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 the jazzy sounds of Scruffy Pearls, the anthemic rock of Victory Dance, some dark synth pop from Gurus, and a panda filled video from indie pop group Jimkata.
* You know I'm a huge fan of going to see artists I've never heard of, just for the potential opportunity to discover something great. That discovery happened yet again a few weeks ago, as I was in the city to catch a couple of friends' performances at Rockwood Music Hall, and in-between their sets I checked out an act named Scruffy Pearls.
From the moment I heard lead singer Carly Brooke's jazzy, soulful voice, I was hooked, and I really dug the entire vibe of the band. I hope to hear more from them in the near future, and will definitely be on the lookout for the next time they perform live. Check out a living room session they did of their song "Sugar To My Tea," and hear why I'm so high on Scruffy Pearls.
* Within seconds of clicking play on Victory Dance's "Memphis" I knew I was listening to something special. An anthemic rock song that makes you stand up and pay attention, "Memphis" is the kind of song you'd want as your walk up music if you were in a championship fight.
"Memphis" is off of Victory Dance's recently released debut EP, The Spectrum, and although it's the band's initial effort together, they’re a group of veteran musicians who've been in numerous acts over the years. That musicianship is on full display here as they've formed like Voltron to become Victory Dance, a fitting name for a band that sounds like they're always primed to win.
* Somewhere in-between dark synth pop, and modern synth rock, you'll find Gurus, a Brooklyn-based multimedia project helmed by Michael Friedrich.
Gurus came to be in 2013, when Friedrich attained sobriety, and was reflecting on the experience, most notably the people, and events, that surrounded him during the process. This led him to think about cults, as he'd been a part of tightly knit recovery groups, and saw some intriguing parallels; from the mutual aid they can give, to each having their own special language. This, in turn, inspired him to draw another parallel, this time to music communities.
All of these thoughts led to the creation of Gurus, and the standout single, "Believers." Give it a spin, as I'm sure it will make you a believer in Friedrich, and his work.
* Panda gangs are real! Well, at least they are in Jimkata's video for their song "Wild Ride." The clip features people in panda costumes taking literal rides on Vespas, as well as some intense panda on panda crime, and an exuberant celebration involving a sky lantern... cuz that's how pandas celebrate, yo!
"Wild Ride" is off of the Ithaca-based indie pop band's recently released album, In Motion, which the group is currently on the road in support of, with a tour that wraps up on April 30th. If you can't catch Jimkata on the road, catch their panda act below.
For more of the best of NYC’s indie music scene, come back next Wednesday, and check out the archives for previous columns.