The roots of New York’s Stringer go back to December 12, 2012, to a 24-hour noise show at the beloved, now-defunct Brooklyn DIY venue Shea Stadium. That’s where Max Kagan and Mark Fletcher first met each other, kicking off years of collaborating in different forms. Once known as Heeney, Fletcher and Kagan have been playing as Stringer since late 2015, along with drummer Johnny Spencer and bassist Riley Zimmer — a group linked by their DIY rock proclivities as well as their love for “drinking at old man bars that open at 8 AM.” Now, the band’s gearing up to release their debut album My Bad.
With both Kagan and Fletcher being native New Yorkers, they’ve got deep roots in a particular corner of NYC’s DIY scene. My Bad was produced by Adam Reich, who’s in the So So Glos, but who also founded Shea Stadium and used to play in Titus Andronicus. Over the years, Stringer have played with those acts and other fellow Brooklyn artists like Porches. Fittingly enough, their new single “Ghosts” is a ragged, punk-y garage rock song that grapples with the changes in their hometown and people’s perceptions of it. Here’s what Kagan had to say about the track:
“Ghosts” is a song about growing up in New York, watching your city change and feeling nostalgic for the “good ole days,” while at the same time being resentful of those all too familiar complaints, the tired observations and the cottage industry that is New York nostalgia. The irony is not lost on us that the song is full of tired observations and familiar complaints while also being a commercial product itself, consisting of ruminations about the New York of old. Really makes ya think, but you shouldn’t think you should jump around and smash things.
“Ghosts” is a scraggly rocker, fittingly sardonic given the layers of irony Kagan pointed out. “What do they really want now/ Do they want to hear the sounds of a dying scene/ Or do they want to see New York in a gallery,” Kagan roars in the chorus, but there are a bunch of other memorable lines if you’re the type who gets lost in those same contradictory feelings of being nostalgic, but also over nostalgia, and realizing the latter is as much a trope as the former.