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
This week’s edition of the NYC Scene Report features the ebullient sound of Spirit Plate, a really weird video from electro-pop duo Stranger Cat, the old school feel of pop-rockers American Darlings, and Astoria Stand Up’s creative concept for a film and a soundtrack.
* I don’t want to make too many bold assumptions here, but I get the general feeling that Brooklyn indie pop-rock foursome Spirit Plate are having more fun that the rest of us. Their music has a joy to it that’s contagious, and I find it really hard not to smile while listening to them.
Spirit Plate’s latest is “Broken Prose,” which is off of their self-titled debut album, and is a great example of the band’s trademark combination of 90s fuzz, and 60 psychedelic pop.
The video for “Broken Prose” features a one man Dance Dance Revolution, and a bunch of old clips from everything from the news, to an internet how-to video. Oh, and there’s also a puppy! How can you go wrong with a puppy? You can’t! It’s impossible!
* I’ve already written extensively about how much I enjoy the dreamy electro-pop sound of NYC duo Stranger Cat, but this week I feel the need to mention their latest visual release, which is the video for their song “Ecstatic Energy.”
“Ecstatic Energy” is off of Stranger Cat’s full length debut, In The Wilderness, and the video stresses both the Strange, and the Cat, aspects of the duo’s name. The clip, which is both unique, and mildly terrifying, features what looks to be a feline inspired workout/dance, and cats that I hope eventually killed and ate their owners.
I’m not sure if Stranger Cat found this odd footage, as it looks pretty retro, or if the video was simply made to look old school, but regardless of whether it’s new or old, it’s something you can’t take your eyes off of. Click play and see what I mean.
* American Darlings sounds like a band name from the past, and that’s apropos, as their music has the happy feel of old school pop-rock.
The band’s latest, “You and I,” is a very danceable song whether you’re wearing a poodle skit, or a mini skirt... or pants. You are totally allowed to wear pants. In fact, I’m wearing pants right now. Well, I’m wearing shorts, but it’s hot, and you get the point I’m trying to make here – the song crosses eras!
“You and I” is off American Darlings’ latest release, Rubber Tracks, which was recorded at Converse Rubber Tracks Studios in Brooklyn. Check out the song, and start movin’ to their sound.
* Sometimes you have to root for a long shot, and with a Kickstarter campaign that’s looking to raise $300k, Astoria Stand Up seems like a bit of an underdog. That said, their goal is one worthy of support, as they look to create a film and soundtrack, titled Harmony & Dissonance, that expresses the positive, barrier breaking, qualities the artistically creative can have in a multicultural environment.
Since this is a music column, I’m going to focus on the Harmony & Dissonance soundtrack, which will be developed using a concept Astoria Stand Up calls “Harmony Sessions.” These sessions are collaborations that bring musicians and poets from diverse backgrounds together to explore their art, and essentially jam.
In a statement, the folks at Astoria Stand Up said of these sessions, “We put this vision to the test by bringing musicians and poets into our home to share their personal stories, speak to the themes of Harmony & Dissonance, and collaborate with people they just met. The process revealed that, at times, the perfect way to express yourself is through the help of a stranger.”
Check out one of their “Harmony Sessions,” and then head on over to Astoria Stand Up’s Kickstarter campaign to learn more.
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.