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 Soma Holiday jumping the gun, the unexpected return of Parlour Tricks, Avalona feeling “Fearless,” and Tristâme warning us about a “Master of Words.”
* One of my favorite aspects of writing this column is finding bands with a ridiculously cool sound/vibe. Soma Holiday is one of those bands.
Consisting of Marah VanBeekom, Ryan-O’Neil, Karel VanBeekom, Jon Wert, and Andy Oom, the band has a unique origin story. Ryan-O’Neil explains their history, saying, “We first started playing together under the name Soma Holiday in 2013. The initial idea was to have all these jazz musicians who came up playing sax, trumpet, and guitar switch up their instruments and play indie rock. Our bassist played jazz trumpet for years, our keyboard player is a saxophonist, and our lead singer has a background in opera and musical theater.”
After taking the time to hone their sound, and play some live shows, the band will finally be releasing their debut EP this year via Ryan-O’Neil’s label, Brave New Records.
While the EP is as of yet untitled, you can feel free to jump the gun when it comes to getting excited about it by clicking play on the band’s video for their latest single, “Jumped The Gun.” I guarantee you’ll immediately want to hear more.
* At the end of December I was completely taken by surprise when Lily Cato nonchalantly tweeted a link to a new Parlour Tricks album, titled Sweetheart.
The Cato-led band has been a favorite here since I first discovered their music back in 2013, but I hadn’t heard anything from then since 2016.
While catching up with Cato about all things Parlour Tricks, she explained, “The long break is due to the fact that the band ended officially in 2016. People moved, had babies, went to grad school, etc. Life happened, and we still love each other a lot. The text chain is going strong.”
She continued, adding, “I’ve been busy with other things, and have been enjoying the break from music. One day last winter I woke up and decided I wanted to make a record. No ‘comeback’ agenda, no strategizing, just to make music for the sake of it. So that’s what I did.”
Cato notes, “It’s a different band on this album, but still my writing, and so it felt right to call it a Parlour Tricks record. These musicians are some of the best I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, aside from the original Parlour Tricks lineup. It was a phenomenally fun, relaxed creative experience.”
When it comes to the content of the album, Cato says, “Some of the songs are new, some are the first songs I ever wrote for the band, which we either never recorded, or never felt right when we did.”
They sure feel right on Sweetheart. Check out the title track, and celebrate the return of Parlour Tricks.
* Every couple of years an inspirational pop song strikes a chord with listeners and becomes a mega-hit (Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song,” and Sara Bareilles’s “Brave” being prime examples of this). These songs don’t just exist in the mainstream, however, and Avalona – the latest project of NYC indie singer-songwriter Dina Fanai – recently released one of her own with “Fearless.”
Powerhouse vocals accentuate this anthem about courageousness, and rising up through adversity, and the single is just the start of what looks to be a big couple of years for Avalona.
The first of a 12 song collection, “Fearless” will be part of a full-length immersive theatrical experience co-produced by her musical partner, and husband, Bob Kinkel (of Trans-Siberian Orchestra), that will launch in the Spring of 2021.
Thankfully, you don’t have to wait that long to hear “Fearless.” Click play, and get ready to feel inspired.
* NYC, by way of Syria, singer-songwriter Tristâme wants to warn everyone about a “Master of Words.”
A tale about a person with manipulative charm, and eloquent dishonesty, “Master of Words” was inspired by a personal experience, and defies simple musical categorization.
Tristâme’ notes, “The musical influences behind this song include the Syrian culture of my upbringing, ‘90s alternative rock, and South American ‘Nueva canción’ folk.’ He adds that thanks to being in the melting pot of NYC, “This recording features musicians from all over the globe – Macedonia, Peru, USA, Syria, and Colombia.”
Click play, and watch out of the charms of Tristâme’s “Master of Words.”
For more of the best of NYC’s indie music scene, come back next Wednesday, and check out the archives for previous columns.