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 hard rockers Ghosts of Eden, the jazzy pop vocals of Sinem Saniyé, indie rockers Chappo, and fresh hip-hop from longtime column favorite Top $ Raz.
* As all of you know, I’m a bit obsessed with artist discovery. It’s pretty much what this column, and most of my life, is all about. This week I’m featuring four acts of differing genres that I discovered in completely different ways. First up is Ghosts of Eden.
Ghosts of Eden came to my attention a few weeks ago while I was in attendance at the global launch event for IndiMusicTV. Held at Slake, the event featured four acts. The night’s headliner, Justina Valentine, I was already very familiar with. Ghosts of Eden, who hail from Brooklyn, were the second act of the night, they and immediately grabbed my attention. Not only were they reminding me of the glory days of Warped Tour, they had a cohesion, and a distinct personality, on stage.
Sometimes you see a band perform and it’s a just a moment in time, here for the moment, forgotten when the next band arrives. With Ghosts of Eden it was clear they were performing to be remembered. Their stage presence being a perfect example of the difference between simply being an artist, and being a potential star. Ghosts of Eden are certainly the latter. Check out “Happy,” off of their latest album, What Makes You Happy, and hear what I mean.
* Ever wonder if you’re taking full advantage of social media? Here’s a fun story about that. The other day I noticed someone favorited one of my more off color tweets, so I immediately checked out their profile. The person turned out to be NYC based singer-songwriter Sinem Saniyé, who I had no idea was following me. I followed her back, we talked about Tetris (long story), and I checked out her work. Guess what, she’s a really talented vocalist who performs pop music with, as she puts it, “a jazzy, naughty, mischievous twist.”
I’m all for my pop music being jazzy, naughty, and mischievous... actually I’m for more than just my pop music being that way, but I think I’m digressing a bit.
Saniyé was born in Germany, is of Turkish-American descent, and currently lives in NYC. Her history includes winning the grand prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition, touring the country, and opening for Lisa Loeb. Check out Saniyé’s latest, as she looked to make a “Man Outta You.”
* Sometimes I find great artists by going to shows, sometimes I find them on social media, and sometimes they're sent directly to my inbox by a publicist. The latter is the case with NYC-based indie rockers CHAPPO.
CHAPPO formed in the LES in 2009, but you won't find them in the city right now, as the band is currently on a national tour that will keep them on the road through the start of August. The tour is in support of their recently released album, Future Former Self, the latest single off of which is "Hang On."
The video for "Hang On" is a creative clip featuring a crashed space traveler from another time, played by the band's frontman, Alex Chappo. We follow the space traveler as he wanders the streets of NYC, looking to find his place, or more precisely, the right place to take his final breath. Check it out.
* Artist discovery isn’t something that only happens in the present. After nearly 15 years of writing about music, I have a bit of a past to draw on, as well.
Top $ Raz, a supremely talented hip-hop artist from Far Rockaway, NYC, is someone I met over half a dozen years ago when he was a young upstart cutting his teeth doing the open mic portion of the monthly Bondfire events that were held at the old Bowery Poetry Club (don’t make the mistake of thinking the current Bowery Poetry Club is the same thing. It’s similarities end with its name, and address).
I’ve had the pleasure of watching Top $ Raz grow as an artist over the years, and I’m really stoked about his brand new full length album, Regular Black. In a statement, he said the concept of the album is to reinforce the idea that, “Regular black is extraordinary,” adding, “we been in this country for 400 years. We came here in chains. From American property to American pioneers.”
One of my favorite songs from the album is “Stay Black,” featuring Mic Blaque. Give it a listen, and if you dig it, consider picking up Regular Black on bandcamp.
For more of the best of NYC’s indie music scene, come back next Wednesday, and check out the archives for previous columns.