It’s hard to imagine a band in New York right now hotter than the Brooklyn What. Their long-awaited third album, Hot Wine is one of the year’s best, and they’ve been playing shows at a furious pace, recently opening for punk legends the Dead Milkmen at Bowery Ballroom (which is up for free download at NYC Taper - OMFG). Fans of the band also know that they share members not only with hard-hitting powerpop band New Atlantic Youth, but that guitarist John-Severin Napolillo also has a side project, John-Severin & the Quiet 1s. Back in 2009, they made a kick-ass ep, Get Quiet, which is still available as a free download at their Bandcamp page. You should grab it while it’s still available.
For what it’s worth, it’s interesting that three of the four tracks bring to mind early Joy Division, at least until the killer choruses kick in. The angst-fueled Prince St. blasts along with Napolillo’s jagged chords shedding sparks over the pummeling bass and drums of his Brooklyn What bandmates Doug Carey and Jesse Katz – the tune is straight-up classic Ramones but the production and the lyrics are completely in the here and now.
Jackie-O Rose opens with a couple of memorably brooding, low-key verses before kicking into a long interlude that sounds an awful lot like Transmission. Riot Queue juxtaposes frenetic, slashing chords on the verse against a classic powerpop chorus: “I might be a bit of a cynic but you don’t even know what you’re fighting for,” Napolillo intones. The last song, Autumn, Come On – a co-write with Yelena Kolova – is the genuine classic here, working its way up from a wickedly catchy, brooding 60s psychedelic folk-rock sway. “I’ll be basking in the moonlight til the sun comes down,” Napolillo asserts, cynical but undeterred. In addition to being a tremendously good guitarist, Napolillo is a nonchalantly strong singer and lyricist – which comes as no surprise considering the other band he’s in.