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
This week’s edition of the NYC Scene Report features a new sound from Stroamata lead singer Dara Eagle, the electro-rock of Born Cages, some genre expanding hip-hop from PitchBlak Brass Band, and a little bit of house music from electronic music duo Perdido Key.
* Dara Eagle might be best known as the frontwoman of Stroamata, a Brooklyn based rock band which has kick ass performances that include sound activated lighting. This is why I was a little surprised to learn her first solo effort is just her and a ukulele.
Eagle says of the unusual choice of instrument, “I don't like to stick to one instrument in my songwriting because each one has something different to offer a song. When I was a kid I took piano lessons, and started writing on that. As a teenager I added guitar, (and) switched over to it for a while. I picked up the ukulele one year, and couldn't put it down. I picked back up my middle school trumpet. I have a viola around I'll get to one of these days.”
Eagle's solo EP, which is titled My Sense of Reality: Vision One, is a stripped down, emotional set of songs that clearly comes from a personal place. While this sometimes calls for softer vocals, her rock roots can still be heard on songs such as “To Tune,” and “Fate My Friend,” the latter you can check out right here. If you dig it, consider picking up the EP on bandcamp.
* Sometimes you become a fan of a band after just one listen. That’s what happened to me when I clicked play on Born Cages’ “I Just Want The Truth, Baby.” The song is the lead single off of the electro-rock group’s upcoming debut album, I’m Glad I’m Not Me, which is due out June 2nd, and the track is downright intoxicating.
The ominous, almost NIN-like, bass line parallels the album’s theme of embracing NYC disillusionment, which the band describes as the dependence of being told your mere existence in the city is a sign of having “made it,” yet still feeling alone while in one of the most densely populated places on the planet.
“I Just Want The Truth Baby” reportedly sets the tone for the rest of the album, as the band mixes rock, electronic music, dance, and alternative, to create a sound that’s simultaneously new, and nostalgic.
Check out the song, and hear why Born Cages, who will be on this year’s Warped Tour, should be on your radar.
* A lot of people complain about a lack of creativity in hip-hop. Truth be told, those people simply aren’t looking very hard. In NYC alone we have a plethora of artists, and groups, who are doing groundbreaking work. One such group is Brooklyn’s PitchBlak Brass Band.
PitchBlak Brass Band is a ten piece collective of musicians with disparate musical backgrounds who have come together under the umbrella of hip-hop.
This past week the group released “Like Us,” which is the first single off of the as-yet-untitled follow up to their 2013 album, You See Us. If you’re sensing an “us” theme here, you’re not alone, but since the “us” in this case is them, and they are dope, it’s cool to be all about the “us.” (Did I make that sentence as confusing as humanly possible while still being grammatically correct? Awesome!)
Give a listen to “Like Us.” It’s a big track, and you can expect more big things from PitchBlak Brass Band throughout the year.
* Not a lot is know about NYC electronic music duo Perdido Key, but they've reportedly spent quite a lot of time in the city's underground club scene doing everything from spinning in illegal Brooklyn DIY venues, to raving in an abandoned Chinese restaurant. That unique nightlife vibe is something the two producers have captured with their recently released debut EP, Lost Is Found.
From house, to techno, Perdido Key are all about making people move, and creating a good time. The title track is an example of this, as it's pure inspiration to get out of your seat and onto the dance floor, even if that dance floor may not be of the traditional kind.
Who needs tradition, though, when you can have your dance music with a little flavor? Check out "Lost Is Found," and get lost in some electronic music that has a soul.
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.