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 triumphant return of indie soul-pop duo Blind Benny, indie rock from Active Bird Community, and Hawk and Dove, and the wild musical stylings of J Hacha De Zola.
* Longtime readers of this site know indie soul-pop duo Bind Benny have been a favorite here for the better part of the past decade (they made their Adam’s World debut in 2012). In 2018, however, there was a bit of radio silence from the Blind Benny camp, which is why I was elated to see an email from them the other day promoting their brand new single, “All Bad Boys Go To Heaven.”
The song picks right up where they left off, with killer production, and Jade <3's stunningly gorgeous voice. Her vocal range is truly incredible, and she knows how to use it (hey, did I just remix a ZZ Top song there?).
As she laments, “Where have the bad boys gone / I’m searching where I don’t belong / Surely I’ll find him in Heaven,” you’ll be happy Blind Benny are back in action.
* Speaking of artists that are back in action, Brooklyn indie rockers Active Bird Community just released a new single titled “Somewhere,” which features Samia, whom they toured with this past Fall. It’s the first new music from the band since their 2018 album Amends.
Active Bird Community’s Andrew Wolfson explained the song in a statement, saying, “‘Somewhere’ is a song about escapism. I wrote it during a time in my life when I experienced the most intense effects of alcoholism and depression. I’m happy to say I’ve been alcohol-free for over a year and I plan to spend the rest of my life that way.”
The band is currently wrapping up a tour with Charly Bliss, and will have a hometown show on March 2nd at Bowery Ballroom. In other words, no matter where you live, you’ll have a chance to see Active Bird Community “Somewhere.”
* Brooklyn-based indie rock act Hawk and Dove just released their latest album, Our Childhood Heroes, and with that release they’re currently “Dreaming Of Flying.”
“Dreaming Of Flying” is the most recent single off the album, and it features folk-rock influences, and some really beautiful vocal arrangements.
While the album is about a heavy subject matter – the search for a miracle cure for frontman Elijah Miller’s father’s early-onset Parkinson’s disease – the music is a beautiful soundtrack for the journey. Click play to hear what I mean.
* After releasing a Spanish language EP last year, New Jersey-based musical polymath J Hacha De Zola is moving back to his self-described “urban junkyard” roots with his upcoming full-length album, Icaro Nouveau, due out March 8th.
Hacha De Zola describes the songs on Icaro Nouveau as being full of “villains, spells, desires, romance, danger, redemption, and revelations.” He then mournfully adds one more item to the list – “and a eulogy” – referring to the song “Ode To Ralph Carney,” which is about the late saxophone sideman who was a friend and mentor of Hacha De Zola.
A creatively titled album, Hacha De Zola dives into the meaning of Icaro Nouveau, saying the first word, Icaro, refers to “language taught through other worldly sources intended to heal those who hear it,” and Nouveau piggybacks off that idea. “I’ve been developing my own new language through the elements that are most familiar to me. My neighborhood – ‘mi barrio’ – where I’m from, and the diversity of cultures and vibes there.”
“On A Saturday” is the lead single off Icaro Nouveau. Click play and feel J Hacha De Zola’s vibe.
For more of the best of NYC’s indie music scene, come back next Wednesday, and check out the archives for previous columns.