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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This week’s edition of the NYC Scene Report features the debut of retro punk rockers Cheena, tour news from psych-pop outfit Kuroma, something uplifting from singer-songwriter Jeremy Bass, and a cartoon filled clip from emcee turned singer-songwriter Ryan-O’Neil.
* NYC fivesome Cheena were all born and raised in the city, and came together in 2014 thanks to a shared love of 70s punk, Mercer Arts-era NYC early glam, and West Coast country punk. On April 14th the band will be unleashing their musical melange to the world with their debut 7'', "Did I Tell You Last Night?"
“Did I Tell You Last Night?” mixes the bands many influences, as they look to channel a time when the internet didn't exist, and if you liked a band it was a whole lot more involved than simply clicking "like."
All five members of Cheena have played in different groups, but had a strong desire to create something outside of the genres of each of those respective bands. The result is a sound that will take listeners back to a more adventurous time in the city, when bands, rather than realtors, roamed the LES.
* The members of indie psych-pop band Kuroma are a bit spread out, with some living in Brooklyn, while others call Athens, GA, home. That said, they'll be seeing A LOT of each other this spring and summer, as the band will be on the road from April 23rd through June 6th, performing with the likes of Tame Impala, Tennis, and Ex-Hex.
All of Kuroma's touring will be in support of their upcoming full length album, Kuromarama, which is due out April 7th via Votiv Music, and was produced by MGMT's Ben Goldwasser.
Although Kuroma is a relatively new name on the scene, their roots go all the way back to when members Hank Sullivant and James Richardson were eight years old. The two met at summer camp, and won a talent show with their acoustic songs. Fast-forward to adulthood, and Sullivant called up Richardson, as well as friends Simon O'Connor, and Will Berman, to create the band.
Kuroma’s mixture of pop, garage rock, and psych-pop, make for a fun sound that's sure to put anyone in a good mood. Check out "Simon's In The Jungle." I'm absolutely sure you'll feel great afterwards.
* During the winter of 2013, Brooklyn singer-songwriter Jeremy Bass was in serious need of a pick me up. The combination of his marriage ending, and selling the house he’d lived in with his wife, left him feeling secluded and alone. It was then that he decided to try to write his way out of his emotional pain, and because of that decision we have “Lift Me Up.”
“‘Lift Me Up’ is the first song I wrote after months of not writing,” Bass said in a statement, “it was on one of those dark nights when it was all I could do to keep myself from going crazy.”
Not only did Bass not go crazy, he taught himself to play the mandolin and the banjo, and went on to write both his upcoming album, Winter Bare, which is due out April 14th, and an album filled with Bossa nova inspired tunes, titled New York In Spring, that will be released June 2nd.
“By the end of the winter, I’d fallen in love again,” Bass says of his new situation, “and had a set of songs that wove their way through loneliness, despair, and near-insanity, to love, and longing, and ultimately hope.” “Lift Me Up” is the first song from that set.
* You may remember Ryan-O'Neil from my feature on the emcee turned singer-songwriter last year. His eponymous EP, and first foray into the singer-songwriter scene after long establishing himself in the city's hip-hop circles, was a highlight of 2014.
Personally, I firmly believe when you have something great, you should continue to promote it, which is why I’m thrilled to see that even though the calendar now reads 2015, Ryan-O'Neil is still working his EP, and has released a video for the song "Cigarettes."
Filled with rock influences, “Cigarettes” is a highlight of the project, and the video is a creative clip filled with musical scenes from an array of cartoons, including Looney Tunes, Josie and the Pussycats, The Archie Show, and Doug.
Normally I advise everyone to steer clear of cigarettes, but Ryan-O’Neil’s is one you should definitely take a drag from.
For more of the best of NYC’s indie music scene, come back next Wednesday, and check out the archives for previous columns.