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For the longest time, any alt-rock music that emanated from New York City either sucked royally or was only moderately interesting. But during the late '90s, several indie bands with similar sensibilities sprouted, generating a big local buzz. By 2001, a cool new scene had been born (check out the regional compilation Yes New York for a worthwhile primer on less-visible acts like Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, the Walkmen, Calla and others). But one of the best Gotham groups to emerge lately is Longwave, which hitched a ride on the Strokes' hype train last year through an acclaimed opening tour slot (some people said Longwave blew the Strokes off the stage nightly). These young guys also favor shaggy manes and faded thrift-store jeans, but any Strokes similarities end there. If anything, Longwave's second disc, The Strangest Things, rivals Interpol in the rapturous sounds department. Singer/guitarist Steve Schiltz and guitarist Shannon Ferguson are effects-pedal nuts who craft dreamy, atmospheric guitar drones ("Wake Me When It's Over," "I Know It's Coming Someday") that'll make Swervedriver, early Cure and even Television fans wet their pants. Schiltz sings in a deadpan, Peter Murphy style about feeling desperate and insecure (various tunes describe "giving up," "red turning to black" and "kicking and screaming"). The exhilarating sonic tidal wave and assorted weird noises—what seem to be fast-forwarding tapes and buzzing insects—are amplified to fine effect by The Flaming Lips' producer du jour Dave Fridmann. The Strangest Things is the perfect partner for a round of late-night listening—go dig out those headphones.


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