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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.
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Vid Pick: Makk Mikkael – Jungle


Vid Pick: Joey Golden – How The War Was One


3 Reasons You Should See Like Minded Criminals Live

Vid Pick: Siberia – ORENDA
Friday, December 15, 2017

When I first heard Siberia’s alt-pop gem “ORENDA” my reaction was, “How is this not all over Top 40 radio?!?!”

The Florida native has lyrical depth, emotional vocals, and production that can easily fit alongside the genre’s best and brightest.

Wanting to know more about Siberia, and her music, I caught up with her to find out the meaning behind “ORENDA,” how becoming hyperaware has changed her for the better, and why she connects with the alt-pop genre.

“ORENDA” is the lead single off of your Send EP, which was released earlier this year. It’s also track one on the EP. What made “ORENDA” the perfect song to lead off your EP, and use as your introduction to the world?

It was the first song I had written for (my) Siberia (moniker). It was carefully written, and toiled over, for weeks before I went into the studio with it. It was/is a song I’m incredibly proud of, songwriting-wise, and growth-wise as an individual.


It was the entrance into this world I created for what’s almost like an alter-ego for me – Siberia – and I wanted anyone who heard it to know that I am walking into this new world like they are. 

According to the description of the video, “ORENDA” is a personal state of mind. Is it your creative state of mind, your everyday state of mind, or something else altogether?

“ORENDA” is a combination of all of those things.

I see “ORENDA” as if you stepped into your subconscious, pulled back the curtains, and ventured through all that really goes on inside your head.

It’s the state of mind I’ve been in, and still am in, where I am hyperaware of all my emotions and surroundings, and I’m able to see things for what they truly are.

It goes deeper and deeper into a ridiculous amount of detail where I’ve written the full extent of this song’s meaning in at least four full pages multiple times. As time passes, it takes on a new meaning, more refined then the last.

“ORENDA” is seeing yourself for what you are – the good, the bad, and the honest mix of both.
 
Does everyone have their own “ORENDA,” and if so, how can they go about tapping into it, and should everyone tap into it?


This is an interesting question. I would say, for my own sake, “ORENDA” is something I needed to stay sane. I often get overwhelmed with a million different thoughts and “ORENDA” breaks it all down to the foundation, and makes it easier to take on, and solve. 

I think, to a comfortable extent, everyone should “tap into” their own “ORENDA.” I believe there is a great power, and comfort, in knowing yourself for all you are. All the grime, grace, and greatness of each person is what makes them who they are.

For me, it was a step I needed to take in learning to love all of who I am, and that’s something I would love for others to take from this.


“ORENDA” is a distinctly alt-pop jam, and I’ve read that some of your musical influences are of the alt-pop genre. What about alt-pop speaks to you?

There’s always been something about the sounds created with alt-pop that has gotten to me.

I feel alt-pop is one of the most incredible ways to turn lyrics into a moment. Alt-pop has its highs and lows of emotional expression, and that’s what I love about it.

All music has its own sounds that I respect, but I’ve always had a love for the synths, and 808s, that alt-pop brings to the table.

As for the musical influences, I’ve emotionally connected with those artists in how each of their artistic expressions are unique to them, and it’s something I genuinely love about people who are nothing but themselves. It’s something I strive for.

What can you tell everyone about what you’re working on for 2018?

I’ve been working hard on something for the last year and a half that I have poured my entire life into. Been working on this one since we started recording the Send EP. If I were to give any hint for right now it would be that I am the living representation of this next record.

I cannot express how excited I am about this one. I can’t wait to share more.

If someone were to spark up a conversation with you about something outside of music, what else are you passionate about in life that you can talk for hours about?

It’s a tie between poetry and sci-fi.

I read ridiculous amounts of poetry/essays from writers like T.S. Eliot, (Sylvia) Plath, and my current read, W.S. Merwin. I am in love with the meticulous eloquence of emotion that poetry brings. 

I was raised on sci-fi movies, books, and comics. I could go on and on, even now, about all I love about the genre of sci-fi.

Finally, in a perfect world you’d be touring with …

In a perfect world I’d be touring with Lights, Halsey, or Banks. They’re the most badass ladies I’ve ever seen, and they’ve inspired me endlessly. It would be an absolute DREAM. 

For more Siberia, check out iamsiberia.com.

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3 Reasons You Should See Paige Howell Live
Thursday, December 14, 2017

Last week I was in the city to interview an artist, but always wanting to do as much as possible, I took a look at who was performing at some of my favorite venues to see if I could catch a show, as well. That’s when I noticed pop artist Paige Howell had an early set at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 1.

I listened some of her music online, and enjoyed what I heard, so I decided to check her out. It turned out to be a really good decision.

Here’s why you should join me in the crowd the next time she hits the stage.

1. She’s a pop star waiting to happen

Howell has a stage presence that clearly shows she’s very at home performing, and her songwriting range spans the full pop gamut. She has wide-eyed, innocent, love songs, “batshit insane” (her words!) songs, and deeply personal moments, such as when she performed a song she wrote dedicated to her grandmother, who passed away from pancreatic cancer.

Performance-wise Howell isn’t afraid to extend a note, especially when it comes to her original work, and she does so without over-singing. There are no riffs, runs, or embellishments, just the purity of a well held note.

2. Her covers are incredibly fun

Howell’s set was probably 60/40 original content/covers, and the covers she chose on this particular night showed off her influences, personality, and, in one case, creativity with arrangements.

Whether she was embracing her sultry side with Niall Horan’s “Slow Hands,” her dark side with Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do,” or her crazy side with Bebe Rexha’s “I’m Gonna Show You Crazy,” Howell – who bears a slight resemblance to the aforementioned Rexha – always made sure there was at least a little bit of herself in each cover.

A personal favorite of mine was when she covered Ariana Grande’s “Bang Bang,” but used the guitar part from The Guess Who’s (and later, Lenny Kravitz’s) “American Woman.” Howell weaved the two songs together, seamlessly transitioning back and forth from one to the other.

3. She’s extremely personable

Whether it was while she was on stage, or after the show speaking with fans and friends, Howell had a smile on her face, and an eagerness to make sure everyone was having a good time.

She encouraged people to sing along during her set, and post-show she seemed to find a way to make time for everyone who wanted to speak with her, or take a picture with her.


To find out when, and where, Paige Howell will be performing next, check out her Facebook page for show dates.

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NYC Scene Report – Soren Bryce, Fiona Silver, & more
Wednesday, December 13, 2017

This week’s NYC Scene Report features some awesome alt-pop from Soren Bryce, the soaring soul-pop vocals of Fiona Silver, Americana artist Butch Parnell covering a Beyonce song, and singer-songwriter Brooke Moriber dealing with some stormy weather.

* Brooklyn-based artist Soren Bryce is the latest addition to the city’s indie alt-pop scene, and with her new single, “Cellophane,” she’s making a heck of a first impression.

“Cellophane” is off of Bryce’s upcoming full length debut, Discussions With Myself, which is due out in early 2018. For the album, Bryce worked with producer Justyn Pilbrow (Halsey, The Knocks, The Neighbourhood), and while she notes Pilbrow took on a mentor-like role in honing her production skills, she handled the bulk of the album's pre-production work on her own.

Bryce explains the growth in her artistic process, saying, “I used to make music in a way that was more folk-influenced, where I'd sit in my bedroom, and play guitar, and write like I was writing in my diary, but for this record I got so much more into production, and started approaching the songs by thinking about things like rhythm, and composition, first, and then creating from there.”

Click play on the trippy video for “Cellophane,” and hear the alt-pop gem she’s created.


* Frequent readers of this column know that 2017 has been a year where I’ve become obsessed with the music of Fiona Silver. Her vocals are, in a word, special, and her name should be involved in any conversation about the city’s soul, pop, or indie rock scenes, as her music can fit into any of the above.

Silver’s latest is “Here Comes The Fall,” which, as of now, is a standalone single, following her fantastic 2017 album, Little Thunder.

Check out the gorgeous black and white video for “Here Comes The Fall,” which was directed by Cortney Armitage, and “Fall” for Fiona Silver.


* I know there may not have been a whole lot of folks clamoring for Americana covers of Beyonce’s music, but after hearing Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Butch Parnell’s version of her song “XO,” the demand might start to grow at a fairly rapid rate.

Parnell’s version of “XO” is off of his recently released EP, The Fall, and he explains how the song became one he wanted to put a unique spin on, saying, “In past releases, I've included at least one cover, and they have mostly been songs from the ‘70s. So for this EP, I thought I might do the opposite, and try to make a more current song live in a new light. It just so happens that I had shot my promo photos in Coney Island a week before I got the idea to do this song. The original Beyoncé ‘XO’ video was shot in Coney Island. It's colorful and vibrant, and that is precisely why I went in the opposite direction with the song, and the video. While the lyrics are very present in the moment, I wanted the music to evoke nostalgia.”

Parnell continued, adding, “Musically, the bridge for Beyoncé is the arrival, the top of the Cyclone roller coaster, if you will. I decided to make my bridge reflective, and pull everything away. It's not a roller coaster, it's more like the Wonder Wheel Ferris Wheel that stops at the top so you can take a moment to look around, and see things from a height, and vantage point, you normally can’t."

Check out the video for Parnell’s version of “XO,” and hear the song in an entirely new way.


* Singer-songwriter Brooke Moriber is giving listeners “99 Days of Rain.” No, she hasn’t become a meteorologist in the Seattle area. “99 Days of Rain” is the name of the NYC-based powerhouse vocalist’s latest single.

Off of her 2017 EP, Here and Gone, the song has a slight country influence, stemming, in part, from Moriber’s writing and recording sessions in Nashville with songwriters Brian Desveaux and Bill DiLuigi.

The video for “99 Days of Rain” features a shadow playing games with Moriber in an altercation that’s one part shadowboxing, one part interpretive dance. Click play and check out the creative clip.


For more of the best of NYC’s indie music scene, come back next Wednesday, and check out the archives for previous columns.

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Stacking The Deck with Kasador
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Stacking The Deck is a feature exclusive to Adam’s World where I bring packs of 1991 Pro Set Superstars MusiCards to artists, and we discuss who they find in each pack.

If you’re looking for the next rock band that could take over Top 40 radio, look no further than Kasador.

Hailing from Kingston, Ontario, and consisting of (photographed left to right) Boris Baker (bass), Nick Babcock (keys/vocals), Will Hunter (vocals/guitar), Julien Laferriere (drums), and Cam Wyatt (guitar/vocals), Kasador has a sound, and an energy that will resonate with wide variety of audiences. If the band were on stage at a large festival, 99% of the crowd would end up fans (there’s always that 1% who refuse to like anything everyone else likes, but we won’t worry about them).


I caught up with Kasador when their most recent tour hit The Bowery Electric, in NYC, and we opened up some packs of MusiCards. The artists we found sparked conversations about everything from artistic influences, to potentially reworking a classic, to each member’s childhood crushes.



Billy Idol

Boris: I actually didn’t know he was British until right now. I thought he was American.

Will: Isn’t he in an Adam Sandler movie?

The Wedding Singer.

Will: “White Wedding” is a great song.

Boris: That is actually a great song. He looks a lot like Deryck Whibley (of Sum 41). I feel like Deryck modeled his look after him.

Have you ever considered covering a Billy Idol song?

Will: I’d do “White Wedding.”

Boris: I could get on board with that. There are a lot of ways to bastardize that song – It’s a nice day for a cardigan. It’s a nice for a … this is weird, my parents owned ferrets, and my mom used to say nice day for a wet weasel.

That probably has another meaning, I’m just gonna guess.

Boris: … or was it my dad who said that?



Nelson

Will: They have an identical twin situation going on. A very Spinal Tap look. I don’t know any of their music, but if I was just going off of the baseball card, I would choose this band to hang out with.

In terms of hair bands, and hair metal bands, were you influenced by any of them?

Will: I grew up with a lot of ‘80s stuff, but not so much hair metal. More like Bryan Adams, but you know, the whole Spinal Tap movement, all that stuff just really speaks to my childhood.

Boris: Yeah, Spinal Tap, definitely for me, but hair metal wasn’t really allowed in my household growing up.



Annihilator

Cam: I actually know of them because I’m from Ottawa and they’re from Ottawa, and back in the day when I was learning guitar I did this jam clinic thing where they basically put you in bands, and (frontman Jeff Waters) was one of the special guys they had in. He was really damned good, and I was like I’m gonna be as good as this guy.

Will: They were huge in Japan.

Cam: I’ve also heard they were not the nicest people.

But was he nice to you?

Cam: No.

But you said you were young, you were a kid.

Cam: Yeah. He didn’t talk to me. I was like Jeffery, Jeffery! He backhands me.

I don’t believe that.

Cam: That’s wise.



Eric Clapton

Nick: One of my biggest influences. The reason I started playing guitar.

Will: What do you play in the band?

Band: {laughs}

When was the first time you heard his music?

Nick: Probably when I was a child. We had a bunch of Clapton CDs. I remember “Layla” being played a lot.

You guys did that during your sound check.

Will: I do it for Nick.

Have you ever checked out the guitar festival he does?

Nick: Crossroads. Yeah. I’m also a big John Mayer fan, so that goes hand in hand because John was very influenced by Eric Clapton, and they’ve done Crossroads together.

Boris: I’ve got a dark Clapton comment. I was reading a book about The Clash, and it detailed this festival they played for anti-racism, or pro-immigrant, in the late ‘70s, and it was partially in response to anti-immigrant comments Clapton made.

Nick: He (also) stole George Harrison’s wife.

No one’s stolen anyone else’s wife from this group, right?

Boris: Not yet.

Will: I’d rather not say.



Sonic Youth

Julien: I don’t know their discography, but I’m super into their style. It’s really weird. I’m super into the dark, New York grunge scene. Those were lower Manhattan guys, from around here, actually.

(They had) really loud guitars. I was super into that. Weird noises. They’re really cool.

Are we in for weird noises later?

Julien: Yeah.

Will: I got a pretty cool weird one. The Rainbow Machine, that pink pedal there, it does some weird noises. Part of it says “magic,” and you just click it and you hope for the best. It’s fun.

Boris: Tell him about the pedal you were gonna get, but didn’t.

Will: I was gonna buy this pedal, it sounds really cool – Dr. Scientist BitQuest – but it was $400, and I was like, I’ll never use it. Now I see it everywhere. I was just four months ahead of the game.



Belinda Carlisle

Belinda was an absolute heartthrob to everyone in the ‘80s. Who were your personal heartthrobs from when you were growing up?

Nick: I’ll start. So, that girl in School of Rock who plays the bass, Katie, when that movie came out I watched it several times just to see her.

Will: Actually, we talk about this a lot, School or Rock was a very influential thing for this group. That movie came out, and starting a band, and being with your friends, that seemed to be a very inspiring thing. So I’m gonna go with Katie, as well.

Nick: Also the girl from National Lampoon’s Vacation, who’s married to Chevy Chase in the movie. There’s a scene where they open the shower curtain …

Was that one of those growing up moments for you?

Nick: That was like VHS, pause it, and then it’s got the fuzzy bars.

Will: We’re learning a lot about Nick today.

Boris: Since maybe I was six, or seven, That ‘70s Show, Mila Kunis. She, probably forever, will be my heartthrob.

So are you mad she ended up with Ashton Kutcher?

W: I’m actually happy that happened.

Boris: He seems like a pretty sweet dude. I like Ashton Kutcher. I like to think if that was my thing he would be my heartthrob. So yeah, it’s kind of perfect.

Cam: I was into Topanga (from Boy Meets World).

Will: Everyone you’re saying, I’m on board. We have similar taste.

Boris: Get your own heartthrob.

Cam: She’s mine. Also, Chelsea from That’s So Raven.

Anyone else have a heartthrob?

Boris: Jules man, heartthrob? Who’s your heartthrob?

Julien: Selena Gomez.

You’ll have to fight Justin Bieber for her, but that should be an easy battle.

Boris: Is Selena Gomez Canadian?

She seems to date Canadians.

Julien: So you’re saying there’s a chance.


For more of Kasador, check out KasadorBand.com.

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Pop Shots – Past, Present, & Future
Monday, December 11, 2017

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 Fergie’s hallucinatory past, to Melanie Martinez’s questionable present, to previously unreleased Jimi Hendrix songs becoming available in the near future, and since this is Pop Shots you know everything is seasoned with a little bit of attitude.

* In an interview with the British publication iNews, Fergie discussed a time in her life where she was, in her own words, “Hallucinating on a daily basis.” The singer noted that even when she’d become clean of drugs, “I’d just be sitting there, seeing a random bee or bunny.” Is Fergie sure she was hallucinating, because there’s also a very real chance she could’ve just been waking up in her pantry, staring at boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios, and Trix.


* Melanie Martinez – the soft voiced singer with two toned hair who first made a name for herself on The Voice, was accused of rape by former friend, and fellow musician, Timothy Heller (who is a woman). Martinez tweeted a response, saying, “(Heller) never said no to what we chose to do together.” Yes, you read that correctly, Martinez’s defense is that she is unaware of synonyms.

* John Mayer was hospitalized last week for an emergency appendectomy. Jeez, and here I thought I had the monopoly on holiday season surgeries for Fairfielders who work in the music industry. Yo, John, wanna be scar bros?


* David Mueller, the former radio DJ who was ordered to pay a symbolic $1 to Taylor Swift for groping her at a photo op, reportedly mailed the singer a Sacagawea dollar last week. He says he intended the coin featuring the prominent female Native American as a final jab at Swift, whose team called the court ruling a win for all women. Who knew all it takes is a dollar to double down on being a total moron?

* Pearl Jam has a new song in the upcoming Brie Larson romantic comedy Basmati Blues. I guess in a world where Ice-T can play a cop, former ‘90s grunge gods can provide music for rom-com soundtracks. If you need me, I can be reached at my new number …


* RZA and Power have partnered with Live Nation's merchandise division to relaunch Wu Wear. If Live Nation’s merch division is anything like their ticketing, you’ll be charged an exorbitant handling fee, even if you’re carrying the clothing out of the store yourself.

* Lil Wayne’s next mixtape, Dedication 6, is scheduled to be released this Christmas. Soooo Merry Weez-mas?


* Experience Hendrix, and Legacy Recordings, will be releasing a 13 track album titled Hendrix’s Both Sides of the Sky on March 9th, 2018. Ten of the 13 tracks will be previously unreleased songs. Jimi Hendrix’s hologram reportedly can’t wait to perform the new material.

* My homegirl Fjer is a future pop superstar, and her latest is “Awesome.” Check it out, I think you’re gonna love it.


And with that, my time is up for the week, but I'll be back next week with more shots on all things pop.

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Vid Pick: Joey Golden – How The War Was One
Friday, December 08, 2017

If you have two minutes to spare for some boom bap, and real raps, you should click play on the latest from O.I.S.D. (Operation Industry Shut Down) emcee Joey Golden, “How The War Was One.”

“How The War Was One” is off of Joey’s Problematic EP, which was released earlier this year, and no matter what era you’re from, it’s going to fit into your definition of real hip-hop.

Wanting to know more about the song, and the EP, I caught up with Joey to get the story behind “How The War Was One,” and to find out what’s going on with everyone from O.I.S.D.

“How The War Was One” is the last track on Problematic. Why did you want it to be the final statement on the EP?

The concept of the whole thing was a dichotomy of having a super spiritual mind frame, and a super materialistic mind frame, which is pretty much me.

“Gold” and “Everywhere” represent the spiritual, more wholesome side, but are also disconnected from societal issues. “Bentley” and “Problematic” represent the materialistic, earthly, more linear side, which almost worships materials, and leans too much into societal issues.

“How The War Was One” was the end result of dealing with those inner battles of trying to decide if how I feel is right, or wrong, which why the song is just sure, just knowing.
 

Even a not so keen eye will notice the use of One instead of Won in the title of the song. Why is the war One, rather than Won?

“How The War Was One” represents how this whole experience in life is just one thing – an experience. Everything is happening at the same time, the good and the bad.

Coming from the understanding from the first four songs, it reaches the point to where the lyrics brag, but without being selfish, and are spiritual, but without isolation. Then, on forward, with the competition, with that balance and understanding. 

The song has an old school boom bap vibe. What draws you to that kind of production?

These are the beats I feel the most comfortable to go on rapping, and not worry about any type of format for writing a song; just to write freely without thinking about bridges and choruses and trying to be catchy. I can just talk my shit.


Tell everyone more about Problematic. In what ways are you hoping the music connects with listeners?

I didn’t really care to connect with anybody. I just wanted to get my bars off.

I have strong opinions, and the type of person I am, it’s hard for me to relinquish them.

Specifically for the title track, I was talking about things that I felt that may be controversial in some eyes, so it was more like fuck a connection, this is what I think about things. If you like it, or agree, cool.

This was, more so, groundwork to set the foundation of who Joey is, how my mind works. 

Finally, your O.I.S.D. hat is prominent throughout the video. What’s the latest on the rest of the crew, and any possible O.I.S.D. group projects?

My O.I.S.D. hat, and clothing, will always be prominent in everything I do. That’s my foundation.

Our crew is how I started making music, and I’ll continue with that, especially through representing our team with our clothes. I treat it like Larry Bird would treat a Celtics Jersey, or Magic with the Lakers uniform.

JohnNY U. and I are always together, whether it’s his project, or a feature, or we just need to vent to each other. Khid Touché is into photography, and video, and handles the bulk of our artwork and videos. JMNOP has been DJing, and working on his projects. Showtyme, aka Supaman, aka whatever nickname he has now {laughs}, is a professional dancer and has been on tours, and dancing for famous award shows and all types of amazingness, but we will drag him back to finish his parts.

As far as a group project, you should absolutely expect something in 2018. I’ll make sure of that. JohnNY just dropped an EP called Regular Everyday Mind (REM), JMNOP is gearing up for his solo, and I’m releasing music via streaming services every week.

For more Joey Golden, and O.I.S.D., check out jmanifesto.com, and the O.I.S.D. Facebook page.

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