Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Music journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie artists. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome. See my complete profile
A lot of artists will post an unofficial video for a song just so there will be something on YouTube that people can find while the real video is being completed. That's pretty much what Jimmy ValenTime had in mind when he posted this clip for his new single, "Movin' On Pt. 2." When he sent it to me, however, I loved it so much I suggested he make it the official video.
The clip features three minutes of subway ride through The Bronx, and while the song chronicles the way ValenTime, and guest emcee Carlos Ferragamo, dealt with high school hardships, and moved on from them, the video shows moving in a more literal way. It's a really cool parallel.
Enjoy this unique view of The Bronx while listening to "Movin' On Pt. 2," which is off of Jimmy ValenTime's Better Luck Tomorrow, and the next time you're on a train, put away your phone, and look out the window for a bit, you might be surprised at the beauty you'll find in the scenery.
Performing in front of hometown crowds always makes for a great night, but why limit yourself to just being a local hero? There’s an entire world out there, and there’s no reason you can’t be performing in front of international crowds.
One of the great bonuses of being an artist is having the opportunity to see the world. You may think you need a huge record deal and an international marketing team to make that happen, but in actuality, a plethora of indie artists have developed followings overseas all on their own. I spoke with nine indie artists who have international fanbases to find out how they’ve gone about attracting fans from overseas, and the steps they’ve taken to foster the continued growth of those fanbases while at home in the States.
This week's NYC Scene Report features singer-songwriter Rachael Sage succeeding with every “Try Try Try,” the sultry Saniyé looking to make a "Man Outta You," a political pop tune from Kiirstin Marilyn that’s taken directly from the “Headlines,” and a "Tragedy" from Clarence Bucaro.
* NYC singer-songwriter Rachael Sage is a force of nature, touring the entire world, and performing over 100 shows per year. Honestly, I have no idea how she finds the time to record, but I know she does, because she has a new album, titled Choreographic, due out May 20th.
The lead single off of Choreographic is "Try Try Try," and Sage says of the pop song, "I wrote ("Try Try Try") from a place of pure anticipation, in that moment where you've connected with someone immediately and all you feel is endless possibility, just being in each other's presence."
The track features a host of seasoned pros, as the backing musicians include members of Coldplay, as well as Adele's, Esperanza Spalding's, and Brandi Carlile's bands. Check it out, and give Rachael Sage a "Try Try Try."
* Last summer I featured the sultry sounds of Saniyé in this column. This summer she’s going to make a "Man Outta You."
Saniyé says of the jazzy, soulful, effort, "'Man Outta You' is about a woman playing with the idea of getting close with a stranger the very night she meets him. She craves the game. The song has that mysterious, modern TV drama, story-line. There is something mystical about this that is enticing to someone who is playing with love, as well as (the) luck of the moment.
Check out "Man Outta You," which will be on Saniyé's upcoming album, Let's Play, due out this June.
* Who says pop music can't be political? Kiirstin Marilyn certainly doesn't subscribe to that notion, as the video for her latest single, "Headlines," features imagery from the current presidential race, as well as many other topics that dominate our headlines.
As she whacks a pinata that dons Donald Trump's face, Marilyn sings of the nation’s headline obsession, "It's all for ratings, and I can't believe my mind." Is the fact that the pinata is a donkey, even though Trump is a republican, a representation of Trump being an ass, or is it an even bigger political statement that there's no difference between the parties? Check out the video, and decide for yourself.
* Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Clarence Bucaro has seen quite a lot during his international travels, which have included stops in Jerusalem, Cuba, Morocco, and Russia. Those experiences, combined with the influences of first time fatherhood, and the writings of Orhan Pamuk, and Asne Seierstad, has led to the creation of Bucaro's upcoming album, Pendulum.
Due out May 20th, via 2020 Records, Pendulum features a folk sound with pop and rock influences, and if you’re in the city you’ll be able to hear Bucaro perform it live at his album release show at Rockwood Music Hall on May 18th. If you aren’t in the city, you can still give the lead single, "Tragedy," a listen right here. It's full of worldly experience, and local heart.
For more of the best of NYC’s indie music scene, come back next Wednesday, and check out the archives for previous columns.
Welcome to your weekly dose of pop world musings. Covering all things pop culture, this week Pop Shots is hitting you with thoughts on everything from the passing of Prince, to everybody taking a pass on performing in North Carolina, to Maple Leif Garrett, aka Justin Bieber, nearly getting passed over for an NBA game, and since this is Pop Shots you know everything is seasoned with a little bit of attitude.
* The news that emotionally wrecked the entire music world this past week was that Prince passed away at the age of 57. This is yet another huge musical loss in 2016, which has already seen David Bowie, Phife Dawg, Merle Haggard, Maurice White, Paul Kantner, and Glenn Frey, pass away. Kevin Federline, however, is still alive, and attempting a comeback. Clearly we are being punished for something here.
* Pink has been announced as a performer for this year's Billboard Music Awards. The appearance will mark the TV debut of her new song, "Just Like Fire," which is from the upcoming Disney film, Alice Through the Looking Glass. I assume Pink’s performance will be protested by Smokey Bear.
* Pearl Jam became the latest act to cancel a concert in North Carolina, taking a stand against the state's anti-LGBT, laws. I still find it hilarious that the homophobes who don't want to share a bathroom with someone who's transgender are somehow completely oblivious to the fact that in those same bathrooms they're always a foot away from a man sticking out his penis.
* Want some news that is sure to "Blow Your Mind?" Gwen Stefani is bringing Eve on tour with her! While we all react with excitement to this news, how many texts from Drag-On do you think Eve's had to ignore since the announcement?
* In addition to touring, Gwen Stefani will also be picking up the Hero Award at this year's Radio Disney Music Awards. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed they don't refer to her as, "That woman from The Voice."
* Had the Cleveland Cavaliers' first round playoff series against the Detroit Pistons gone to five games, it would have bumped a Maple Leif Garrett (aka Justin Bieber) concert scheduled for April 26th at Quicken Loans Arena. If the Biebs had taken umbrage with that, I'm sure LeBron would have told him he could go and Kevin Love himself.
* In a handwritten letter posted to OneRepublic's website, frontman Ryan Tedder hinted that the band's next album may be on the way sooner rather than later. Being that this is OneRepublic we're talking about, I'm surprised the note wasn't 14 pages long, but with only one page that you really wanted to read.
* John Legend and Chrissy Teigen welcomed their first child into the world, a daughter they've named Luna. My only question is, if it was a boy, would they have named him Clif?
* Axl Rose will be taking over as the frontman for AC/DC, stepping in for Brian Johnson, who was forced to leave the band for fear of losing his hearing. Rose will be front and center for all of AC/DC’s remaining shows on their European, and US, tours. Being that this man basically ruined his own band, do you think he’ll go two for two in that department? This has horrible hit reality show written all over it.
* The Lumineers found themselves atop the Billboard 200 albums chart with their latest release, Cleopatra, moving 125,000 equivalent album units in its first week. The sales numbers prove folk rock fans are way more motivated than I’ve ever given them credit for.
* Finally, since I opened with Prince, I'll close with one of my favorite songs of his. Rest in peace to an all-time great.
And with that, my time is up for the week, but I'll be back next week with more shots on all things pop.
Gif the Griot is no stranger to this site, as he's an incredibly talented, and thought provoking, hip-hop artist who has been featured here numerous times. The other day he sent me a video for a new song he wrote titled "Lost with Dreams. The clip features a unique view, which, according to Gif, was a point of inspiration.
"(I) made this video with my cellphone shooting the Work Release program in the back of my house from my Kitchen window," he explained in a statement. "(It) got me thinking about freedom."
Check out the view, and check out the song, as once again Gif has given us plenty to ponder.
This week's NYC Scene Report features something "More" from synth pop trio SKYES, indie rockers Stone Cold Fox having Tunnel Vision, fellow indie rockers Hollis Brown performing a "Rain Dance," and hip-hop artist LiKWUiD letting us know "Love Ain't Easy."
* Brooklyn's SKYES have already made quite the name for themselves in the streaming world, with the title track of their upcoming EP, Quarks, having racked up nearly 150,000 listens on Spotify. Up next for the self-described psychedelic indie synth pop trio is the follow up single, "Give Me More."
After hearing "Give Me More," there's a good chance that might be your exact sentiment regarding the band. Lead singer Dallin has great vocal chops, and the song has a very cool gradual build to it.
We'll get even more SKYES when Quarks is released on May 6th. Until then, check out "Give Me More" right here.
* Stone Cold Fox is a four piece band hailing from Brooklyn that mixes genres, and eras, to create a unique brand of indie rock that feels classic, as well as current. That sound will be on full display on the band's upcoming EP, Tunnel Vision, which is due out April 29th.
In a statement, frontman Kevin Olken Henthorn said of the band’s creation process, “(The) tracks started as total rock songs, then turned into chilled electro songs, eventually finding (their) way somewhere comfortably in the middle.”
With Tunnel Vision on the way, and a huge show planned for May 7th at Mercury Lounge, Stone Cold Fox will be providing good times until the morning light all spring. With that in mind, check out their latest single, "Morning Light."
* April showers bring May flowers, and in the case of NYC indie rockers Hollis Brown, their "Rain Dance" will bring about a May residency at the LES bar Berlin.
"Rain Dance" is the latest video from Hollis Brown, and the band described the very international clip in a statement, saying, "'Rain Dance' is about everyone coming together. It's a movement song, so we decided what better way to show that than through the voice of our community. We asked our fans to get involved and gave them each a line and let them express it in their own unique way. What we got was an overwhelming response from people all over the world. We received submissions from the Netherlands, Italy, Japan, France, United Kingdom, Australia, and all across the USA. Music brings us all together, no matter what age, race, religion, occupation, sexual orientation, or personal beliefs, and that's the message we wanted to get across with this song."
In addition to the video for "Rain Dance," the band released an EP titled Cluster Of Pearls for Record Store Day on April 16th, and their residency at Berlin will see them at the LES venue every Wednesday throughout May. Check out "Rain Dance" for a taste of their style.
* Whether you feel love is a battlefield, love stinks, or you just want to know what love is, one thing's for sure, "Love Ain't Easy."
"Love Ain't Easy" is Brooklyn hip-hop artist LiKWUID's latest single, and on it she raps about love passed, love missed, and love sought after. Basically, if you're a human being, you're going to be able to relate to at least part, if not all, of this song.
Also featuring singer Husain Williams, "Love Ain't Easy" was produced by 2 Hungry Bros., and is the third single from LiKWUID's recently released album, Fay Grim (HiPNOTT Records). Click play, and give it a spin.
For more of the best of NYC’s indie music scene, come back next Wednesday, and check out the archives for previous columns.
B-Listers are a select group of artists that were featured in my Artist Of The Week series that ran every Monday from April of '06 to April of '11. All of these artists have two things in common; extreme talent, and a flight path far too under the radar for my liking. They took on the title of B-Listers as they embraced being featured by me, Adam B. Check out the AOTW Archives for all the interviews.