The setting: Brooklyn, New York's ultra-hip, bohemian-wannabe Williamsburg neighborhood. It's the first year of the 21st Century.
Manhattan's "fashionable brats" are just starting to piss a lot of purist hipsters off following the release of their debut Is This It, which of course is just the regurgitation of some Lou Reed or Television or Iggy Pop record, right? And it's making the elite gag and the media drool. The Strokes go on to conquer the world anyhow.
Next up: the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. "Man, have you seen them? That one chick is hot. I mean, really fucking hot." And so another buzz is born. Fashionable but damaged enough to elude underground dissing, the sex-oozing Brooklyn trio would go on to prove genuinely gifted and eventually get on MTV (where all the gifted go, am I wrong?). Mainstream appeal, fashionable and buzzing? How'd they avoid getting dissed? Have you seen them? That chick is hot.
Speaking of Karen O who, beyond being hot, is very, very talented her boyfriend is Angus Andrew from Brooklyn art-punk band Liars, who actually aren't really art-punk anymore but experimental or electronic or avant-garde or something. Let's just settle on experimental it's a good catchall.
You haven't forgotten our setting, have you? Williamsburg, 2001, Liars, still art-punk and happy about it. They're making spastic, wiry, enormously powerful stuff complete with this thrilling, booming rhythm section. But they're surrounded by all this weirdness (not to mention the event they may or may not have named their debut record, They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top after). They're bombarded by all this gabby gabbing about the rebirth of rock 'n' roll in New York. To top it off, the irksome, reality-distorting media are clawing away; it's kinda creepy. But, for now, they're still relatively unknown the spotlight's glare hasn't caught them yet (phew). And, hey, you know what? They're not gonna let it they don't wanna have nothin' to do with it, nothin'.
Karen can deal with all that but not me, not me. The threat is growing and the masses are accepting edgier stuff (relatively speaking) people are actually starting to anticipate our next record. People are talking about us, I don't like it what's mine is mine and they can't take that away from me. But they might. Well, then, we're just gonna have to do something different something difficult; something that'll scrape away the fakers, the short-lived rock revivalists that'll soon move on to something else anyway. We are not going to be part of some trendy comeback bullshit, no way, not us. Let's make something tough, avant-garde maybe, dissonant for sure. Forget the dominant bass and grounding beats we need some riotous noise. That'll get rid of those trend-seeking vampires. We're not like them we're different, we really are, we're different.
And so They Were Wrong, So We Drowned was born. Built mostly on repetition, the new album explores the capacities of noise and quirky effects. Featuring everything from Atari-like laser shooting sounds to droning keyboards and twirping birds to terrorized howls and artificial robotic beats. Interesting and artistically inclined? For sure. Mind-blowing as their debut? Not so much.
But, hey, we get the point.