Laura Stevenson and The Cans

It’s amazing how little exaggeration is needed to make a statement like, “When you get out of a cab in Williamsburg, Brooklyn they damned near hand you a guitar.” That former warehouse district is teeming, I mean teeming like insects hatching, with musicians. There have to be at least 200 musical acts—solos, duos, quartets and the rest—now residing in Billyburg. Of course this influx of beautiful artisans—I call the J train, the only subway line from Manhattan to Williamsburg, “The Fashion Train,” because all the riders are shrewishly examining each other’s purses, shoes, etc. etc. etc.—has caused rents to shoot up so Bed Sty may become the new Williamsburg before too long. Meanwhile, when I go to SXSW every year I proudly count all the Brooklyn bands that made it through the increasingly difficult selection process for SXSW. This year there were perhaps less than last year but still more than any other city. On Saturday night at SWXSW 2011 I happen to walk in on one, Laura Stevenson and The Cans that was excellent. Laura can genuinely sing, the original material which tends to start slow and build to a climax in nearly every tune, is well–played and solidly crafted. Her seven piece band, who’ve obviously been on the road honing the stuff down, work in a indie rock, alt country, punk rock vein. Several pieces of interesting percussion instruments headed by a small xylophone add interest. At SXSW in what is essentially a sea of indie rock bands, Laura and her band really stood out. Her latest record, Sit Resist comes out in April on New Jersey’s Don Giovanni Records.

Ariel Bitran's picture
i saw a duane reade the other day.

a big fancy one too...
I hear more kids in bed-stuy talking about organic foods and rolling tobacco and reverb than billyburg now.

the funny thing is that the hipsters in bedstuy now despise the commercialization that is happening along the alleys and waterfronts of billyburg -- as some sort of encroachment on what used to be their sacred territory

what they fail to realize is that they are the cause. not the mommys and daddys and carriages and duane reades.

people follow the cool. deal with it if u wanna be cool. or just move to flatbush. that's real living.

MikeMercer's picture

Bring a Brooklyn boy - it was AMAZING watching Willyburg and Greenpoint get gentrified (though much of it was very cool) and I also heard about Bed Stuy too! Being in California now - it's great to read and always hear about Brooklyn bands cuttin' through...

Good for Phile for covering SXSW - I haven't been back there in years!!!