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 NYC Scene Report features artistic hybrid Dru Barnes staying fresh like “Jean-Michel,” the “Power” of singer-songwriter Victoria Reed, something “Fucked Up” from indie rockers The Motor Tom, and a neighborly welcome from hip-hop duo Moonshine Burrito.
* When an artist cites Herbie Hancock as their guiding spirit, and Grace Jones as their creative muse, they have my full attention. In this case, said artist is Jamaica-via-Brooklyn musician Dru Barnes, who has quite the incredible life story.
In 2013 Barnes survived an attack that left him partially blind, and following his recovery he decided to alter his artistic path. Now utilizing improvisation, synths, trap, and hip-hop, Barnes is all about using music as a tool for transformation. Listeners can get a taste of this new sound with "Jean Michel," the lead single off of Barnes' upcoming solo LP, Silent Light, which is due out May 6th on Dither Down Records.
You can’t get more NYC than referencing a legendary LES artist, and once you check out this aggressive song there's a good chance you'll catch yourself rapping "I stay fresh like Jean Michel" throughout the day.
* Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Victoria Reed released a fantastic album earlier this year titled Chariot. Her debut effort, Chariot features vocals that seem as though they’re directly out of the 90s alternative singer-songwriter scene, and those vocals, along with Reed’s music, work to create a gorgeous vibe.
A perfect example of this can be heard on Reed's latest single, "All My Power," which she just released a video for the other week. The clip is beautiful in its simplicity, as Reed guides the listener through the song with her facial expressions. Click play, and let her set the mood.
* Speaking of NYC artists who've released amazing albums this year, longtime column favorite The Motor Tom released their full length debut, Super Sexy Space Station, earlier this month, and it's chocked full of super fun indie rock goodness. You don't have to take my word for it, though, upon the album's release the band posted, "Our album is out. It's the best album. It has songs, it has all the songs. We wouldn't have made it if it wasn't terrific."
The second single off of Super Sexy Space Station is "Fucked Up World," and the band released a video for it that they describe, saying, "It's about drinking outa cups, doing bad things with friends and acting like David Hasselhoff."
You clicked play as soon as you saw the words David Hasselhoff, right?
* New York City is oftentimes described as a melting pot, and it doesn't get much more melting pot than a Tennessee transplant, and an Arizona transplant, making a hip-hop song produced by a guy in New Mexico.
This is what we have with "New Neighbors (Hello)," which is a collaborative effort between the Moonshine Burrito duo of Jake Palumbo and Ciphurphace, and producer PerCWells. That musical menagerie of multiple backgrounds ended up creating a pure NYC hip-hop track, with two emcees spittin dope lyrics, and a beat that keeps your head noddin. Check it out.
For more of the best of NYC’s indie music scene, come back next Wednesday, and check out the archives for previous columns.