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
You’d be hard pressed to find a more helpless feeling than returning to your van to find all of your gear stolen. Sadly, this is something that happens to artists on a regular basis. Heck, sometimes thieves don’t stop at just the gear, they’ll take the entire van.
I spoke with four artists who've gone through these experiences, and they shared some of the extra precautions they now take. Check out their tips for making sure you don’t become a victim of van theft.
When I first discovered Fjer back in 2014 she was creating fantastic downtempo soul. Since then, she's explored other genres of music, and her experimentation has resulted in a new sound. With her latest single, "Her Turn," Fjer debuts that new sound.
"Her Turn" is a song that breaks multiple genre barriers, and mixes her original downtempo soul with trip-hop, and a host of other influences.
Wholly original, and very cool, Fjer is on the verge of becoming her own genre, and it's one you're going to want to hear.
As the victim toll rose from the shooting at Orlando’s PULSE nightclub on the morning of June 12, pop singer-songwriter Logan Lynn, like many others, was shaken, saddened, and angry. He was also scared, but that was the emotion that would push him most. “My reaction to my own fear is to be louder,” he explains.
This week's NYC Scene Report features the jazzy vibe of brother-sister duo Lawrence, something very cool from the aptly named R&B/Pop/Hip-hop hybrid Cool Company, a dose of “Medicine” from rockers Pill, and some pure rock awesomeness from Victory Dance.
* If you're in need of a laid back, vibey addition to your day, you're definitely going to want to check out Lawrence's new single, "Misty Morning."
A beautifully chill dose of soulful jazz, "Misty Morning" is off of the NYC sibling duo’s debut album, Breakfast, which was released in March. The twosome’s sound belies the duo's young ages – Clyde and Gracie Lawrence are just 22, and 19, respectively – as despite their youth, they are veterans when it comes to performing.
Clyde is the youngest person to be admitted to the Songwriters' Guild of America (age 6) for his film composition on Miss Congeniality (2000), and Gracie has performed on Broadway in Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs, as well as in film and TV.
Speaking of performances, Lawrence will be spending the entirety of July on tour. Before you catch them live, you can grab a taste of Breakfast right here, with "Misty Morning."
* Keeping things cool, up next is Brooklyn-based duo Cool Company, whose latest single, "Howling," is a smooth mixture of R&B, pop, and hip-hop.
"Howling" is off of Cool Company's 2015 EP, Summer Daze, and the duo recently released a fantastic video for the song.
I have to admit, I'm a little late to the party when it comes to Cool Company, as they've been around for a few years. Formed in 2012, the twosome of vocalist Yannick Hughes (aka Cool Yan) and producer Matt Fishman (aka Fat Matt) first met in their high school choir days back in '06. With "Howling" it's clear they've graduated to even more impressive musical ventures.
Cool Company are currently working on a full length album they hope to release later this year. While we wait for that effort, let's howl along to “Howling.”
* If the pill Mike Posner took in Ibiza had been Brooklyn indie rock outfit Pill, there's a good chance his face would have been rocked off by its effects.
Pill will be releasing their debut LP, Convenience, on August 19th via Mexican Summer, and judging by the first single, the raucous "Medicine," it should be a heck of an album.
"Medicine" is a 90s alt-rock inspired tune with a sax thrown in, making the sound radically unique. As the song meanders its way into pure musical chaos, a chaos that I could totally imagine loving in a sweaty downtown venue, you realize you don't need a spoonful of sugar to help this medicine go down, you just need to embrace this medicine in large doses.
Be a Pill popper, and down some of their "Medicine."
* When I first heard Victory Dance back in March I was immediately floored by how amazing they sound. They're pure, unadulterated, kick ass, rock n roll.
The band just released a video for their single, "Memphis," which is off of their debut EP, The Spectrum, and the song will have you rockin out in your char, and possibly overturning your chair in a fit of Victory Dance fueled enthusiasm.
Hey, there's no sign in your office that says you aren't allowed to rock out. There may be after your chair tossing incident, but click play on "Memphis," enjoy the pure rock awesomeness, and be a trendsetter at work!
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 Adele’s gender bending insult to a critic, to Taylor Swift’s quick recovery from her recent breakup, to Bob Dylan’s amazing response to a cliched song request, and since this is Pop Shots you know everything is seasoned with a little bit of attitude.
* At a recent concert, Adele had some interesting words for a critic who accused her of using manipulated vocals on her album 25. Addressing the accusation, she said, “Some dickhead tried to say that my voice was not me on record. Dude, suck my dick.” This penis revelation may explain all of the previous relationship issues she's sung about.
* Lil Wayne is reportedly in “good spirits” after suffering a seizure on his private jet. The level of his "good spirits," however, were not disclosed, so we don't know if he's in "awake, and talking" good spirits, or "pouring champagne on his phone" good spirits. Let’s hope for the latter.
* Zayn Malik canceled his scheduled appearance at Summertime Ball 2016 in London, due to anxiety. So THIS is what happens when someone breaks up with Gigi Hadid?!?! Man, I swear, Taylor Swift's girl crew powers get scarier and scarier by the day!
* Speaking of Taylor Swift, the queen of the universe (hey, I’m not getting on her bad side!) was photographed locking lips with actor Tom Hiddleston this past Wednesday, just two weeks after her breakup with Calvin Harris. Some are accusing Swift of staging the photos for promotional purposes. You know, just once I’d like to see a celebrity stage relationship photos the old fashioned way, by booking time at a Glamor Shots in the mall.
* Iggy Azalea will be a judge on The X Factor Australia. After hearing this news, K-Fed immediately got on the phone with The Voice to see if he could have Adam Levine's chair.
* Lorde is back... but only as a songwriter. It feels like it's been forever since we last heard a single from her (it's actually been three years, almost to the day, since "Royals" was released), but the pop songstress does have a co-writing credit on electro-pop duo Broods' new single, "Heartlines." While this collaboration is all well and good, I, for one, am still waiting for her to work with her fellow Kiwi musicians Flight of the Conchords. C'mon Lorde, it's business time!
* Madonna said she was "speechless" after meeting President Obama backstage at The Tonight Show. I'm sure Obama was speechless, as well, but mostly because Madonna's damned scary.
* Filter decided to cancel a concert in Gothenburg, Sweden, after receiving death threats. So the band that wrote “Hey Man, Nice Shot” is getting death threats 21 years later? The circle of life is real!
* Everyone has attended a concert where someone shouted, "Play 'Free Bird!'" If you happened to be at Bob Dylan's recent show at the Greek Theater in Berkeley, CA, you actually saw the artist accommodate the request. Yes, that's right, Bob Dylan heard someone shout, "Play 'Free Bird,'" and he played "Free Bird." Something tells me this wouldn't work if I yelled, "Play 'Me So Horny!'"
And with that, my time is up for the week, but I'll be back next week with more shots on all things pop.
You may already be familiar with Ciphurphace's "I'll Always Love H.E.R.," especially if you're a reader of my weekly NYC indie music column, the NYC Scene Report (and why wouldn't you be? It's one of the most awesome columns on NYC's indie music scene ever created). I featured the song there when it was first released as a single, back in November of last year. Now, Ciphurphace has an exceptional video for the song that features his own daughter.
For those who might need a quick refresher course on H.E.R., the phrase comes from the Common classic, "I Used to Love H.E.R.," and is a representation of hip-hop in human, female, form. The humanization of hip-hop is used as a metaphor to show everything that's happened with the music of the culture.
Much like in Common's song, Ciphurphace uses the concept of H.E.R. to describe the rise of hip-hop, and many twists, and turns, it has taken stylistically. The video gives visual homages to many of the artists alluded to in the song, and is capped off with a father-daughter beatbox session, which beautifully illustrates that they will both always love H.E.R.
Now you have to click play, because how can you resist a father-daughter beatbox session?
This week’s NYC Scene Report features indie rockers Bear Hands warning us about what happens after “2AM,” Spanish language vocalist Cáthia showing us her journey, singer Ava Raiin making her solo debut with a trippy, dreamy, clip, and pop songstress Kiirstin Marilyn imagining a world where performing music has been outlawed.
* If you're a fan of Brooklyn-based indie rockers Bear Hands you pretty much have zero excuse for not seeing them live this year. The band will be on a national co-headlining tour with Aussie alt-rock duo Atlas Genius, starting July 18th, and they’ll also be making over half a dozen festival stops, culminating with a set at Austin City Limits this October.
Don't expect Bear Hands to stay late into the night at any particular show, however, as their new single posits nothing good happens after "2AM." The song is off of their latest album, You'll Pay For This, which was released back in April, and it’s all about the challenge of growing older, while still not wanting to fully let go of the scene you've come to be a part of. Check out the very cool video for "2AM" below, and if you're reading this after "2AM," get some sleep!
* We're about to have a first here at the Scene Report, as next up is the first song I've ever featured here that is completely in a language other than English. The song is "Volar," and it's by NYC-based Spanish language pop artist Cáthia. She's been called "the little girl with a big voice," and with the video for "Volar" she’s showing everyone she also has some big dreams.
Cáthia says of the clip, "I wanted the video for 'Volar' to give viewers a glimpse of what my life is like ... balancing school, music, rehearsals, and my personal life, all to the backdrop of my hometown, New York City."
From busking in subway stations, to rushing to class, it's clear Cáthia is driven, and that's a quality that transcends language.
* Sometimes you see a music video that makes you stop and say, "Well, that was really freakin cool." Minneapolis-born, NYC-bred, singer Ava Raiin's video for her song "Eagle Eye" is one of those clips.
The video, which was shot in both Colombia, and New York, was directed by Rafatoon, and produced by Brooklyn-based dreambear Productions. The goal was to create a visual that simultaneously represents both the outside world, and the world within our minds. The result, with its dreamy soundscape provided by Raiin’s vocals, is something you should definitely click play on.
* Imagine a world where Donald Trump is president, and performing music has become outlawed. That's the creative backdrop for NYC pop singer Kiirstin Marilyn's video for her latest single, "Out of Control." The clip begins with her and her drummer, Brian Dylla, being caught busking on a city street. A chase ensues that leads to a rooftop party. What happens at the party? You’ll have to watch to find out.
Marilyn says of “Out of Control,” which is off of her recently released EP, Ghosts, “The song itself is about very serious subject matter concerning the precarious state of our precious planet, but the music is energetic and fun. I wanted the video to convey the intent behind the lyrics while also mirroring the energy and vibe of the music.”
Check it out, and reclaim some "Control" with Kiirstin Marilyn.
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.