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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Pop Shots – Embrace What You Love
Monday, January 22, 2018

Welcome to your weekly dose of pop world musings. Covering all things pop culture, this week Pop Shots is hitting you with thoughts on everything from Katy Perry’s latest inspiration, to Justin Timberlake’s odd listening party menu, to Offset’s new neck tattoo, and since this is Pop Shots you know everything is seasoned with a little bit of attitude.

* Katy Perry announced her latest lip-line with Covergirl Cosmetics, and according to the pop superstar it’s completely cat-inspired. More would be known about the line of products, but someone accidentally distracted Katy with a laser pointer.

* Justin Timberlake’s Man Of The Woods listening party had some interesting choices for hors d'oeuvres, as ants coated in black garlic and rose oil, and grasshoppers, were served. See, this is why you should never have Bear Grylls cater your event.


* The lineup for Now That's What I Call Music!’s latest edition, Now 65, has been announced and … wait, they’ve made 65 of these albums?!?! SIXTY F*CKING FIVE?!?! Now that’s what I call a highly effective marketing gimmick!

* Kid Rock has changed the name of his upcoming tour from The Greatest Show on Earth, to The American Rock N Roll Tour. This comes after a lawsuit from Feld Entertainment, who are the longtime owners of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which happens to own the phrase The Greatest Show on Earth. Also, let’s face it, if you don’t have two flamboyant men in sparkly outfits who work with white tigers, you aren’t the greatest show on earth.


* Carrie Underwood revealed the fall she had in November that resulted in a broken wrist also injured her face, requiring 40+ stitches. The country superstar told fans she may appear “different” when they see her again. Hey, Carrie, in the unlikely event that you’re reading this, let’s compare 2017 scars sometime. We can also invite Selena Gomez. Between your fall, her kidney surgery, and my cancer and lung surgeries, I think we can make scars a hot new trend!

* Offset, of Migos fame, now has Cardi B’s name tattooed on his neck. The complete tattoo is of Cardi B’s logo and an image of the Powerpuff Girls character Buttercup. The latter is likely an homage to the Buttercup necklace Cardi bought last year. Whether or not Offest and Cardi last as a couple, one thing’s for sure … they’ve cemented their place as Mojo Jojo’s least favorite rappers.


* Ricky Martin and Jwan Yosef have officially tied the knot. I guess this means Ricky is now living la vida domestic.

* In tragic news, Cranberries lead singer Dolores O’Riordan passed away last Monday at the age 46. She will forever be remembered as one of the most powerful, and unique, voices of her generation.


And with that, my time is up for the week, but I'll be back next week with more shots on all things pop.

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Vid Pick: NEFFEX – Rumors
Friday, January 19, 2018

Having released more than 50 singles over the past three years, Orange County, California duo NEFFEX have managed to accomplish what so many artists long to do – they’ve created their own unique place in the music world, and in turn, developed a devoted following.

After one listen to their music, that following shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as with a mixture of electronic music, trap music, hip-hop, and a sprinkling of pop, the NEFFEX duo of Cameron Wales and Brandon Horth have a sound that’s far reaching, and blurs the lines of traditional genres.

Back in April of 2017 NEFFEX released “Rumors,” a song about the type of woman that immediately sparks an interest, and stays on your mind. It wasn’t until just this past week, however, that they released a video for “Rumors.”

Always wanting to get to the bottom of “Rumors,” I caught up with NEFFEX to ask them about the song, and the video, as well as their incredible output of singles, and what kind of “payin’ dues” moments they experienced earlier in their career.

Let’s start by talking about “Rumors.” Is “Rumors” about someone specific, and if so do you think they know the song is about them?

Brandon: Rumors isn’t about anyone in particular, but rather the types of girls you see throughout your time in high school, college, and life, that are mysterious. The type of girl that gets people talking.

How many “Rumors” types would I bump into (pun fully intended) were I to visit Orange County for a weekend?

Cameron: Depends on where you go, but odds are you’d run into quite a few.

Growing up around Newport, Laguna Beach, and Huntington Beach has exposed us to some very “mysterious” ladies. {laughs}
 
What was the casting process like for a girl with “a body like a coke fiend?” That seems like an odd request on CraigsList.

Cameron: Yeah, we definitely did not have our manager post any ads looking for coke fiends, that’s for sure. {laughs}

He would send us models and actresses that were interested in the role, we would check out their work, and social media, until we found the perfect fit, and we really think that Caroline (who landed the role) has that body! We stayed out of the process of HOW she got that body, though …


“Body like a coke fiend” sounds like a compliment in the context of the song, but let’s be real, how messed up would this girl’s metabolism be?


Brandon: Oh her metabolism’s shot for sure, but hey, who needs that anyway?



You originally released “Rumors” in April of 2017, and it’s been a huge hit for you, with the track generating over 3 million plays on YouTube without an official video, and nearly 2 million listens on Spotify. With those numbers already being so high, what went into the decision to ultimately release an official video for the song?


Brandon: A couple months back we decided that the next step in our growth would be to start getting our faces, and image, out there to the public. We wanted to start releasing music videos, and were working with a few different videographers.

We launched “Fight Back,” “Best of Me” and “Baller,” and once we really felt like we were hitting a groove we decided we should put out a video for our #1 track, and that’s how we decided to start setting up the process for recording “Rumors.”

You’ve released over 50 singles. Is an album in the works for 2018?


Brandon: That’s up in the air. Honestly, singles have been working great for us. It’s fun to write and record something new each week. We love the consistency, and we think our audience does, as well.

Essentially, don’t fix what isn’t broken, but we do always have something up our sleeves to keep progressing as artists, and growing, so don’t be surprised if we throw some curveballs in 2018. 


Tell everyone about the #FOXFAM. Who are they, and what do they mean to you?

Brandon: Ahhh the good old Foxfam.

When we started out we wanted a mascot and we both agreed the NEFFEX FOX would be pretty sick. Our logo was even developed off that, to an extent.

We knew we wanted something timeless, and once we drew out the triangles it was a no brainer, but as we continued to post #FOXFAM we realized that, one, it didn’t apply strictly to us – many people could use that hashtag – and two, a YouTube influencer by the name of Tanner Fox was already utilizing it. Therefore we transitioned to calling our fan base the NEFFEXNation.

Anyone who enjoys our music, shares our music, follows us, or just supports us is part of our NEFFEXNation.



You guys formed NEFFEX back in 2014, and I read you were in a punk band together before this. While you’re kickin’ butt now, what do you remember as one of your most “payin’ dues” moments from back in the day?


Cameron: Oh man, we were in such a god awful punk garage band back when we were 15. We recorded one song called “The Beaminator,” and it was never released because it was just the worst.

That was probably a good payin’ dues moment, realizing you suck.

Since then there’s a ton of moments where you’re just learning, and growing, and getting better at communicating a message, or getting the sound just right. There’s also a ton of eye rolls, and a certain stigma that goes with being a musician that you go through, so those are some “payin’ dues” moments.

You have to prove yourself before people start buying in.
 
Finally, and please know I saved my big important super journalistic question for last, which was the more accurate portrayal of Orange County – The O.C., or Laguna Beach?

Cameron: We can honestly say we’ve never seen either, but Lauren Conrad's pretty hot, so yeah ... 

For more NEFFEX, check out neffex.com.

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NYC Scene Report – Hannah Gill and The Hours, Jeff Rosenstock, & more
Wednesday, January 17, 2018

This week’s NYC Scene Report features the return of the ever-soulful Hannah Gill and The Hours, a surprise release from indie rocker Jeff Rosenstock, a heartfelt, soulful song from Joan As Police Woman, and a tour announcement from indie folk trio Everything Turned to Color.

* It’s been a little while since we’ve heard from Hannah Gill and The Hours, but they’re back with a brand new single, and it may give you a feeling of “Deja Vu.”

One of the most soulful vocalists in the city, Gill takes her music in a bit of a new direction with “Deja Vu,” as there’s a slight disco influence, musically, but with the traditional boldness listeners have come to expect from her. The combination makes for a single you’ll want to play over and over again.

Give “Deja Vu” a spin, and speaking as someone who’s seen her live, if you find out Hannah Gill and The Hours are coming to your town, don’t miss the show!


* On New Year’s day, when many folks were waking up from a solid night of partying, or at the very least a solid night of watching people freeze their assess of on TV, indie rocker Jeff Rosenstock released a new album, titled POST–, on Bandcamp, via his own Quote Unquote Records.

The album, which Rosenstock is offering up for free/donations, was reportedly recorded during an 86-hour marathon recording session with Jack Shirley (Joyce Manor, Deafheaven) at the Atomic Garden in East Palo Alto, CA. Rosenstock said of the session with his band, “The four of us stood in a room without headphones on and just played the songs live to tape, and after that we had some friends (Dan Potthast, Laura Stevenson, Chris Farren, PUP) fill out some of the sound.”

Polyvinyl Records, which is Rosenstock’s new label home, will be giving POST– a physical release on CD and vinyl on March 23rd, 2018, and you can check out a song from the album right here.


* Brooklyn-based songstress Joan As Police Woman has a maxim in life – “If it feels scary to say it, it’s the thing you must say.”

This maxim has inspired much of her work, including her upcoming album, Damned Devotion, which is due out February 9th via Play It Again Sam.

“I am always wanting more intimate dialogue,” Joan As Police Woman explains, “Fear of being vulnerable, future tripping, and feelings of shame, paranoia and jealousy get in the way … Why don’t we try trusting each other enough to be fully transparent? What is there to lose?"

One thing’s for sure, you have nothing to lose by clicking play on Joan As Police Woman’s soulful, heartfelt, single, “Tell Me.” Give it a spin, and check out this arresting artist.


* Even if you don’t live in NYC you’ll have a chance to see NYC indie folk trio Everything Turned to Color live this winter, as they’ll be hitting the road for a string of dates on both sides of the country.

From January 24 through February 11th they’ll be performing throughout the Northeast, and from February 17th through the 24th they’ll be hitting the West Coast (see their full tour itineraries here).

While the band is relatively new – officially forming in 2015, when Bryan and Kyle Weber met Neha Jiwrajka in the lobby of their apartment building – the trio are actually veteran musicians, with Neha having released a solo album, and the Webers being members of the alt-rock band Zelazowa.

Everything Turned to Color released their full length debut, Life Imagined, in 2017, and while you wait for them to come to your town, you can check out their song “Soft in Lament” right here.


For more of the best of NYC’s indie music scene, come back next Wednesday, and check out the archives for previous columns.

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Stacking The Deck with Christina LaRocca
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Stacking The Deck is a feature exclusive to Adam’s World where I bring packs of 1991 Pro Set Superstars MusiCards to artists, and we discuss who they find in each pack.

Donnie and Marie Osmond had a hit way back in the day titled “A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Rock N Roll.” In the case of singer-songwriter Christina LaRocca, she’s a little bit country, a little bit rock n roll, a little bit R&B/soul, and as her upcoming releases will prove this year, she’s even a little bit hip-hop.

She’s also more than a little bit dedicated to her craft.

Originally from NYC, where she was both an active musician, and concert booker, a few years ago she packed up her guitar, and the rest of her things, and moved out to LA. There she has found a new life, and new inspirations, and as a result of this, she’s been creating plenty of new music.


I caught up with Christina LaRocca in the place where we originally met – The Bowery Electric in NYC – to open up some packs of MusiCards, and the artists we found sparked conversation on embracing new experiences, the wide variety of music she counts as influences, and how hardcore hip-hop can make you better at business.



KISS

I went to Pollstar last year – Pollstar is this conference where all the talent buyers, and all the agents, get together. It’s not like a SXSW, or anything like that. It’s strictly music – and Gene Simmons was the keynote speaker. He was announcing his new franchise of rock and roll airport diners that he came up with.

On the musical side of things, they’re not really that great of a band, but they are geniuses at developing a brand. They really are a model for, I think, how a lot of artists should be. Not that everybody should go painting their faces, but just the brand, and the consistency – their fans know what they’re gonna get.

And this isn’t to say you shouldn’t experiment, or change with the times, because that’s not right either, but they’ve done a great job over the years, and they’ve stuck it through. They’re probably one of the #1 selling bands of all-time.



George Michael

I was lucky enough to go to the Grammys and see Adele’s fudged up (tribute) performance to George Michael. It was beautiful, though. She was amazing.

He was such a strong person, especially in his time, in the ‘80s, to be proud of who you are, and not give a fuck … there’s a lot of that in his artistry.

I think the less you care what people think, the freer you are to be an artist, and I think it’s an important thing to live by.

He went from “I Want Your Sex,” to “Freedom ’90,” to dance club music. Would you ever make radical musical shifts like those?

Absolutely. I’m from New York, born and raised, and grew up listening to a lot of soul music from my mom playing Stevie Wonder, and Natalie Cole. Then getting older, and loving hip-hop, and stations like KTU coming out and really bringing that house sound to New York, I loved all that.

My first band (in NYC) was very bluesy and soulful. Now that I’ve moved to LA I find myself being more influenced by the sounds of the Southwest.

Just the desert itself is so inspiring. To go from a place like New York City, where at no point in time do you have anybody further than ten feet away from you – even if you’re in your bed sleeping, someone’s in the apartment on the other side of the wall – to just the middle of nothing, and openness … it’s really life changing.

I just did a tour, I did the whole West Coast, and the Rockies. I even played a show in Wyoming, and that drive from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Laramie, Wyoming, which is like an hour outside of Cheyenne, I’ve never seen so much nothing. It was just land. There’s something so freeing about it. I never thought I’d say this in my life, but I loved Wyoming. Just driving on the highway is like driving through a national park. The whole state’s like a national park.

I’m influenced by a lot of that, but I’m not a country singer. So now it’s like I have all this soul, and (I have) Southwestern (influences), and I’m just trying to find a way to bring it all together that makes sense.

I’m not country enough for country, but I’m not soul enough for a hip-hop band, or an R&B band, so I’m really just trying to find my niche and stick with it. I’m trying not to be afraid of the evolution. (I want to) embrace it. Embrace it like George.



LL Cool J

I loved LL Cool J. He was so sexy, and I just always loved his music. He was positive. He wasn’t like a gangster rapper.

Which video made you fall in love with him?

“Doin’ It,” and probably “Hey Lover” with Boyz II Men. That song was so sexy … and everybody loved Boyz II Men, too. Amazing voices. That was a great combo.

I loved “Doin’ It” because there was a female rapper on it. She was badass, and she never got any cred. I have no idea who it was. It wasn’t like LL Cool J featuring so and so.

Do you know who I’ve actually fallen in love with recently? Cardi B.

She’s so hard to dislike.

She’s so badass. She’s another one who doesn’t give a fuck.

I always loved Lil’ Kim. My mother literally threw that CD in the garbage, but I thought Lil’ Kim was ahead of her time. She was fierce, and she didn’t let all that get to her. She was who she was, she said what she wanted, and she was a tough bitch in an industry that was all men.

I don’t think she gets enough cred, either. Maybe now with the whole feminist movement coming out again … I can’t believe I have to say this – there’s still a feminist movement – she was kind of at the forefront of it in her time.

And Cardi is making it happen now.

The first couple times I heard (“Bodak Yellow”) on the radio I was just like oh, whatever, and then I was like, actually, I really like this song. It gets stuck in your head, and do you ever just put on gangster rap and roll down the windows? Maybe (that should be) Business 101, you want to be a badass businessman? Listen to hip-hop. Get inspired, take no shit.



Bell Biv DeVoe

Before I went to LA I had a cover band out here called Money Delicious, and we used to cover “Poison.” It was one of our favorite songs to cover. We had a male singer in the group, but I did the backups. It was a great band. I miss those cats.

Money Delicious. That’s a Cardi B song waiting to happen.

I thought about tattooing it on my chest.

I trademarked it, so don’t even think about (stealing) it, McDonald’s!

So you see this juxtaposition in my life, loving hip-hop, and yeah, I’m a white girl, but I’m Italian, and I’m a New Yorker through and through. I was born in Brooklyn, but I play an acoustic guitar. I don’t want to be put into a “oh, you’re a rapper,” or, “oh, you’re this” category.

The new music I’m starting to write, there’s an interesting blend.

I’m looking to bring the Americana, and the guitars, and the rock n roll, over hip-hop beats.

National parks meets Rucker Park.

Yeah. Blasting Notorious B.I.G. through Yellowstone National Park, just to clear my mind.


For more Christina LaRocca, check out christinalaroccamusic.com.

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Pop Shots – A Look At The Charts
Monday, January 15, 2018

Welcome to your weekly dose of pop world musings. Covering all things pop culture, this week Pop Shots is hitting you with a little Billboard singles chart analysis, as we have the return of some familiar names on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as an unlikely, but fantastic, collaboration, and a song you probably recognize as coming from an animated poop emoji.

The rankings are taken from this past Friday’s chart, and since this is Pop Shots, you know everything is seasoned with a little bit of attitude.

19. Cardi B w/ 21 Savage – Bartier Cardi


If anyone you know thought Cardi B was going to be a one hit wonder, boy were they ever wrong. Cardi has managed to essentially take over the entire rap game. If her name is associated with something, it’s going to become a hit. I have no idea how long this will last, but as of now she has the right combination of attitude, impassioned delivery, and ability to write catchy as f*ck hooks, that has her looking like the heir apparent to Lil’ Kim’s throne, which, while many have attempted to climb into, has been vacant for quite some time.

28. Selena Gomez w/ Marshmello – Wolves


Between her “It Ain’t Me” collaboration with Kygo, and this collaboration with Marshmello, Selena Gomez has become the queen of providing the vocals for guilty pleasure songs you crank up in your car and sing along to … even if someone’s watching at the stoplight.

Managing to be equal parts sultry, and energetic, “Wolves” has a little something for everyone.

54. Macklemore w/ Kesha – Good Old Days


OK, so Macklemore isn’t nearly as big in the pop world as he was back in his “Thrift Shop” days, and while “Praying” put Kesha back in the limelight, she hasn’t quite returned to the heights of “TiK ToK.” That said, there’s something really cool about talented artists – they make good music regardless of where they currently stand in the pop world. “Good Old Days” is a shining example that Macklemore and Kesha are such artists, and with this song as a starting point, I’d actually really enjoy hearing a full length collaborative album from the two of them.

80. Walk The Moon – One Foot


I have no idea how this song is only at #80, as I hear it absolutely everywhere I go. I turn on the radio, it’s Walk The Moon. I’m in the middle of a workout, it’s Walk The Moon. I’m in my bathroom sittin’ on the can, it’s Walk The Moon. OK, maybe that last one was a bit of an exaggeration, but the band that gave us “Shut Up and Dance” back in 2014 clearly has another infectious pop hit on their hands.

“One Foot” will likely continue to be an ever-present song for the first half of 2018, and should reach the Top 10 in due time.

100. Sofi Tukker w/ NERVO, The Knocks, & Alisa Ueno – Best Friend


Most folks know this song because it’s featured in a commercial for the iPhone X that makes use of the phone’s animated emojis. That said, it’s far too good to simply be remembered as the song that came out of a singing poop emoji’s mouth.

Thankfully, “Best Friend” is beginning to receive some solid radio airplay, so people will start having some real memories associated with it, and not just the thought of singing poop (or singing unicorns, or singing foxes).

And with that, my time is up for the week, but I'll be back next week with more shots on all things pop.

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Vid Pick: Larkin Poe – Look Away
Friday, January 12, 2018

I’m not saying taking home the title of album of the year here at Adam’s World is the greatest honor that can be bestowed upon an artist – some may still be interested in one of those Grammy things – but it’s certainly the highest honor I can bestow upon an artist, and this past year that honor went to Georgia-based blues rock sister duo Larkin Poe for their incredible album, Peach.

The latest single off of Peach is “Look Away,” and I caught up with the Larkin Poe twosome of Rebecca and Megan Lovell to find out more about the song, the album, and what tour life is like for the road warrior sisters.

First off, congrats on Peach! With a mixture of classic blues covers, and original songs, how did you go about making sure it would be cohesive when spun front to back?

Megan: We're so pleased that Peach is out, and are overwhelmed by, and so thankful for, the positive response!

Honestly, Peach was made very quickly over a long weekend, without terribly much overthinking … which is a good thing for us, because we're perfectionists and are liable to pick our albums to death given enough time.

This was a rough, raw, process, and was the first time that we self-produced, and played everything on an album. I think that's why, even though there is a bit of genre hopping and blending on the album, it remains cohesive. It's all us, so it all sounds like Larkin Poe.

It was our favorite album making experience of our career. 

What do you feel makes “Look Away” a perfect song to release as a single?

Rebecca: Playing with programming, and synths, is a new experience for us, so we were very excited to hear what our fans thought about the fresh production of “Look Away.” Plus, it's a really meaningful song to us, lyrically and vocally. We really enjoy singing those harmonies together.   

The video for “Look Away” is visually stunning, while still being relatively no frills. What were your goals for the video going in, and how did you pull off that vision?

Rebecca: We're musicians and performers first and foremost, so we wanted the music video for “Look Away” to showcase that. We certainly aren't actresses, so we stuck with what comes naturally – playin' and sangin'!

We filmed it out in the middle of the woods about 20 minutes outside of Nashville. It was a cold and dark night. We built a fire, lit some candles, and got into that dusky, backlit mood.


You are sisters who work, and tour, together. What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever fought over, either professionally, or otherwise, and how was that fight ultimately resolved?

Megan: We have fought about some of the most ridiculous things. I'm sure most siblings can relate.

I remember fighting viciously over a few spilled kernels of popcorn in my sister's car – I’m a slob, she's a neat freak, that's a deadly combination – but, for the most part, we've gotten past petty fights.

Rebecca: We have to be respectful of each other, or touring would be truly miserable. 

I need a good tour story. What’s the closest you two have ever come to getting arrested, without actually getting arrested?

Megan: Is attempting to melt faces illegal? If not, we haven't come close to being arrested. We're peace lovin' rockers.

What’s the worst thing you’re willing to admit you’ve eaten simply because you were hungry, and in the van?

Rebecca: The touring lifestyle truly can make for some strange meals. We've made many a banquet out of canned corn and beans.

Megan: One of the saddest meals I can remember eating on tour was in Wales on Thanksgiving day. We were dreaming about the mashed potatoes and cornbread dressing that was no doubt getting scarfed down at home, while picking at a very uninspiring single-serve frozen lasagna.


What’s the one thing you always run out of while on tour? If fans are reading this, they can bring whatever it is to the venue the next time you’re in their town!

Rebecca: Socks. It's the one thing I never remember to bring enough of.

Megan: Also, SkinnyPop cheddar popcorn. I go through that stuff unholy quickly.

Finally, what are your plans for 2018?

Rebecca: We're working on the next record already.

We'll be getting back into the studio soon … and it looks like we're gonna be doing a hell of a lot of touring.

Rock on 2018!

For more Larkin Poe, check out larkinpoe.com.

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