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 the danceable pop of Skylar Spence, an ode to living it up on a budget from hip-hop hybrid artist Afika Nx, a first impression of, and from, indie rock/blues artist Alejandro Meola, and a very strange video from the bizarre mind of experimental pop artist Jerry Paper.
* Whether you first heard his work when he went by the name Saint Pepsi, or you became familiar with his music after he became Skylar Spence, if you've listened to anything by the artist whose government name is Ryan DeRobertis you know he makes great pop music.
The Long Island native's latest, "Can't You See," is a tune that will likely inspire you to get up and dance (even if you’re reading this while at work). The song is off of the upcoming Skylar Spence album, Prom King, which is due out September 18th on Carpark Records. Spence says of his teaming up with Carpark, "(It) gave me the confidence to 'go big' with the new material," adding, "a few songs on Prom King are about specific events in my life – a party where I got too messed up, watching a friend's life spiral out of control and trying to help – but I tried hard not to be too autobiographical, because I want my music to unite, above all else. I'm much more interested in connecting with the listener than mystifying my personality."
There's no mystery here, "Can't You See" is a winner. Check it out.
* If you look at the almost fantasy-like images of high rollers living it up in the city you might think it takes a fat wallet to have a good time here. Thankfully, hip-hop hybrid artist Afika Nx has created anthem for those of us who like to have fun, but have limited funds.
The song, "C’est La Vie," features a mixture of hip-hop, reggae, and calypso, and sounds like a party in and of itself. In an interview with Okayafrica, Afika Nx said of the song, "We wanted to make something fun, and communicate to people that money should never define you, or limit your enjoyment of life."
Check out the video for "C’est La Vie." By the end of it, you’ll be ready to dance in the street just like performers in the clip.
* If you're a believer in the importance of first impressions, you're going to enjoy Miami-born, Buenos Aires-bred, New York-based rock/blues musician Alejandro Meola's upcoming album, which is all about his first impressions of his new home of NYC.
“I could have called it First Impressions of New York," he said of the album, which is simply titled First Impressions, "it's essentially the musical expression of this inner revolution I’ve experienced in the past couple of years since I first moved to New York from Buenos Aires. The people, the streets, the language, the bars, the food, the fashion, they are all imprinted in these new songs. (They’re) not mentioned once literarily in the lyrics, but (they’re) in the sound.”
First Impressions is due out July 15th. Check out the latest single from it, "Gypsy Woman," right here, and get your first impression of Meola.
* Every once in a while I come across something so strange I feel compelled to share it. This week, the video for Jerry Paper's latest, "Halfway Zen," is that thing.
Jerry Paper is the alter ego of NY-based musician Lucas Nathan, and while he's based out of NY, the video for "Halfway Zen" takes place in Aruba, which Jerry traveled to after a fan requested he perform in a Surinamese restaurant there. Armed with a film crew, and a desire to capture something unique, when all was said and done the video for "Halfway Zen" was born.
Jerry, whose latest album is titled Carousel, considers himself a bizarre pop artist, which makes the clip for "Halfway Zen" completely fitting. This one’s a must-see.
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.