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 indie rock of Operator, soul-pop from CHCKLK, a pop-rock tune from The Turnback, and a political hip-hop song from MegaCiph.
* “I, Banana” is not an autobiography written by a piece of fruit. Well, for all I know that could exist, but in this case it’s the very cool lead single from Brooklyn indie rock group Operator, whose debut album, Puzzlephonics, is due out October 9th.
Operator’s sound is tough to pin down, as it incorporates everything from traditional indie rock, to analogue synths, to feedback noise, and their influences range from krautrock, to art pop, to electronic minimalism.
Rather than going straight to Google to look up half of those terms, just click play on “I, Banana,” because no matter how many musical styles have gone into Operator’s sound, theirs is one that is completely their own, and it’s pretty awesome.
* Sometimes you hear a song that’s just so f*cking cool you don’t know whether you want to immediately play it again, or run and tell everyone you know about it. This was the case the first time I heard Long Island native CHCKLK’s “The One.”
According to CHCKLK, the soul-pop song, which features some really dope, spacey, production, is about “attempting to analyze the pitfalls of life, while questioning our motives to break through them and succeed.”
Keeping with the theme of success, CHCKLK is also in the process of creating an artistic community titled Kids of the Forest, which will focus on pushing boundaries, and challenging societal conventions.
Right now you should push play on the video for “The One,” and if you like it, you can download it for free on Soundcloud.
* Great pop-rock bands are becoming hard to find. Sure, there’s the occasional Maroon 5, or 5 Seconds of Summer, or act that doesn’t have the number five in its name, that breaks through, but for the most part, pop music has become dominated by solo acts. With their upcoming sophomore album, Are We There Yet?, NYC power-pop trio The Turnback are looking to turn back the clock to when pop-rock bands ruled the day.
Are We There Yet?, which is due out October 2nd, is a 12 song effort that will reportedly be filled with “contagious hooks, big bright guitars, and giant harmonies.” If the lead single, “Five Days A Week” (holy crap, there’s the number five again!), is any indicator, it’s going to be a very fun ride. Check it out.
* Megaciph has been featured in this column a number of times, and for good reason, he’s a hip-hop artist with political mind, and the skills to voice his views in a powerful, and direct way. His latest single is “AYOTZINAPA,” and the story behind the song is a heartbreaking one, as it stems back to September 26th of last year, when 43 young men in Mexico, who were on their way to a protest, were kidnapped.
This, Megaciph says, wasn’t a singular incident, as he notes such kidnappings are a regular occurrence in Mexico, and he has a theory as to the root of the problem. “The murders, and disappearances, that are endemic in Mexico are a result of America's failed ‘War on Drugs,’” he explains, “and international trade and labor practices such as NAFTA.”
Megaciph adds, “It is time we end the hypocrisy, end the prohibitions, cut off the power of the drug lords, and get these corrupt governments to stop peddling weapons and drugs.”
Check out “AYOTZINAPA.” You’ll be chanting the title by the end of the song, which is available as a free download via Soundcloud.
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.