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 a jazzy, soulful, hip-hop jam from Big Village Little City, hip-hop artist Otis Clapp taking aim at those who give “Fake Love,” indie rock duo Soft Center dealing with some “Loose Ends,” and singer-songwriter Saul Rivers creating some “Change.”
* If you were listening to music in the ‘90s you enjoyed the heyday of when hip-hop had major jazz influences, and created vibes that were dope on multiple levels. NYC’s Big Village Little City is a throwback to that era, combining jazz, hip-hop, and soul. Rather than sampling the sounds, however, they have the band to make it happen live.
The group was founded in 2016, launched by Minneapolis-bred rapper Forefeather and veteran NYC jazz singer Amy Grace, and their debut album, Over the Weather, is due out November 9th.
Grace described the album in a statement, saying, “Each song will make you dance in a different way. Every track has a vibe that inspires its own kind of movement. The live show is high energy, and you can really feel it through the recordings.”
Give the album’s lead single, “Snake Oil,” a spin, and move your body to Big Village Little City.
* Queens-based emcee Otis Clapp has no time for “Fake Love,” and his latest song takes aim at those he’s been there for, but haven’t had his back in return.
“This is my way of nonchalantly telling my fake ‘friends’ to eat a frank,” he says of “Fake Love.”
The song is the fourth single off Otis Clapp’s Quentin EP, which was released in August of this year and was produced entirely by Ricky Vaughn.
Check out the video for “Fake Love,” and crank up the volume if you happen to see one of those types of people walking by.
* Brooklyn-based indie rock duo Soft Center released their debut album, No Pattern, last month, and according the to band, recording the project involved a little bit of time travel.
In a statement, the twosome of Gina Pensiero and Sean Lango described the recording process, saying “Some of our earliest memories of playing music together are from the pre-smartphone era, but all of our past recordings together have been partially, or totally, digital in process. When we had the opportunity to escape NYC to John Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone Studio in California and immerse ourselves in the analog world, we jumped right into it. This recording was about opening up to the vulnerability that’s inherent in leaving computers and screens out of the work. Recording this way not only let us focus more on the sounds themselves – rather than their digital, visual representations – but also helped us embrace imperfection. Neither of us are technophobes, but sometimes some beautiful things happen when you don’t get a thousand re-dos and limitless editing capabilities."
Check out the video for the single “Loose Ends,” and hear how going old school created an indie rock gem.
* Indie singer-songwriter Saul Rivers is down for a “Change.” “Change” being the recently released single from his new live EP, The Pineapple Sessions.
Rivers described the inspiration for “Change” in a statement, saying, “I know that for many people, including myself, it can be hard to get out of your own way. We all have flaws that slow our growth down, and I wanted to write a song about realizing those flaws in myself, and making a conscious effort to change them so that I can reach my goals more efficiently. Basically I’m getting older, have more grey hair, and have started ‘adult-ing’ more.”
Another “Change” for Rivers came in the recording of the EP. “I had been performing these new songs at various shows and wanted to put together a raw and organic recording of them,” he explained, “There’s always so much that can be done in the studio to change the nature of a song, and I wanted to put something out that was truly real, with no edits or do-overs, that would capture the nature of their origins. Everything was recorded and filmed live in straight takes, and we had to choose the best full take from each song as we played it – something that can make any perfectionist uneasy, but is also a great exercise in allowing the imperfections of reality to make these recordings as unique and original as possible.”
Check out this live performance of “Change,” and you’ll hear why raw and real was definitely the way to go.
For more of the best of NYC’s indie music scene, come back next Wednesday, and check out the archives for previous columns.