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 debut of Purr (who are actually two very familiar faces for longtime readers of this column), Jesse Malin singing stories from his decades in the scene, Foxes in Fiction with something very non-fiction, and Dalton Deschain & the Traveling Show having no shortage of strangeness.
* You may remember seeing an indie pop duo named Jack + Eliza featured here a handful of times between 2014 and 2016. If you liked their music, I have a feeling you’ll also like the band Purr – because it’s Jack + Eliza!
The duo recently signed to ANTI- Records, which will be releasing the first Purr album in 2020. Listeners don’t have to wait until next year to hear Purr, however, as the duo are already making a splash with their first single, “Take You Back.”
Eliza Callahan and Jack Staffen discussed “Take You Back” in a statement, saying “‘Take You Back’ is one of the first songs we wrote as Purr, which is why it felt right to share it with you early on. We were shifting gears when we wrote and demoed this song, just stepping into a new and expanded sound that was naturally unfolding and taking hold. We had just graduated from college and were writing constantly out of an empty basement space that the last kind landlord in New York City has let us use. In July of 2017 we arranged and recorded the first version of ‘Take You Back.’”
It’s safe to say that whatever name they choose, we will always take them back!
* Veteran musician Jesse Malin has been a mainstay in NYC’s music scene since the ‘90s, when his punk rock band, D Generation, rose to fame. Over the years he’s switched gears, and gone the acoustic singer-songwriter route, but as his latest album, Sunset Kids, proves, he’s just as good, and poignant, as ever.
Malin explained the inspiration for Sunset Kids, which was produced by Lucinda Williams and Tom Overby, and is out now via Wicked Cool Records, saying, “From the early frontier days of hardcore in New York, to all the punk rock and singer-songwriter touring, it's all been about survival and reinvention. I wanted to make an open-sounding record with the space to tell these stories. I like to write about characters and people I meet along the way – the dreamers, schemers, hustlers, romantics, lovers, leavers and believers.”
Meet some of those folks by clicking play on the video for “When You’re Young.”
* Foxes in Fiction, the indie pop project of Warren Hildebrand, will be releasing a new album titled Trillium Killer on October 18th, and it has some really heavy influences.
Discussing Trillium Killer in a statement, Hillibrand said of the album, which he recorded in his home studio between 2017 and 2019, “Whereas most of the music I’ve made in the past has been concerned with themes of hope, healing, and moving forward, Trillium Killer is about what happens when people start to lose their footing, slip backwards, and the things you have to do, and the decisions you have to make, to cope with being in that kind of place.”
One of the lead singles off Trillium Killer, which Hillibrand will be releasing via his own label, Orchid Tapes, is “Rush to Spark.” He explained the inspiration for the song, saying, “‘Rush to Spark’ is about getting a sense of what it feels like to be neurotypical after finding medication that works for you, but still living with the understanding that mental illness is going to be something that you’re going to have to deal with, and maintain, for the rest of your life. It’s also about the stress and tension that you unintentionally – or intentionally – can put on your own life, and lives of people around you when you’re experiencing episodes caused by your illness.”
Give it a spin, as Foxes in Fiction is clearly adept at working in non-fiction.
* If you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary, step into the world of Dalton Deschain & the Traveling Show, whose just-released EP, Casey, is the finale of their three-EP pulp-horror story about a circus ringleader possessed by a demon, set in the 1940s.
I told you this was a little out of the ordinary.
The EP also includes a 60-page eBook featuring lyrics, and a brand new short horror story titled “The Dogman,” which was written by Deschain, and illustrated by David Flamm.
The lead single off Casey is “Man/Thing,” which Deschain explained in a statement, saying, “While of course the song fits into our big horror mythos like the rest, I try to make every song about something personal to me, as well. ‘Man/Thing’ is primarily about how our perceptions of ourselves can swing dramatically between feeling like you’re on top of the world, to feeling absolutely insignificant and worthless. Ultimately the best way forward is to just try to remember that you’re everything you are, nothing more, nothing less, and that’s all you need to be. So I guess there’s a little bit of armchair therapy in this one, while at the same time being a spooky swamp demon story, which I think describes the Venn diagram of this band’s interests pretty well.”
If that isn’t enough to make you want to click play, I don’t know what is!
For more of the best of NYC’s indie music scene, come back next Wednesday, and check out the archives for previous columns.