field report no.101116

LOCATION: National Sawdust BK.NY
SUBJECT: Arto Lindsay

By about the beginning of October it was set that I would, after almost 11 years. be leaving NYC. Luckily, fall is the best of the New York concert seasons, so I was able to set up a great farewell lap before driving into the sunset. 

There are a handful of artists who embody 'New York' to me. When you hear Arto Lindsay's effortless bridging of the divide between pop and the avant garde, it makes perfect sense that he started in the Lower East Side, downtown music scene of the late-70s. That same melange brought us everyone from Sonic Youth and Talking Heads to John Zorn and Glenn Branca. His songs are unpretentiously nerdy, unironically sultry and (at times) unapologetically abrasive. 

Arto's guitar style is deceptively naive: a practiced but entirely alternate way of playing a familiar instrument. Instead of chords or notes, he operates in atonal blocks and sharp punctuations. It throws his songs—which are steeped in Brazilian pop and R&B slow jams—into stark relief. The songs are still alluring, even with the full band sound and downtempo undercarriage stripped away. More jagged, they also evoke the big city sleaze oozed by The Velvet Underground's early work.

NOTES: Arto Lindsay, solo