Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome. See my complete profile
I first became aware of NYC rock band The Cosmic Coronas last year, and was finally able to see them live earlier this month when they had the release show for their new EP, The Grove, at Arlene’s Grocery.
After hearing the band’s recorded work I couldn’t wait to check them out in person, and I’m happy to report they did not disappoint.
Here are three reasons you should see The Cosmic Coronas live.
1. Lead Singer Alexa Lindberg has PIPES
The Cosmic Coronas opened their set with a very familiar cover, and as soon as I heard the first few notes I thought to myself, “It takes a set of brass balls to lead with this.” The “this” being Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit.”
While nobody else on the planet is Grace Slick, Coronas lead singer Alexa Lindberg nailed the song, and later in the show she nailed a cover of Elle King’s “Ex’s & Oh’s.”
When it comes to big, soaring, soulful, vocals, The Cosmic Coronas have ‘em.
2. They Embrace the Guitar Solo
At multiple times during the Coronas’ set they let their guitar players have time to shine, and shine they did.
The guitar solo has almost become a lost art, with the vast majority of bands opting to not stray from the recorded versions of their songs, and color within the lines, so to speak. The Cosmic Coronas aren’t afraid to let their musical crayon go outside the lines, and even off the page. There’s nothing standardized about their live show, and their guitar improvisation is a beautiful thing.
3. They Can Genre-Hop
With each member of the band having a wide repertoire of genres they can play, The Cosmic Coronas can seamlessly switch gears, and be a rock band, a soul band, a funk band, or a pop band, at any point during their set.
The vocals of Alexa Lindberg act as the thread that ties everything together, and because of this nothing sounds out of place.
To find out when, and where, The Cosmic Coronas are performing next, check out their Facebook page for show dates.
This week’s NYC Scene Report features the flute laced glam punk of J and the 9s, indie pop-rockers Late Night Episode talking about love, psych-pop trio Monogold getting “Naked,” and hip-hop artist Kalil Johnson embracing the concept of “Karma.”
* If you’re of the mindset that rock n roll should be fun, you’re gong to love Brooklyn-based band J and the 9s.
Describing themselves as “glam punk rock n roll with a flute,” the band released a new EP titled The Terrible Twos last week, the lead single off of which is “Love to Be.” The song rocks hard, and features a back and forth between a flute, and a guitar, the likes of which you probably haven’t heard since Jethro Tull.
Check out the video for “Love to Be.” If you’re anything like me, it will make you want to see J and the 9s live.
* Formed in the East Village, and having signed to Dirty Canvas (American Authors, Young Rising Sons) late last year, Late Night Episode is an indie pop-rock band that’s ready to “Talk About Love.”
“Talk About Love” is the first single off of Late Night Episode’s upcoming EP (release date TBD), and lead singer Daniel Lonner describes the song saying, "The name ‘Late Night Episode’ is a nod to high school nostalgia, and the song is about learning how to grow up – though I still have a bit to do. It was written in my parents’ basement."
Lots of great moments happen in people’s parents’ basements, and Late Night Episode’s “Talk About Love” qualifies as one of those moments. Give it a spin, and take a trip back to simpler times.
* Brooklyn-based indie psych-pop trio Monogold are getting “Naked” for their latest single. No, they aren’t covering the Methods of Mayhem classic “Get Naked” – and yes I said classic – “Naked” is the completely original song off of Monogold’s latest EP, Yolk.
Yolk is a prelude to the band’s next full length release, which is reportedly in the mixing process, and, according to the band, will “tackle the simple things: breastfeeding, giving birth, being born, sex, bugs, and more.”
While we wait for that, check out the creative video for “Naked,” which features two people looking for love in a blurry world.
* Kalil Johnson has been a prominent artist in NYC’s hip-hop scene for over a decade, and in that time he’s acquired plenty of good karma. Judging by his latest single, titled “Karma,” he’s also willing to admit that he’s acquired a bit of bad karma, as well.
As he raps the chorus, “Everything I give, I get back / Never blame a motherfucker for my mishaps,” it becomes clear that Johnson has a firm grasp on the reality that we’re all imperfect. It’s a radical notion in a world where, increasingly, everyone thinks they’re right all the time. It’s an even more radical notion in hip-hop, where plenty of emcees would rather brag about negative things than relate the realities of what those negative things can lead to.
I’ve been a fan of Kalil Johnson’s work for a very long time, and it’s great to hear him continue to release fantastic music. This one will definitely bring him some good “Karma.”
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 Katy Perry’s desire for a truce in her war with Taylor Swift, to Gene Simmons attempting to tell the world he owns the rights to a hand gesture, to Polish pop star Margaret’s new video game inspired music video, and since this is Pop Shots you know everything is seasoned with a little bit of attitude.
* Katy Perry has stated she’d like to call a truce with Taylor Swift. This MAY have something to do with Taylor completely hijacking Katy’s latest album release by choosing that exact date to finally put all of her own music on streaming services. I’m not-so-secretly hoping Taylor doesn’t accept this truce, as I want this war to culminate in her doing a cover of Westside Connection’s “Bow Down,” and a match at WWE’s SummerSlam.
* In more Katy Perry news, during her, “Look at me! Look at me! Pleeeease look at me!” live-stream of her life, Katy set aside some time to rank the bedroom skills of her exes, placing Diplo third amongst her former lovers. In response, Diplo claimed he doesn’t remember having sex with her. After hearing Diplo’s reply, Bill Cosby became a huge fan of Katy Perry.
* The Weeknd announced the fall leg of his tour will feature Gucci Mane. Gucci Mane was in Spring Breakers. The Weeknd’s girlfriend, Selena Gomez, was in Spring Breakers. I LIKE WHERE THIS IS GOING!
* Kiss frontman Gene Simmons is attempting to trademark the hard rock/heavy metal hand gesture of the devil’s horns, claiming it was first used in 1974, coinciding with Kiss' Hotter Than Hell tour. I’m sure there’s also a strain of herpes that first appeared coinciding with a Kiss tour, but I don’t see Simmons attempting to trademark that!
* Big Boi claims to have won $100k betting on the Warriors to win the NBA Finals. My only question is which fool-ass friend of his bet on the Cavs?
* Diddy showed off a new back tattoo on social media. Personally, I’m surprised it’s a full back piece, as after seeing this image of him from the 2013 edition of Burning Man, I expected something more along the lines of a butterfly tramp stamp.
* Azealia Banks is being sued for over $130k in unpaid credit card debt. I have to ask, who on earth thought it would be a good idea to give Azealia Banks a line of credit? Did they think racist tweets were a bankable asset?
* Celine Dion’s fall 2017 lifestyle collection will be available at Nordstrom both in-store, and online, starting in August. With her strong association with Titanic I expect this collection to predominantly be life vests, and arm floaties.
* DJ Khaled announced a sneaker collaboration with the hype beast brand Dynasty, which is an Air Jordan imprint. They’ll be the perfect shoes for the b-baller who has the vertical leap of a dump truck.
* Finally, my favorite Polish pop princess, Margaret, is back with a wildly creative, video game inspired, clip for her latest single “What You Do.” If only real life had “save” and “restart” features!
And with that, my time is up for the week, but I'll be back next week with more shots on all things pop.
He isn’t thinking about gripping a microphone, flowing over a beat, or even putting together a new album. “I’m just trying to live life, and see what life is like outside of hip-hop,” the Brooklyn-based emcee explains.
On June 20th longtime Adam’s World favorite Coole High will return from a musical hiatus to release not just one, but two new albums – a smooth jazz album titled Change Of Scenery, and a hip-hop album titled Clouded Visionary I.
As a precursor to these efforts, Coole High has released videos for the lead singles off of each album, and I caught up with the Las Vegas, via NYC, artist to ask him all about them.
You’re releasing two albums at the same time. Does each project come from the same emotional place, or do they represent completely different aspects of yourself?
There's a similar emotional place, but the difference is Change Of Scenery is more of the smoothed out, introspective, and reflective side, while Clouded Visionary I is more of the self critical side, almost a self loathing, or despair-ish, approach.
They were created in two different times. Clouded Visionary I was completed while I was still in New York, with the exception of the songs “Suspension,” and “Not A Superhero,” while Change Of Scenery was all created since I've been in Vegas.
The video for “Changes” takes place in a convenience store. This is an unusual scene for a smooth jazz soundtrack. What made you want to connect this place with this song?
The young man that's featured in the video – shout out to Ryan Avery – works at that spot. I walked in one day while an earlier version of the song was playing in my headphones, and the feel, the lighting, and the overall vibe of “something's gotta give" filled me.
He and I share similar views on current events, politics, and life in general. He's also a musician that's part of a local band. I know, never discuss politics in public, but we clicked for some time, so I asked him if it would be OK if I filmed him with my GoPro doing what he does, almost like a day in the life of a store clerk. After he heard the song, he immediately recognized that it would be a more melancholic approach to the video.
We shot in two sessions, and voila.
I know it's a little unusual for a song like that, but sometimes moods hit a person in such random spaces. It's like, you never know what the next person is thinking. I just wanted to share that.
You’ve made a bevy of changes in your life over the past few years. Which change would you say has been the most eye opening for you?
The change of being a dad, and a family guy. It's interesting, to say the least, but it is most rewarding.
The other is just knowing that I can't just pick up and run as often as I'd like. I've made a conscious decision to alter the way I contribute to the world of music so that I don't go crazy not being able to tour like I once did, at least not at this particular moment. As time passes, things may very well change, but either way, I'm extremely happy with the current changes.
Moving to “Suspension,” what was the driving motivation behind this song?
The song itself comes from a place of meeting so many "artists" that stake a claim to such a title, but don't put in the work to display that to the masses.
I'm still fairly new to the desert lifestyle, so my NY state of mind is rebelling a little.
Also, (another motivation is) illustrating that all the new stuff may not always be good for us, while sharing my personal hurdles and struggles to get to where I'm at, which at times, feels like I'm at square one, ironically.
How did you go about choosing the imagery for the video?
For "Suspension" I initially wanted to convey the vibe of suspense, like “something's about to happen,” so the visuals are dark on purpose. It kind of represents a "night and day" idea, or a life mission gone wrong, and the desert was the final destination.
Thinking of it in hindsight, it could just be the contrast of how living a risky life could lead to a life of isolation in the middle of nowhere, while conveying somewhat of an abstract artistic approach to the visuals, using not so typical imagery to project these moods and ideas to give my audience a bit more food for thought, and more conversational pieces. I mean, who else do you know can find cognac in the dessert while barefoot in a suit. Ha!
Also, just being a New York transplant in Vegas – the night life that's not so touristy, and the lure of the desert.
I'm currently shooting another video nearer to the mountains, and to view them at night, as vast and huge as they are, is a bit mesmerizing.
I'm also really intrigued with history, and Vegas history is particularly fascinating. Riding around and discovering places here in Vegas, I've kept a mental note of locations that I would use to put visuals to songs.
You can pick up both Clouded Visionary I, and Change Of Scenary, on June 20th via coolehighmusic.com.
I’ve seen NYC-based rockers The Motor Tom a handful of times over the years, and every time I’ve attended one of their shows I’ve had a blast.
Most recently, I caught their extended set at Mercury Lounge when they played there earlier this month, and the night was amazing.
If you’re looking for a rock n roll good time, this is a band you need to know. Here are three reasons you should see The Motor Tom live.
1. This Motor Runs on Fun
Whether you know, and love, their original work, sing along to their covers, or are one of the people dancing in the front row, you’re going to have fun at The Motor Tom’s shows because the band is all about making sure everyone has a great time.
As soon as one person starts dancing, they encourage everyone else to join in. The same goes for if they’re playing a song and see people start to sing along.
Contrary to what some may say, rock n roll is allowed to be fun, and it’s a damned good time when it is. The Motor Tom are that damned good time.
2. They’re Charismatic, Crazy, & Crystal Clear
When you’re looking to inspire people to get a little wild, it helps to be a little wild yourself, and this isn’t an issue for the men of The Motor Tom. They inspire good times by having a good time themselves when they’re on the stage.
Led by frontman Nick Schupak – who is equal parts charismatic and crazy, and whose voice is crystal clear, even when hitting the highest of notes – The Motor Tom is a rock band that seriously enjoys their time on the stage, and it’s infectious.
3. They Can Go All Night
For The Motor Tom’s show at Mercury Lounge they put together a set that was nearly 90 minutes long, and even when they were performing their encore it seemed as though they still had the energy to perform for another 90 minutes if the venue were to allow it.
Despite it being well past 11pm on a weeknight, the vast majority of the crowd was ready to go all night with them. This says a lot about what was going on on stage.
To find out when, and where, The Motor Tom are performing next, check out their Facebook page for show dates.
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.