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 some "Lines" from indie pop artist KYOSi, your Unconditional Surrender to the genre-defying band Gurus, a name change for emcee YC The Cynic, and a lesson in the "Cocaine Business" from Mighty Casey.
* When I first heard KYOSi back in February I really enjoyed the breezy pop goodness of her song "Early Riser." Her recently released second single, "Just Lines," is an equally breezy pop track that, much like her lead single, you can easily imagine as part of your spring/summer soundtrack.
With her songwriting skills, and beautifully crisp vocals, KYOSi is an artist I'm looking forward to hearing a lot more from. Perhaps an EP, or an album, this year? I ask that hoping she reads this and replies, because I honestly don't know what's in the works for her. I just know that whenever she drops a new song it's a must-listen.
Check out KYSOi's "Just Lines," and hear what I mean.
* Genre-defying band Gurus will be releasing their debut album, Unconditional Surrender, this Friday, and it would only be fitting if it helped the Brooklyn-based outfit develop a cult following, as the content of the album revolves around the concept of cults.
"Going Home" is the second single from Unconditional Surrender, and the video for it, which was directed by Steve Nolan, and stars Gurus member Destiny Montague, is inspired by the unsettling messages of a cult member who grew up in songwriter Michael Friedrich's hometown, and who died in a group suicide trying to reach the "level above human."
I don’t know about you, but after checking out “Going Home,” I’m ready to drink the Gurus Kool-Aid. Musically, speaking, of course.
* I've known YC The Cynic for around seven years now, and I've seen him go from young upstart in the old Bowery Poetry Club hip-hop scene, to household name in indie hip-hop circles nationwide. Now, however, with the album he's been working on with Frank Drake for nearly two and a half years almost ready to be released, YC The Cynic is changing that now household name of his to a name that, for him, represents his growth as an artist, and a man. Say goodbye to YC The Cynic. Say hello to Kemba.
"I was about 12 years old when I got the name YC," Kemba explains, "I grew up with it, made mistakes, and starting making a name as a teenager. The further I got into adulthood, the more I felt suffocated by it. This change will allow me to be the artist I'm becoming, unapologetically. I've learned a lot about the industry since the release of my last album."
Before Kemba launches into the next stage of artistic life, however, he’s leaving YC The Cynic behind with one last musical statement. "I wanted to cap off the first stage of my career with The Farewell Tape, a compilation of some of my favorite moments, verses, and unreleased songs, all tied together by a quick summary of how I came to be. Included are songs with King Mez, Homeboy Sandman, Mick Jenkins, illmind, Milo, and more."
Check out "The Mantra," featuring Eli Black, from The Farewell Tape, and then get excited for what’s coming next from Kemba.
* Many of you probably remember Mighty Casey as the hip-hop artist who gave us the BET Uncut classic "White Girls." What you may not know about Casey Gane-McCalla is that he's also an accomplished author, having recently written a book titled Inside the CIA's Secret War in Jamaica. That's right, the guy who made you laugh, is also someone who can make you think.
According to a release, Inside the CIA's Secret War in Jamaica covers “the rise of violence between the PNP (People’s National Party) and the JLP (Jamaica Labor Party), the assassination attempt of Bob Marley, and the rise of the Jamaica Shower Posse and its ties to the CIA."
Still a musician, Casey released a song in conjunction with the book, and since the book covers a heretofore unknown part of Jamaican history, it only makes sense that reggae would be genre in which to make his statement. Give Mighty Casey's "Cocaine Business" a spin. It may inspire you to pick up his book!
For more of the best of NYC’s indie music scene, come back next Wednesday, and check out the archives for previous columns.