Now that the initial furor over the N.Y.C. music scene resurgence is dying down, the original scenemakers need more than hype to shift units. Unsurprisingly, the jury is still out on whether these bands can actually remain popular in the absence of hipster buzz. While the Strokes and Interpol produced competent second records that neither expanded nor diminished their core sounds, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' sleeper hit "Maps" was a vast departure from (and improvement upon) its usual art-punk spazzouts.
Longwave found itself drowning in Strokes comparisons after its major-label debut, The Strangest Things. In reality, the disc perfected the art of Americanized Britpop, thanks to Steve Schlitz's moping-around-on-a-rainy-day vocal yearning and shimmering guitars etched with corrugated melodies. Moreover, last year's emotionally piercing EP Life of the Party, and a new track streaming on www.longwavetheband.com -- "River (Depot Song)," a spiraling epic somewhere between U2's grandiose statements and the Doves' sparkling layers -- demonstrate Longwave's commitment to expansive creativity.