Trans-Decade Express

NYC Rocks Down to Electro Avenue

"Larry Tee is the P.T. Barnum of New York," says Fischer. "He manufactured something out of thin air."

"Honestly," says Fischerspooner's Casey Spooner, "I am thankful. There was nowhere to go out three years ago. Now it's so crowded, you don't want to go there!"

Chronically boring Top 40 America could also use a jolt of these body-rocking beats. The city's electro revival could easily spark a long, national wave of white ankle boots, asymmetrical haircuts, and synthesizers. "From beginning to burnout, we have a good four more years," predicts Tee. "We haven't hit mainstream America yet."

Soviet at Kitsch Inn.
Photos by Cary Conover and Shulamit
Soviet at Kitsch Inn.

Electro isn't alienating or alien like techno or drum'n'bass. It's sexy and radio-friendly and could be ripe for a crossover hit. "I think the biggest single reason why electro is getting big now is that people with guitars are starting to accept synthesizers again and people with synthesizers are starting to accept melodies, vocals, and pop arrangement," says Selway. "Before, generally if you mixed vocals with techno it turned into something commercial. It was considered cheesy to have anything more than a few vocals."

"The new generation has nothing to do with raves and techno," agrees Silver. "They are more open in a way because they come from rock and roll."

W.I.T. at Kitsch Inn

Apparently, the bidding wars have already begun. Fischerspooner have signed to Ministry of Sound, reportedly for $2 million (they were mum on the price). And Soviet and W.I.T. are being trailed by a&r reps.

"It's very reminiscent of grunge and Nirvana," says Fischer. "All those multi-album deals happened in the middle of that hype. It's very similar."

And it doesn't hurt that some of these groups have attractive members, like Soviet's lead singer Keith Ruggiero and the girls of W.I.T., a trio dolled up in short skirts, nipple-baring blazers, fishnets, and gravity-defying stilettos, coolly lip-synching over DAT recordings that snap and crackle. "The stars of the genre, you can look at them and think, 'Yeah, I want to fuck them.' They all have really distinct identities," says Tee.

"The clothes, the makeup, the whole thing. It's a little youth movement," says Silver. Suddenly, he says, "everyone's looking to New York for the first time in a long time."

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