The New York Loose (or NY Loose as they became more commonly known) came out of the New York rock scene of the 90s alongside bands like D-Generation. New York seems to pride itself on producing a particular strain of rock and roll --- street smart heartbreakers, black leather clad and effortlessly cool from Velvet Underground and The Ramones to Blondie and The Strokes. NY Loose were a band that seemed to have it all --- their lead singer, Brijitte West, combined a cocksure swagger with a certain sweetness backed by a band of able musicians who'd cut their teeth with the likes of The Throbs and Stiv Bators, and they had killer songs --- they sounded like a dream band, as if Debbie Harry was fronting The Ramones or New York Dolls. They released one album, Year of the Rat (which was brilliant), had a split single with Hole off The Crow soundtrack, garnered rave reviews and many fans, moved to L.A. then split up, which was nothing more or less than a musical tragedy.
Now Brijitte has reformed NY Loose with some new musicians and released this compilation album (available exclusively from Fading Ways music store online). It's a collection of B-sides, rarities and live tracks --- only a couple of tracks appear on their debut album. There are some great songs on here that swagger and snarl like Bitch and the country/punk hybrid of Lord Won't You Send Me A Devil. There's enough variety within the songs to keep them from sounding too simplistic but they still have the effortlessly cool riffs that make great rock and roll songs. And for every straightforward party song like Monolith Kids, there's a song with a darker edge like their biggest hit, Pretty Suicide or Fade (a heartbreaking ode to a friend with anorexia). This is a great album --- I hadn't heard most of the songs on it before as they were so hard to get hold of --- it's easily the equal of Year of the Rat (which in itself I regard as one of the greatest "lost" albums of all time) and proves NY Loose/Brijitte West still have a lot more to give.
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN MAY 2008.