Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Entertainment journalist w/ over a decade of experience. Lover of good music, fringe movies, day baseball & chicken shawarma. Nerdy, but awesome. See my complete profile
This week’s NYC Scene Report features the triumphant return of Brooklyn rockers Stroamata, a new single from alt-rock duo Diet Cig, and the column debuts of pop-rock band Last Good Tooth, and singer-songwriter Jesse Malin.
* A band I'd been wanting to hear something new from for quite some time is Brooklyn-based rock act Stroamata. One of my favorite bands to see live, Stroamata spent the better part of 2013 and 2014 releasing singles, but this year, while lead singer Dara Eagle released a solo EP, Stroamata wasn’t on enough stages for my liking. That, however, is about to change with the release of “Social.”
“Social” is off of Stroamata’s upcoming full length album, which is due out this fall, and with a kick-ass guitar intro leading into Eagle's powerful rock vocals, the song re-announces the band’s presence with a bang.
Stroamata clearly hasn't missed a beat, which is great news, because I'd certainly missed them. Listen to “Social,” and hear why.
* Back in July I came across a band hailing from New Paltz, NY, named Diet Cig. I was immediately drawn to their 90s alt-rock vibe, especially singer Alex Luciano's voice, which sounds like it was tailor made for the era.
The duo, which also includes instrumentalist Noah Bowman, kicked off a national tour yesterday, and midway through that tour they’ll be releasing a double A-side 7'', "Sleep Talk" / "Dinner Date." The 7'' will be limited to 1,000 copies, and will be available September 18th.
I posted "Sleep Talk" in a previous column, and now you can check out "Dinner Date" to get another dose of Diet Cig.
* Last Good Tooth isn’t just an accurate way to describe a hockey player's smile, it's also the name of an NYC/Providence indie pop-rock foursome consisting of Penn Sultan, Arthur Kapp, Kevin Sullivan, and Alex Spoto.
The band members actually have quite a few good teeth, and quite a few good songs. Their latest is "Our Little Machine," and after hearing Sultan's baritone vocals, and storytelling style, one might draw a slight comparison to Crash Test Dummies, and their memorable frontman, Brad Roberts (apologies if you now have "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" going through your head).
"Our Little Machine" is off of Last Good Tooth's upcoming album, And All Things On The Scales, which is due out October 2nd on Supply & Demand Records. Check it out, and see if their “machine” moves you.
* NYC singer-songwriter Jesse Malin is a little bit folk, a little bit pop, and a whole lotta interesting. His latest single is "You Know It's Dark When Atheists Start to Pray," and it’s just as compelling as the title would lead one to believe.
The song is off of Malin's upcoming album, Outsiders, which is due out October 9th on One Little Indian / Velvet Elk Records. In a statement, Malin described the album, saying it's "a record built out of optimism and disgust – one for the leavers, the believers, the hustlers, and the chicken hawks who could never catch us."
You'll want to catch Malin, and the official lyric video for "You Know It's Dark When Atheists Start to Pray," which I have for you right here.
For more of the best of NYC’s indie music scene, come back next Wednesday, and check out the archives for previous columns.
Whether you know him as Luke Skyywalker, Uncle Luke, or Luther Campbell, you know him as one of hip-hop’s most fascinating individuals. From the tongue in cheek sex raps of 2 Live Crew, to the high profile trials involving first amendment rights, Luke has routinely found himself at the forefront of controversy. What many don’t know is that he’s also continually been at the forefront of helping his community. His recently released autobiography, The Book of Luke: My Fight For Truth, Justice, and Liberty City, chronicles both his times in hip-hop, and his attempts to bolster his community.
Here are eight things you need to know about The Book of Luke.
Welcome to your weekly dose of pop world musings. Covering all things pop culture, this week Pop Shots is hitting you with some Billboard singles chart analysis. The summer is almost over, and right now there are a handful of songs that are gearing up to potentially rule the fall. From established boy bands, to up and coming pop queens, I’m taking a look at who will be heating up the upcoming cooler months. The chart positions I’m using are from this past Thursday, and since this is Pop Shots, you know everything is seasoned with a little bit of attitude.
31) One Direction - Drag Me Down
Zayn Malik, or no Zayn Malik, One Direction have cemented themselves as one of the most impressive boy bands of all-time. With songs like “Story of My Life” and “Night Changes” they’ve proven they can make timeless music, and their latest, “Drag Me Down,” is another hit that will get stuck in your head for all the right reasons. The production is incredible (kudos to Julian Bunetta and John Ryan), and the chorus is the kind of next level catchy we’ve all come to expect from One Direction. There’s zero point in fighting this one, it’s going to burrow into your brain at some point, and you’re going to find yourself singing along, perhaps in public, and you’re going to have to admit that you like it.
42) 5 Seconds of Summer - She's Kinda Hot
If you’re into judging books by their covers, or songs by their titles, you might think this is a typical boy band song about wanting a hot girl. Instead, it’s a playful take on relationships, with the kind of humor one might expect from a band like The Offspring. In fact, “She’s Kinda Hot” would fit in nicely in a playlist with “Why Don’t You Get a Job,” or “Pretty Fly For a White Guy” (that’s as far as I’ll go, though, because in this post-Pharrell/Thicke lawsuit world any further comparison could spark lawsuits). 5 Seconds of Summer are also a boy band that’s actually band, so this song is a seriously solid piece of pop-rock (not to be confused with Pop Rocks. Although, truthfully, I have no idea what happens if you mix 5 Seconds of Summer with soda).
64) Tori Kelly - Should've Been Us
Sometimes a song is inescapable. No matter where you go you hear it playing on an overhead, and when you turn on the radio it seems to be on every station. For me, that song is Tori Kelly’s “Should’ve Been Us.” It started at the gym, where I began hearing it every day around a month ago. Now every time I leave the gym, and turn on my car stereo, lo and behold, it’s Tori Kelly’s “Should’ve Been Us.” I think it’s a good song, but there’s also a chance I’m suffering from some kind of musical Stockholm syndrome, kinda like that time we, as a nation, decided we all liked MAGIC!’s “Rude.” Man, that was a weird summer.
67) Elle King - Ex's & Oh's
Embarrassing admission time. The very first time I caught part of “Ex’s & Oh’s” on the radio I had a brief moment of excitement thinking Gin Wigmore was finally getting mainstream airplay. After looking up the song, however, I found out it isn’t by Gin Wigmore, it’s by Elle King. Being that both artists are around the same age, it’s unlikely there’s any style jacking going on here, it’s just two artists who happen to sound alike, and have a similar vibe. That said, I really like that sound, and that vibe, so you can be sure I’m cranking this one up whenever it comes on (and also revisiting some of my Gin Wigmore faves).
79) Alessia Cara - Here
When I first heard Alessia Cara’s “Here” back in July I wrote about how I hoped it would become a mainstream hit, as it’s a perfect anthem for those who aren’t necessarily the life of the party. Thankfully, it looks like a slow build is starting to happen, as my initial introduction to the song at 3am has been followed up by hearing it a number of times during much more regular hours. In a nice twist, “Here” is a pop song directed at those who don’t normally like pop songs, and because of this it’s kind of amazing.
And with that, my time is up for the week, but I'll be back next week with more shots on all things pop.
When I first saw CT hard rockers Chaser Eight they blew me away with an ass kicking performance that was absolutely fearless. Lead singer, *AUDRA*, came to the stage with a megaphone, a la Stone Temple Pilots, and Rage Against The Machine, and instantly drew my, and everyone else's, attention.
For the band's latest project, they've temporarily put the ass kicking on hold, stripping everything down to show another side of the band, their Naked side.
Unplugging, and going the acoustic route, on Chaser Eight: Naked Chaser Eight allows the listener, and the band, to connect with the lyrics in a whole new way. The EP was released today, and you can stream it in its entirety right here.
With Straight Outta Compton being a hit at the box office, I felt it only right to make this week's Vid Pick 5:am's "Straight Outta The Bible." An oddly accurate, and incredibly gangster, retelling of the stories of two Biblical figures, Jesus, and Judas, let this be the most batsh*t insane thing you see all day. The video even includes actual walking on water!
As an aside, I don't know where 5:am found a nun's outfit big enough to fit him, but whoever he borrowed it from must be one scary ass nun!
I’m always encouraging people to go out and see live music. With that in mind, I decided to dedicate this week’s NYC Scene Report to some of the acts I’ve recently seen live in the city. This includes rock bands theSHIFT, and Station, singer-songwriter pop artist Stef Lang, and hip-hop acts G.T.P., and M-TRI & DJ Leecy T.
* A few weeks ago I caught NYC rockers theSHIFT at Mercury Lounge. I’ve written about them a number times this year, and during my interview with the band’s frontman, John Shannon, I really enjoyed the fact that he was focused on breaking rock music out of the formulaic constraints many bands have put on the genre.
During the show, Shannon and crew rocked out with extended versions of songs from their debut EP, 7th Direction. With an onus on improvisation based on mood, there were numerous extended guitar solos, as the band let the energy of the night direct the music they were playing.
Check out theSHIFT’s latest single “Kobra,” and enjoy some rock music that refuses to be boxed in.
* Following theSHIFT at Mercury Lounge was Station, and when the foursome hit the stage it was like the entire place was transported 30 years back in time. With the look, sound, and feel of an 80s rock band, Station would fit in perfectly with any rock playlist that includes the likes of Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, and Van Halen. If someone had told me the band had arrived, and planned to leave, via Doc Brown’s DeLorean, I’d have wholeheartedly believed it.
Give Station’s single, “Dressed To Kill,” a listen. It’s off of their eponymous full length debut, which was released earlier this year, and it will place you in an 80s state of mind.
* Earlier this month I attended pop singer-songwriter Stef Lang’s show at The Bitter End. I’ve been writing about Stef for close to thee years now, and have seen her live a handful of times. On this particular night she had a full band, and even banged on a drum herself for a few of her new songs.
Those new songs will be on her upcoming EP, Arrows, and her latest single, “Going Places,” was recently featured on an episode of the CW drama Beauty & the Beast. Check it out.
* Before Stef Lang’s show, I attended G.T.P.’s EP release, and website relaunch, event at DROM. The NYC hip-hop group is known for bringing an old school sound, with current lyrical content that covers everything from their thoughts on hip-hop, to the scene in NYC, to life in general, and on this night they tore down the stage with not one, but TWO sets, performing the entirety of their new State Of Emergency EP, with a few fan favorites mixed in.
The crowd featured a veritable who’s-who of NYC’s indie hip-hop scene, and although G.T.P., which stands for Ghetto Transcends Potential, may not be a group you hear on the radio, they have a song describing exactly how they feel about what’s currently getting airplay. Check it out.
* In-between G.T.P.’s sets, M-TRI & DJ Leecy T performed a killer set of songs off of their upcoming album, Monday Morning Music. Although the album isn’t due out until September 1st, the married duo have already released four singles off of it, and those songs have clearly made an impact, as the crowd was completely into them, and had no problems rapping along.
With music to spare, M-TRI & DJ Leecy T dropped a non-album track, “7am,” as a teaser for Monday Morning Music. Check it out, and enjoy some dope NY hip-hop.
For more of the best of NYC’s indie music scene, come back next Wednesday, and check out the archives for previous columns.
Great hip-hop artists can be incredibly multifaceted individuals. In fact, they have to be.
If a hip-hop artist is going to make a name for himself, or herself, they have to stand out from the crowd, and one such artist who has always stood out from the crowd is Providence, RI, native B. Dolan.
B. Dolan released his latest album, Kill The Wolf, this summer, and it features a host of musical influences.
When most hip-hop artists discuss their influences, it ends up the usual gang of suspects; emcees, and soul artists, whose names come up so frequently it becomes an exercise in repetitiveness. With that in mind, RapReviews sat down with B. Dolan to dig a little deeper, asking him whose music he’s been influenced by that falls outside the box of what we might expect.
Below are five artists that B. Dolan counts as being a part of his musical roots, along with stories of how each has influenced him, and the latest from the man himself.
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.