Photo: Jay Hannah

Lou Reed practically invented it. Edie Sedgwick OD’d on it. Jim Carroll shot it up. Debbie Harry glamorized it. Thurston Moore dressed it down and rocked it out. The Strokes were the last ones in charge of it, using it to resurrect rock and roll. And now, like a joint making the rounds at a Bushwick loft party, New York Cool has been passed to Lissy Trullie, a 25-year-old ambisexual art student turned model turned dishwasher turned janitor turned D.J. turned future of New York rock.

Trullie was born in Washington, D.C., but at 16 moved with her mom to the city. She boarded at Walnut Hill, a performing-arts school outside Boston, then came back to New York to study graphic design at Parsons. Surrounded by a coterie of photographers and fine artists, Trullie played her fair share of avant-garde art openings, but it wasn’t long before she gravitated toward downtown rock kids. Her group of friends and collaborators includes Donald Cumming of the Virgins, fashion designer Chrissie Miller of Sophomore, Mark Ronson, and Adam Green, with whom she did a hilarious cover of Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend.” When Lissy started D.J.-ing weird rock-nerd singles by Roky Erickson at the Beatrice Inn (owner Paul Sevigny is another friend), her rock-chick status was cemented.

Recently she played the Mercury Lounge to celebrate her debut release, an EP called Self-Taught Learner, the cover of which features a hot-pants-clad female ass cribbed from a seventies porn mag. She took the stage dressed in her uniform—black leggings, towering heels, motorcycle jacket, strawberry-blonde bowl cut gently swaying with every emphatic guitar strum. In her low-timbered but feminine voice she took us through the flirtatious but world-weary “Money” and the delicate, desperate EP title track, originals that evoked the brittle austerity of our all-time New York rock favorites. The crowd of pretty, arty kids in vintage bomber jackets and fur-lined hats had been trading mix tapes of songs like this for years, dreaming of the moment—this moment—when they’d encounter their own generation’s reinvention of them.

Self-Taught Learner
Lissy Trullie.
American Myth Recordings.