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 the debut of dream pop band Barrie, a new video from alt-pop fave Kiri T, a tour-based video from indie rock act Bethlehem Steel, and the long awaited return of hip-hop artist Kemba.
* You’d be hard pressed to find a more impressive debut single from an indie pop band than Barrie’s “Canyons.” A dream pop song with hints of ‘80s synths, and positively enchanting lead vocals, “Canyons” sounds like it would’ve been a perfect fit in your favorite Molly Ringwald movie, while still being right at home alongside today’s indie pop faves.
The Brooklyn-based band hails from all over the globe, as the five members migrated from Baltimore, Boston, São Paulo, London, and upstate New York. The fivesome came together through mutual friends, and in the case of their bassist, through a Tinder profile set up looking to track down someone who could play the bass.
Lead songwriter Barrie Lindsay says of the creation of the band’s opening salvo, “Every revision until the end was like a swipe of sandpaper, stripping it down and roughing up the sweetness.”
That roughed up sweetness is love at first spin.
* I’ve been featuring indie alt-pop artist Kiri T here quite a bit over the past year, and do you know why? It’s because her music is ridiculously dope!
Seriously, a lot of artists release good music, but Kiri T’s work is so polished that it sounds like it should be on Top 40 radio right now alongside Halsey, Lorde, and all the other current mainstream faves that are her musical contemporaries.
Check out the visually stunning video for “Strangers,” and hear why I’m so high on Kiri T.
* If you’re looking for some great indie rock, look no further than Brooklyn-based band Bethlehem Steel, who just released a video for their latest single, “Finger It Out.” The song is off of their 2017 album Party Naked Forever, and the clip puts you smack dab in the middle of the band’s tour life.
Filmed and directed by the band’s own Patrick Ronayne while on tour in 2017, and edited by Isabella Mingione (of Baked fame), the video features the Bethlehem Steel foursome doing just about everything.
If watching the clip gives you a strong desire to check out Bethlehem Steel live, you’re in luck! The band will be back on the road from March 6th through March 22nd, including a show at SXSW, and tour dates with Washer, and Yazan.
For a preview of what that tour might be like, click play on the video for “Finger It Out,” and get up close and personal with Bethlehem Steel.
* I’ve been featuring Kemba here for quite a while. Heck, I’ve been featuring him here for so long I remember when he was a young, up and coming, emcee in the Bowery Poetry Club scene, and was going by a different name!
With that in mind, I was hyped when I received an email from him with his latest song, “No You Ain’t.”
In the email he wrote, “I told myself I would make more music for fun, and rediscover why I fell in love with writing in the first place. I've been listening to JME's album Integrity for a while, and I wanted to remix my favorite song, ‘No You Ain’t.’”
He added that fans should be on the lookout for a lot more from him in 2018, saying, “The album is so close to being done. Me and Brasstracks are working overtime. I can't wait to start releasing singles. This is the year.”
If this proves to be the year of Kemba, “No You Ain’t” is a heck of a way to kick things off.
For more of the best of NYC’s indie music scene, come back next Wednesday, and check out the archives for previous columns.