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 fresh hip-hop from two of the city’s most respected emcees, K. Gaines, and Otis Clapp, singer-songwriter fare from Jeremy Bass, and an EP of remixes from R&B duo Lion Babe.
* With a history of fantastic group projects, and solo efforts, K.Gaines has been one of the most respected members of NYC’s indie hip-hop scene for well over a decade. Quite frankly, he could rest on his laurels and still get plenty of props in the city. K.Gaines isn’t one for resting, however, as his plans for 2018 position him as one of the busiest artists in hip-hop.
Starting with his just released EP, Ticket To Elsewhere, which is a collaborative effort with LA-based producer Maxwell Benson, K.Gaines will be releasing five EPs, each with a different producer, through the end of next year. As if that wasn’t enough, the artwork for each EP in the series will form a visual piece creating of a map which can lead listeners to hidden prizes around the country.
The first single off of Ticket To Elsewhere is “Opulence,” which K.Gaines sees as a perfect entry point to his new work. “If you don’t get it, then it wasn’t meant for you,” he explains, “If you get it … welcome to Ticket To Elsewhere.”
Listen to “Opulence,” and punch your ticket.
* Otis Clapp set the indie hip-hop world on fire this year with his Hellen Keller EP. The release launched him from being known throughout NYC, to being known throughout the entire country.
How does one follow up such a year? If you’re Otis, the only reasonable answer is – keep rapping your ass off!
His latest single is “Flight School,” which he describes as the beginning of his post-Helen Keller era. He still holds the previous era in high regard, however, as he raps on “Flight School, “New and improved, but the old me’s still dope.”
Whether it’s the new Otis Clapp, or the old Otis Clapp, his work is always worth playing with the volume cranked up.
* There are a bevy of NYC-based singer-songwriters who play guitar. You can throw a rock at any coffee shop in the city and hit at least one (note: I do not condone, nor advise, actually throwing rocks at coffee shops). So what makes singer-songwriter Jeremy Bass special in this sea of artists? For one, he has roots as a classically trained guitarist, and two, he’s traveled the world – including Italy, and Spain – honing his craft, and mastering his instrument.
Bass will be releasing his next album, The Greatest Fire, on January 19th, and the songwriting has some real depth to it.
“I thrive on the interplay between what people think they’re hearing, and the actual content beneath,” he explains, “I think that’s where the best songwriting happens.”
This is exemplified in the song “Trees For The Forest,” which is the first single off of The Greatest Fire, and features lines like, “But you know those people who never get lost, never learn how to find their own way.”
Click play on “Trees For The Forest,” and enjoy the artistry of Jeremy Bass.
* Lion Babe have become one of the biggest names in NYC’s R&B scene. Their music has always been great, and when you throw in the fact that vocalist Jillian Hervey has been featured in a bevy of ad campaigns, you have yourself a recipe for success.
When it comes to recipes, some say too many cooks spoil the broth, but in the case of Lion Babe’s singles “Rockets,” and “Hit The Ceiling,” they’re all for inviting more cooks to add new flavors to to their favorites.
After a few top notch audio chefs recently worked their magic with the songs, Lion Babe released an EP of remixes of “Rockets,” and “Hit The Ceiling.” They’re some funky, dance floor ready, tracks that will get you up and movin’.
Click play, and catch the feeling.
For more of the best of NYC’s indie music scene, come back next Wednesday, and check out the archives for previous columns.