, from retro-rocker Lost Boy?‘s anxious-bluesy ‘Cocaine L.a.’, to Logan X’s distorted-pop tune ‘Do You Wanna Make Out’, God Tiny’s ‘70s psychedelic howling drama ‘I Wanna Be Free’, Garrison Hawk’s experimental scary reggae-rock ‘The Agony’, Diane & The Gentlemen’s heartfelt folk-pop with a ‘60s touch ‘Boyfriend’, LGBTQ cult film director Dylan Mars Greenberg’s sweet pop ‘The Dreamer’, or even The Riot Oak’s ‘Dig Us Out’, a folksy tune as eerie as if Bjork was singing Radiohead, the scene sounds lively and gets even richer when completed by rappers Khalil Kain’s own old-school-rap-with-horns ‘Lil’ Duckie, and JSWISS’ hip-hop-over-R&B-lounge ‘Let Me Rock’.

If I had to pick two tracks it would be Woodhead’s ‘Boys Float’, which is not without reminding Bowie himself at times and Janelle Monae’s lead guitarist/songwriting partner Kelindo Parker’s ‘I Want You’, which, with its poignant strings, sounds like a Jesus Christ Superstar choir fronted by Prince’s guitar solo.

The album also features two debut releases, from Touchy Feely, which is often referred to as True Groove’s ‘Secret Weapon’ because of his remixes and unique garage funk concept production, and actor/rapper Khalil Kain, who has released his debut album on True Groove.

Finding valuable new music can sometimes be a difficult and barren endeavor, but producer Tomás Doncker, James Dellatacoma and Marla Mase have done the work for you, compiling the best of what NY’s current music scene has to offer in one place: ‘Now NY – a True Groove Curated N.Y.C. Band Compilation’… Listen below:

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