02/12/16 1:06pm
Via Flickr user Matthew Glasson.

Via Flickr user Matthew Glasson.

Hello, friends and lovers. Valentine’s Day is uponst us. It’s a day that means a lot of things for a lot of people: you could be snuggling up with your sweetheart, swiping left and right on Tinder, or drowning your single sorrows in half a pint of Chunky Monkey and a fifth of whiskey. Whatever it is you’re doing, you need music, right? So we here at Brokelyn have compiled not one, but TWO playlists for your Valentines-y, Spotify-ing pleasure: one of love songs to help set the mood, and one of break-up songs to help ease your pain. They’re comprised entirely of songs by current Brooklyn bands who understand the particular brand of borough-based love and heartbreak. (more…)

02/10/16 9:43am
The Big Quiet, photo via Unblinking Ear Records.

The Big Quiet, photo via Unblinking Ear Records.

Marisa Cerio, frontlady of Williamsburg-based Big Quiet says that the best way to get started in music is just to make noise on whatever you have, be it chains or a guitar or a flock of semi-aquatic birds. And she’s worth listening to: her band Big Quiet is releasing a special fancy colored 7-inch record this year on their label, Unblinking Ear. You can also listen to their jangly-poppy music on Spotify, which is pretty rad. Apparently, they also have a large Nova Scotian fan base (I hear they have great smoked salmon over there) and Marisa has had enough bras thrown at her while playing that she hasn’t had to go lingerie shopping in quite some time. As someone who also wears bras, I can attest that lingerie shopping is v. annoying. Cerio talked to us about how her band go to the bra-throwing point. (more…)

02/09/16 10:52am
The NYC natives in The Prettiots herald dark-cute music.

The NYC natives in The Prettiots herald dark-cute music.

This week, we talk to Kay Kasperhauser of Brooklyn-based duo The Prettiots, recommended for fans of ukuleles, Sylvia Plath, temporary tattoos, Elliot Stabler and temporary tattoos of Elliot Stabler.

The Prettiots are comprised of Kasperhauser, who grew up in the West Village, and Lulu Landolfi, who was raised in Brooklyn. Their debut album, Funs Cool,  came out Friday on Rough Trade records. If you were smart enough to preorder it, you got a sweet Prettiots lip gloss AND a sheet of temporary tattoos hand drawn by Kay. And let’s just say this: they are adorable. Their music is sweet and fun, but with an often heart-wrenchingly honest voice that speaks to dealing with the darkness in the world. They also have an amazing dream pop Misfits cover with “Skulls,” and the world’s premiere love song about a fictional TV detective in pop ballad “Stabler.” (more…)

02/02/16 8:55am
Emily Wells shows a lot of "Promise."

Emily Wells shows a lot of “Promise.” Photo by Shervin Laines via Shore Fire Media.

Greetings! I, Lilly Vanek, am here with the triumphant return of New Music Tuesday, where we introduce you to the best new music out of Brooklyn every week. I’m attempting to fill the boots of the illustrious Kelly McClure (no pressure or anything). So I was stoked to get to write about Bushwick-based classically trained violinist/vocalist turned one-woman band Emily Wells, whose new album, Promise, dropped Friday. She plays all the instruments herself, and even released her fifth and latest record on her very own label, Thesis and Instinct records. She is also just a generally rad person. (more…)

01/27/16 8:00am
Photo by Andrew Piccone Photography

Photo by Andrew Piccone Photography

It’s our second installment of Musicians Talk Making It, where we sit down with a local Brooklyn musician to talk about how they found some traction in the local scene. It’s where we tap someone who’s had some success to share advice on getting started, tips for saving dough, borrowing equipment and triple cheese pizza. This week we talk with Bushwick-based Katie Capri vocalist/ guitarist of Fern Mayo, recommended for fans of 90’s indie pop, riot grrrl, and classic teen horror film Jawbreaker, from which they get their name. (Full disclosure: Capri also used to write occasionally for this very website, where she discovered pizza beer, so you know you can trust her taste.) (more…)

01/13/16 12:00pm
Photo by Vee Hertel.

CUTTERS photo by Vee Hertel.

We live in a city rife with creativity. Creativity takes many forms: from your cousin’s girlfriend selling her homemade succulent necklaces at Rock n Shop, to your friend’s theatre company doing a minimalist production of Macbeth in a shipping container, to all kinds of music.  If you want to put your own music out there, it can be daunting to even think about starting to play out, whether you are an experienced guitar player or you played the autoharp at Pete’s Candy Store’s open mic that one time.

So we at Brokelyn decided that we’d start doing this thing where we sit down with a real, live, New York City musician and ask them how they got started, to prove that it’s not so scary out there. And, because we’re Brokelyn, how much it cost to “make it.” So, for this inaugural round of Musicians Talk Making It, we sat down with Pierce Lightning, lead singer of Brooklyn-based band CUTTERS, who call themselves “survival punk” because they use music as a coping mechanism.  (more…)

11/23/15 10:20am
The Way Station is one of the city's best free venues to book and has room for your giant stand up bass. via Flickr user The All-Nite Images

The Way Station is one of the city’s best free venues to book and has room for your giant stand up bass. via Flickr user The All-Nite Images

Imagine that you’re a musician in New York City, home of 8,000 bands trying to play the same venues, and someone approaches YOU on the Internet, saying they like YOUR music and want YOU to play a show. How cool is that?! Pretty cool. But you look again at the email. It’s actually a booking company that expects you to sell a certain amount of tickets. They are unclear about what will happen if you don’t sell enough tickets, but they ask that you sign an “e-contract” stating that you WILL sell tickets AND YOU’LL LIKE IT!

There are some venues in New York City that host what are known as pay-to-play gigs: a venue will say to an artist, “you can play here, but only if you agree to sell X number of tickets. Plus, you’ll be on the hook for whatever money you don’t make if you DON’T sell X number of tickets.” But there is an alternative. There are tons of places in the city where you can play a show for free. We’ve put together a list of NYC’s best venues for local musicians that won’t make you pay just to get on the stage, along with some tips on booking a show. (more…)

11/02/15 3:23pm
tk Pell

Pell has come all the way from NOLA to entertain you, but he’s just the tip of the iceberg this month

In case anyone forgot, we live in New York City, home of some of the best live music in the world. But almost no one has all the money it takes to see all 80 million shows that take place on any given night. Plus, 80 million is a lot to keep track of. So, because we’re helpful, we’ve put together this handy list of this month’s best shows. And since we’re Brokelyn, they’re all under $10 and in your neck of the woods…unless you live in, like, Queens or something. (Brokelyn note: we don’t actually have anything against Queens. That’s where they keep Trans-Pecos) (more…)

08/13/15 9:46am
Mm hmm yeah thanks for the advice. Glockabelle photo by Nate Dorr.

Mm hmm yeah tell me more of your opinions. Glockabelle photo by Nate Dorr.

My mom was a drummer in a 90s girl band, which played everywhere from my hometown of Baltimore to CBGB to Woodstock ‘94 (I was five; I stayed with my grandparents and got the chicken pox. It was almost exactly like seeing Trent Reznor covered in mud). At one gig, two roadie dudes waited eagerly to meet the band’s drummer. “Where is he?” they asked. Instead of correcting them right away, my skinny blonde mother, set up the drum set as dudes looked on confused. They had just had it when she asked them to scamper down to Rite Aid to grab her a box of maxi pads. When she finally went on stage, their jaws dropped as they realized they’d been helping the drummer the whole time. (Also, pro Brokelyn tip from mom: maxi pads make great low-budget drum mufflers).

So this was back in the 90s; you may think women’s visibility in music has improved, but, no — even here in New York City, one of the most progressive cities in the world, women have to wade through the daily muck of harassment, especially as they’re first getting their start on stage. Hell, even Bjork and Solange have to wade through the bullshit, often not getting credit for their work the way a guy would. We rounded up a sampling of the best local (and people who play locally a lot) lady musicians to collect musings on trying, and failing, to be taken seriously as a musician and a woman.

Here’s some shit people have said to lady musicians, and what they had to say back. (more…)

03/20/15 12:38pm
The many genres of broke

Broke unity transcends genres so beautifully

The rent may be too damn high, but music is practically free these days. If that’s not enough to cheer you up, we’ve made a special playlist about living large on whatever you can find in your couch, a time-honored NYC tradition. We’ve got some Velvet Underground, some Liz Phair, and of course some Cee Lo. Twenty years ago, we would have had to mail every single reader a mix tape to share this playlist, and do you have any idea how much broker that would have made us?

(more…)