Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Entertainment journalist with 20 years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, and B-movies. Part time ninja. Kicked cancer’s ass. My memoir, ChemBro, is out now!
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You know how sometimes a music venue will have a really awesome event for a number of years, but then the venue goes through some changes, and the event ends up looking for a new home? Well, welcome to the new home of my NYC Scene Report! Thankfully, I found a classic venue for it, rich in indie music history dating all the way back to 2003.
Speaking of history, this week’s edition of the NYC Scene Report features four acts that have been favorites of the column, as I have a warped game show themed video from all boy/all girl, a weird puppet show from Leapling, a live clip from Rocket & The Ghost, and a “Manifesto” from Bryant Dope.
* Everybody loves game shows. Mostly because if you’re watching one it probably means you’re a child who has the day off from school. The game show in NYC septet all boy/all girl’s video for “Glitters,” however, is one you probably wouldn’t want your kids seeing in-between The Price is Right and Family Feud.
Deranged beyond all measure of imagination, “Glitters” features two contestants so fixated with the concept of fame that they’re willing to do literally anything for the limelight. Directed by Lukasz Pytlik, the video was reportedly inspired by the song’s theme of being in a delusional state of bliss despite noticeably non-blissful surroundings.
“Glitters” is off of all boy/all girl’s recently released EP, Trophy, which features the septet combining pop, avant-garde jazz, and indie rock, to create their own sound that has a flair for the theatrical.
Check out the video for “Glitters.” It will make you think Survivor is a walk in the park.
* Keeping things extremely weird, and creative, indie rockers Leapling released the video for their new single, “Crooked,” and it features a surreal puppet show that leads to an equally surreal walk down the street.
Written, produced, and edited by the band's own Dan Arnes, Nerdist describes the clip as, “Puppet Inception.” I describe it as one of the great videos of 2015, so far.
“Crooked” is off of Leapling’s full length debut, Vacant Page, which was released last month. The album is the result of a wide array of musical influences that range from Broadcast, to Portishead, to J Dilla, to The Neptunes (a DJ could do a pretty insane mash-up using those four acts!).
This month the band has taken their show on the road... well, their actual show, not the puppet show, as they’re currently on a tour that will wrap up March 27th in their hometown of Brooklyn. Even if you can’t catch them live, you can see their warped puppet show right here.
* Longtime readers of this column are very familiar with the band Rock & The Ghost. I’ve raved about the Brooklyn-based indie rockers numerous times over the past two years. I haven’t been the only one raving, however, as the band won the Independent Music Award for Best Love Song in 2014 for their single “Gold.”
How do you follow up such a huge honor? Attempt to be “Better Than Before.”
“Better Than Before” is Rocket & The Ghost’s latest single, and the video for it, according to lead singer Kiyoshi Matsuyama, was easy to brainstorm. “The concept of this music video is simple,” he explained in a statement, “what you see is what's actually happening in the moment. We're performing live, but with high quality visuals and audio to give it the effect of a standard video.”
The reason for, to paraphrase Bill O’Reilly’s legendary rant, doing it live, was to essentially create an advertisement for Rocket & The Ghost’s live shows.
If you haven seen Rocket & The Ghost live, check out “Better Than Before” to see, and hear, what you’ve been missing.
* I’d been eagerly anticipating Queens emcee Bryant Dope’s Raw Dope 2 for over a year. Finally, after a few delays, it arrived earlier this month via his Soundcloud page.
Dope is an emcee I’ve kept an ear out for since hearing his first Raw Dope album, which was an EP he released at the very end of 2013. It was filled with, as the album title states, a rawness about life. There’s also an incredible amount of intelligence to Dope’s work. That said, it never feels like he’s preaching.
He may only be just barely old enough to order a drink at a bar, but Dope has a maturity, both in life, and in music, that is far beyond his years. “I enjoy great music,” he told me in an interview last year, “I love all hip-hop, from trap to super super boom bap in a crate somewhere, but my heart is any type of artist that can express emotional depth. That's where my heart is.”
Dope’s latest expression of emotional depth is Raw Dope 2, the latest single off of which is “The Manifesto.” Check out the video, and download the album.
For more of the best of NYC’s indie music scene, come back next Wednesday, and check out the archives for previous columns.