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 indie pop-rock band Saint Slumber embracing their “Youth,” electro-pop goodness from N-A-R-C, J Hacha de Zola continuing to push musical boundaries, and alt-electro-pop duo The Blow inspiring people to “Get Up.”
* With a mixture of indie pop, rock, electronic music, and a little bit of R&B, NYC/NJ’s Saint Slumber have created a sound that’s incredibly appealing, and with their latest single, “Youth,” the band seems primed to break into the mainstream.
“Youth” is off of Saint Slumber’s debut EP, Youth//1, and it’s a song that would be just as home on Top 40 radio as it would be being performed on stage at Warped Tour. The crossover potential is seriously insane.
Check out the video, so you’ll be able to say you knew about Saint Slumber before they blew up.
* I dug N-A-R-C when she was making music on the fringes, and heavy into experimentation with electronic music. I may be diggin’ her even more with her new, more electro-pop leaning sound.
She recently released a new album, titled Infinite Mine, the latest single off of which is “Watch Her Dance.” It’s a pulsating pop jam, the video for which features a run through the cleanest, and emptiest, public transportation system I have ever seen (yes, I’m f*cking jealous).
I described the album’s previous single, “Forward Motion,” as “Carly Rae Jepsen for grown ups,” but “Watch Her Dance” is something altogether different, as it pushes the musical envelope in ways only N-A-R-C is able to. Click play, and check it out.
* J Hacha de Zola might be the closest thing we have to a modern day Frank Zappa. The way he plays with sound, including his own vocals, makes his music completely uncategorizable, and I’m pretty sure he loves it that way.
The New Jersey native describes his creative process, saying it’s all about “shooting the arrow first, and then painting the bullseye around it.”
He expands on this, adding, “I never go to the studio with songs written. I allow the musicians to be themselves, and throw all they’ve got at it. Then I’ll go and peel back the various layers to fashion a song from it all. It’s a pretty risky way of making an album, because when it’s all done you may have something that isn’t agreeable to you. Other times, you arrive at something truly magical, and the songs take on a life of their own. There’s a certain kind of voodoo there that could not be planned.”
For an example of what that voodoo creates, check out “No Situation,” which is off of J Hacha de Zola’s upcoming album, Antipatico, due out October 6th.
* If you loved the alt-electro-pop that existed on the fringes of the alternative scene in the ‘90s, you’re going to love Brooklyn duo The Blow.
Consisting of Melissa Dyne and Khaela Maricich, The Blow will be releasing a new album titled Brand New Abyss on September 22nd (they have a ton of goodies offered up in their PledgeMusic campaign).
Dyne describes their new music, saying, “After having worked heavily with samples in the past we got to a place where we wanted to treat electronic sound more acoustically, like something more alive. We wanted to make waves that we could ride, and play around in – newer waves.”
Maricich adds that when it comes to the first single off Brand New Abyss, “Get Up,” “‘Get Up’ started with a crazy sound that Melissa made on the modular synth, and the chorus just popped out of my mouth like something I’d been needing to be able to say for a long time without knowing it. It was like how you write a love song so easily when your heart is being crushed – with this it’s the feeling of my whole spirit being crushed by extreme capitalism, like everything I used to love got demolished, and replaced by a glossy new bank. Then in recent months it was like, yeah, having an intense rap about how it’s all just too much right now feels pretty right.”
“Get Up” with The Blow.
For more of the best of NYC’s indie music scene, come back next Wednesday, and check out the archives for previous columns.