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 introduction to experimental pop newcomers Strangers on the Internet, a new video from indie rockers Modern Whale, classic NYC indie rock from Sleepyhead, and fresh new hip-hop from veteran emcee Sav Killz.
* NYC indie experimental pop duo Strangers on the Internet are brand new to this column, and the world, as they recently released their debut single, “Good Problems.”
For the duo, which consists of Lilly Wolfson and Alex Neuhausen, music would seem to be in stark contrast to their daily grind as coders, although, believe it or not, their 9 to 5 jobs have an influence on their art.
Wolfson went into detail about this while discussing “Good Problems” in a statement, saying, “I started writing this song when I began my job at Bloomberg. The company’s headquarters is in a skyscraper in midtown Manhattan and the sixth floor has this massive atrium that’s like a glass temple with steel ribs. Skyscrapers remind me of churches, metal and glass stretching upward and so on, and I wanted the song to sound like a hymn in places, with choirs and piano and strings.”
She continued, adding, “My therapist once gave me this book called Bullish Thinking. It’s basically a self-help manual for financial advisors who can’t cope with the stress of their jobs. It’s got stories of finance guys who killed themselves ‘cause they lost money for their clients. Some of that stuff found its way into the lyrics – the third verse gets pretty dark.”
With a mixture of late ‘90s / early ‘00s pop, as well as alt-pop, and electro-pop, “Good Problems” is a song you’ll have on repeat as we all get acquainted with these Strangers.
* Brooklyn doesn’t seem like an ideal place to go on a whale watching expedition, but if you love indie rock, it’s where you’ll find Modern Whale.
The trio recently released a new single, titled “The Dirt,” the video for which was produced by, directed, and stars Raviv Ullman (as seen everywhere from network TV, to MTV, to Disney, to HBO), and Martin Spanjers (Grey’s Anatomy, 8 Simple Rules), and also features John Beach.
The clip takes the viewer all over NYC, but Modern Whale still call Brooklyn home, as the band formed at Meserole Sound Studio, and their founder, Rob Guariglia lives in Bushwick.
Check out the video for “The Dirt,” and enjoy this whale that lives in Brooklyn.
* Ever hear the saying – what’s old is new? Well, that’s sort of the case with ‘90s indie rock band Sleepyhead. The band formed in 1989 in an NYU dorm room, released their first 7-inch single in 1991, and reached their initial apex with the albums Starduster (1994), and Communist Love Songs (1996).
This past week both of those albums were re-released by Drawing Room Records as part of a deluxe set titled Future Exhibit Goes Here. The set features re-mastered versions of both albums on vinyl, as well as an 11×11” booklet full of Sleepyhead member Michael Galinsky’s black and white photography from the band’s time on the road in the ‘90s, plus notes and details from all three members.
If you want to know what NYC indie rock sounded like in the ‘90s – and make no mistake, it sounded good – give Sleepyhead a spin. You can check out their song “Go West!” right here.
* In NYC’s indie hip-hop scene, two qualities that have always been respected are consistency, and hustle. Sav Killz has an abundance of both, and he’s ready to show them off once again with the release of a new single titled “Gettin To It.”
While Sav Killz remains consistent with his rhymes, production-wise “Gettin To It” is a bit smoother than his usual fare, which is traditionally steeped in gritty NYC realness. That said, it’s great to hear Sav rhyme on something a little different, and his ability to do so proves why he’s been a mainstay in the scene for well over a decade.
“Gettin To It” is off of Sav’s Bangers and B-Sides 2 mixtape, which is available both with, and without, DJ drops, via the All Elements bandcamp page, and you can check out the video for it right here.
For more of the best of NYC’s indie music scene, come back next Wednesday, and check out the archives for previous columns.