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 NYC Scene Report features an R&B groove from Starchild & The New Romantic, the triumphant return of hip-hop artist Jonny October, “Super Sexy” indie rockers The Motor Tom, and “Pretty Ugly” metal band Fear Is Dead.
* If you’re looking for a local version of Bruno Mars, or The Weeknd, Starchild & The New Romantic will be music to your ears. The project of Brooklyn-based musician Bryndon Cook, Starchild & The New Romantic mixes elements of older soul with current R&B to create a fresh sound that's equal parts funky and cool.
While the classic soul Cook is drawing from comes from the 80s and 90s, his sound is in no way stuck in the past. Take, for example, his latest single, "Slammin' Mannequin," which is off of his upcoming debut EP, Crucial, due out March 18th on Ghostly. The song has a bit of a Prince-vibe, but it still can be slid right into modern R&B playlists. Oh, and no, "Slammin' Mannequin" isn't a reference to Kim Cattrall, although older listeners may be imagining her as they listen to it.
* Over the past few weeks I've been ridiculously excited about a number of indie hip-hop artists I haven't heard from in quite a while announcing they're releasing new projects. The latest who falls into that category is Jonny October. The Brooklynite has teamed up with his brother, Box B, for a brand new full-length album titled Prisoner's Cinema, which will be released this Friday.
For a preview, check out the video for the album’s lead single, "Off The Grid." The clip is sorta like an indie hip-hop version of The Revenant, but without the bear. OK, so I didn't actually see The Revenant, but I know there was a lot of trekking through the snow, and the video for "Off The Grid," embodying its lyrics about getting away from society, features Jonny October in a whole lotta winter.
* Indie rock is allowed to be fun. That's the one of the major themes of The Motor Tom, who you've seen featured here a number of times over the past few years. The band has a raucous live show, and come March 1st they'll be launching a Super Sexy Space Station. Their Space Station being a full length album that features the band at their best.
Every song on Super Sexy Space Station is a winner, and with hints of 80s and 90s influences, there are plenty of good times packed into it. The band posted a stream of Super Sexy Space Station on their super sexy soundcloud, which I encourage you to check out (I'd post the embed if it was embeddable, but it isn't). If you're looking for a taste before you decide to sample the full length effort, click play on their video for "Left Out." The clip is a perfect representation of everything the band is about.
* If you like your rock a bit harder, you'll want to check out NYC metal band Fear Is Dead. Led by emcee-turned-rocker Skila, Fear Is Dead has been making a name for themselves in the city's indie hard rock scene, and with their latest single, "Pretty Ugly," which is off of their recently released EP, Eleutherophobia, they sound like they’d be a good fit on the bill of just about any metal tour.
If eleutherophobia causes your spellcheck to melt, it's because the word comes from the Ancient Greek "eleutheria," which means freedom. This makes eleutherophobia the fear of freedom. With that knowledge now in your back pocket, it’s clear that with Fear Is Dead you can expect some intelligence, and some social issues to be dealt with.
Check out "Pretty Ugly," and let Fear Is Dead help you face the fear.
For more of the best of NYC’s indie music scene, come back next Wednesday, and check out the archives for previous columns.