Today is a big day for Brooklyn! A native son, three borough residents, and one co-opted band have albums coming out today.
Bed Stuy rapper/mogul Jay-Z releases American Gangster, an album of original music inspired by the movie. It’s his second release in a year—this is retirement?—and if the box office is any indication (and the 1.5 million copies he sold of his last album, Kingdom Come), this one is going straight to the top of the charts.
The band from Iceland—the eighth borough!—Sigur Ros release Heima/Hvarf-Heim, a movie and double-cd campanion album. The band traveled all around Iceland to use their homeland as a backdrop for their performances of songs from each of their four albums. The companion CD is a collection of rarities and unplugged versions of their favorites songs. If the barrista at your local coffee shop is looking especially glum today, let it go.
On the other side of the legitimacy spectrum is aspiring rapper Statik Selektah. According to his myspace page, he lives in “Crooklyn,” but he isn’t a native. Originally from Lawrence, Mass., this former DJ cut his teeth at WPEA, the Phillips Exeter Academy radio station, before moving on to Hot 97.7 and later Sirius Radio. Since relocating to New York, he’s made some fast friends. He’s only 25, but his debut album, Spell My Name Right, features appearances by Q-Tip, Jadakiss, Slum Village, Talib Kweli, and about 20 other rap and hip-hip performers, and it’s coming out on his own label. Who knew, but Phillips Exeter even creates overly ambitious rappers.
Amani Coppola—no relation to those other Coppolas—is one of those, “you may remember me from such hits as …” pop stars, or at least she likes to claim to be. The Brooklyn resident had a hit in 1997 with “Legend of a Cowgirl.” Since then, she has released 7 albums independently through her Web site. (Yay, DIY!) Well, her latest, The Black & White Album, is being distributed by Ipecac Recordings (Isis, Dalek, Nothern State) and its first single, “RainDrops From the Sun,” a hip-hop influenced, TLC-like R&B ballad, was used in a Grey’s Anatomy episode recently. (Don’t knock it! Feist made some hay doing the same.)
And last, but not least, of our Brooklyn musicians is Bear in Heaven, a psychedelic noise rock band straight out of the Oneida mold (which is not a bad thing). Their first album, Red Bloom of the Boom, is being released by Hometapes. And if Oneida’s trajectory is indicative of future success, welcome to the honeymoon period, gentlemen, you have seven albums, give or take two, before people outside of Brooklyn know who you are.