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 NYC Scene Report features the organic indie rock of The Letter Yellow, some dream-pop from Monogold, a dance pop offering from Skylar Spence, and something noisy by post-punk rockers Uniform that will knock you right off of your seat.
* Back in 2011, after a number of years with the band Skidmore Fountain, and time spent as a solo singer/songwriter, Randy Bergida created The Letter Yellow. An indie rock trio with an emphasis on the organic when it comes to their music, the Brooklyn based band recently released their sophomore effort, Watercolor Overcast, the latest single off of which is “Anytime of Day.”
“Anytime of Day” features a sound The Letter Yellow developed by recording their album completely analog from start to finish. What this means is the band solely used their instruments, a Neve console, and a 24 -track tape machine. Computers were not a part of the process.
The result of this is an authentic sound, and that sound has been on display every Monday at the Living Room in NYC, as The Letter Yellow has enjoyed a residency there that will conclude on August 17th. If you haven’t been able to catch them live, check out “Anytime of Day” right here.
* We’re currently in the dog days of summer, which means a lot of you are probably spending some time, or wishing you were spending some time, at the beach. If you’re stuck at your computer, one beach you can visit from your desk chair is Brooklyn trio Monogold’s “Orchard Beach,” which is the first single off of their upcoming album, Good Heavens, due out August 21st.
The album started out as a three-song singer/songwriter acoustic demo recorded at frontman Keith Kelly’s apartment. However, as the band continued to add their dream-pop layers to the songs, a process that included the use of a grand piano, an assortment of woodwinds and brass instruments, and a harp that almost didn’t fit up the stairwell of Kelly’s building, it became clear something special was happening.
What was once going to be a three song demo became an album, and if you’re into dream-pop, Monogold’s “Orchard Beach” is a place you’ll want to visit.
* With the Canadian teen melodrama Degrassi coming to its broadcast TV end this past week, I felt it was only right to feature Long Island based pop artist Skylar Spence in this week’s column, as he once wrote a song named after one of the show’s characters (“Fiona Coin”).
Spence’s upcoming album, Prom King, is due out September 18th via Carpark Records, and he just released the latest single off of it, a moody synth pop effort titled “Affairs.”
According to Spence, “Affairs” was inspired by “a dream about running into someone I used to be close to, and they didn't recognize me. I felt like I had to put on a disguise to salvage that relationship, and in the end I didn't have the ability to carry that on.”
Check out Skylar Spence’s “Affairs” below, and then later this year see himlive during his Prom King Fall Tour, which will run from Oct 14th through Nov 21st.
* Post-punk, synth-punk, and industrial music all come together in the aggressive sound of NYC duo Uniform. Consisting of longtime friends Ben Greenberg and Michael Berden, after years of being members of other groups they joined forces in 2013 to work on music together.
Berden, who writes lyrics that are filled with a combination of anger, resentment, and regret, screams his vocals over Greenberg’s guitar, bass synth, and drum machine lines. Their cohesion in aggression can be heard on their latest single, “Indifference,” which is off of their recently released album, Perfect World.
The song, and album, were recorded with Greenberg’s guitar run through an ‘80s preamp marketed to metal kids, and the drum machine they used was an Akai XR20, which Greenberg says is a machine “most people wouldn’t want to keep around.”
Hear how Uniform used those instruments, and Berden’s intense vocals, on “Indifference,” the name of which is a bit ironic, as it’s likely to be the one emotion no one will have towards the song.
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.