By Maria Gotay
We at Bushwick Daily are proud to announce the second coming of Bushwick-based radio station, Newtown Radio! With a whole new website, blog, and weekly live series, the station has re-marketed itself as a force to be reckoned with, in Brooklyn and beyond. I visited their studio over on Meserole street, which was nestled into a dark warehouse neighboring The Wick, one of the hood’s most buzzed-about new venues. I talked to Colin Ilgen, who runs the station with two partners, Mark Brinda and Tariq Abdus-Sabur, as he discussed Newtown’s history and future.
The idea of Newtown was conceived by Mark upon returning back to New York from a surfing trip in Costa Rica about three years ago. Founded in a place of calm, the stations current reputation is anything but excellent. The guys rented out their studio and got the ball rolling by bringing fresh, tasteful, and local music to the masses.
The station now is run by 20-30 weekly DJs and boasts over 20 shows playing a huge variety of music and ranging drastically in theme. The shows are like podcasts, except they are in real time, and they are both sassy and informative, with titles to match. I Have Always Found You Extremely Attractive, which runs on Sundays from 7-9pm and features a blend of soulful music- from electronic to r&b and shoegaze with an uplifting energy. Crust Never Sleeps is a Monday-night punk and hardcore installment which often features live performance and is always laden with satirical commentary. Most interesting is their show The Tesla Effect, which describes itself as a “venue for audio storytellers and sound artists, an opportunity to build, to experiment, to explore with sound and narrative.” Indeed, the show samples a range of sounds and audio effects, in a scattered narrative form that is both interesting, impressive, and unlike anything I’ve heard on the radio before.
The station streams 24/7, and when no DJ is actively spinning, there are intensely concocted playlists, featuring a menage of local Brooklyn musicians, hot tracks off of a large collection of indie music blogs they scour, and “undiscovered classics”- sometimes strange, sometimes feel-good, but always quality tracks off from obscure vinyls.
Revamping the Newtown Sessions is the station’s new vision for providing high-quality in-studio recordings from A-list indie musicians on the air. The first ever session was a stream of New York’s Phillip Seymour Hoffman performing and aired in the summer of 2010, and soon after featured guests from MillionYoung to Secret Colors.
More recently, Newtown Sessions has gathered steam as a forum for live performances. First of all, they moved recording to Swan 7‘s recording studios, which has done wonders for the sound. Secondly, they’ve attracted big names such as Minks, The Beets, and Lower Dens to do sessions. Most recently the featured Bushwick’s own lo-fi psychadelic dreamweavers DIVE, whose session you can watch on youtube.
All in all, it’s pretty clear that Newtown is filling a Brooklyn-wide niche as an internet radio station that has its sights set as much more than that. They are picking up and taking their recording equipment down to SXSW starting tomorrow where they will be streaming three live showcases, including two showcases with IMPOSE magazine plut a Death+Taxes / Solid Gold PR day party. For all of you who wish you could experience South By first hand, here’s a pretty good way to pretend you’re there, all from a livestreaming website. The first Impose party streams Wednesday night and will feature anny Brown, Mr. eXquire, Main Attracktionz and more. Thursday Afternoon hear Young Prisms, Caveman and more at Death + Taxes showcase. Lastly, Impose’s indie party will stream live featuring Dirty Beaches, Crocodiles and Bleeding Rainbow, along with a handful of other wildcard goodies.
Back in Brooklyn they are hosting an official “re-coming out” party on March 31st at 319 Scholes, where they will be ” throwing down with two floors full of aural goodness” featuring some allstar DJs, bands, and of course, the coolest DJs around.