NYC Scene Report - Wild Yaks, Jocelyn Arndt, & more

This week’s edition of the NYC scene report features indie rock from Wild Yaks, the classic rock inspired sound of Jocelyn Arndt, some worldly hip-hop from Soul Inscribed, and the debut of singer-songwriter Corey Lewin.

* If you're in the mood for some good ol’ fashioned Brooklyn indie rock, Wild Yaks are here to take you to “Paradise.”

“Paradise” is the lead single off of the band’s upcoming eight song LP, Rejoice! God Loves Wild Yaks, which is due out June 2nd via Ernest Jenning Record Co. The album maintains the band’s tradition of boisterous group vocals, and has the added bonus of a horn section, strings, flute, and a saxophone. Produced by Kevin S. McMahon (Swans, Titus Andronicus, The Walkmen), the result is indie rock goodness that's incredibly easy to enjoy.

Check out “Paradise,” and rejoice with the Wild Yaks.

* A few weeks ago I was in the city for a couple of shows (shocking, I know), the first being a performance by rock singer-songwriter Jocelyn Arndt. The Albany native was at Rockwood Music Hall with her band, which includes her brother, and her entire set was really impressive.

With vocals that border on whiskey soaked, but are still clean, Arndt sounds like someone who was raised on ‘60s rock records, and would enjoy having a drink with the ghost of Janis Joplin. She also did a killer cover of the Alannah Myles classic, “Black Velvet,” that blew me away.

Arndt released her debut EP, Strangers In Fairyland, earlier this year. Check out the lead single, “Cinderella,” and rock out with her.

* Immediately following Jocelyn Arndt on the Rockwood Music Hall stage was the hip-hop / jazz / world music quartet Soul Inscribed.

Consisting of Baba Israel, Duv, Yako 440, and Sean Nowell, their set was all about remixes, but not just typical remixes, remixes from their trips, and influences, all around the world. The foursome have performed everywhere, and they’ve integrated the unique musical styles of each place they’ve visited into their sound. At one point Baba Israel even broke out a didgeridoo, which I hadn’t heard used in since the Jamiroquai days!

There was also a huge freestyle element of Soul Inscribed’s set, as they jammed together as a foursome, while still giving each member time to shine individually.

For a taste of the vibe of the evening, check out this DJ Kiva remix of “Dream State.”

* If I told you that someone who had been pursuing a career in politics decided to give it all up to become a singer-songwriter you might have some very odd visions of a wrinkled old man strumming on a guitar, singing about campaign reform. Allow me to assuage your fears, that's not the case with the formerly politically minded Corey Lewin, as the NYC-based artist was actually a singer before pursuing any other aspirations.

Born and raised in Ridgefield, CT, Lewin made his way to Washington D.C., but eventually left that life and headed to NYC to jump start the career he knew he always wanted. That career launched in full yesterday with the release of his debut EP, Simple Love. The album features Lewin, his acoustic guitar, and the use of a looping pedal, and the sound is classic NYC singer-songwriter.

Give Lewin’s single “Passenger's Side” a listen. It’s a tribute to a longtime friend of his who served as a helicopter pilot in Afghanistan, and it's a perfect introduction to both Lewin’s musical style, and his songwriting.

For more of the best of NYC’s indie music scene, come back next Wednesday, and check out the archives for previous columns.


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