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. See my complete profile
Between Akrobatik’s emergency aortic dissection surgery and Mr. Lif’s near-fatal tour bus crash, the legendary Massachusetts-based duo The Perceptionists have experienced major events that have affected their perception of life.
Most of the time, when you have a bad habit it’s something you try to quit, but in the case of Kristen Maxfield’s latest single, she has a jazzy, soulful, sultry “Bad Habit” that you’re not going to want to give up anytime soon.
I first met Maxfield when she was singing with the soul band The Square Egg. Since then she’s broken out on her own as a solo artist, and with “Bad Habit” she says she’s truly found herself in her music.
I caught up with Maxfield to find out more about the song, as well as some of her sultry inspirations, and when we can expect a new full length effort from her.
Let’s talk about your new single, “Bad Habit.” Is it autobiographical in any way, shape, or form?
Yes, “Bad Habit” was inspired by my personal life events, my failed engagement, and the torture and heartbreak that came with that.
My truth about knowing something or someone is bad for you, but not being able to let go, is a reality that stands alone in everyone’s life at some point.
Part of being a musician is sharing your story with your audience, being vulnerable, and allowing them to relate in some way. That sense of connection is what shapes a relationship between the artist and the fans.
With this song I wanted to capture that intertwined feeling of love, lust, and letting go. Even though the song doesn’t say lyrically that I was eventually free from the bondage and chains of it all, the mess of my addiction to this person, the music video was created to show both the strength and empowerment gained by the experience.
Interestingly enough, the person this song was originally written about was not the person, when recording, that I thought about for my vocal inspiration and delivery. It was no longer about my past, but about my future. My new sense of self came out in the studio when recording this song. It was by far the most difficult song, delivery wise, that I’ve recorded, because of its intensity in seduction, but vulnerability in story. It was challenging, but I feel we captured the performance of it quite well. I couldn’t be more proud.
You get definitely get your sexy on in the video. Who were some of your inspirations for your sultriness?
Ha ha! Yes, I most certainly do get my sexy on, but who wouldn’t with this song? It’s about being sexy, sultry, and sassy all wrapped in a bottle of red wine, drenched in a river of chocolate! Sounds delicious.
As for who, or what, inspired my sultriness, I honestly feel like that has always been a part of who I am. I think it is a part of every woman out there. It just comes down to when, where, and how one chooses to express that side of oneself. My song and video just deliver a platform for one to feel comfortable doing so.
As for who, or what, added to that natural sense of sultriness, I would say characters like Jessica Rabbit from Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the movie Dirty Dancing – the title says it all – and even artists of today like Beyoncé, and Christina Aguilera.
What made you want to show off this side of yourself?
As artists in the industry it is so easy to lose your own sense of self. I feel that somewhere along the way in my career I was losing who I was as not just an artist, but as a woman. I felt suffocated by the persona I put on in my past, and vowed to truly open up on this next album about who I really am. No more holding back. This “side of myself” is the real Kristen Maxfield – sexy, sultry, and sassy!
You mentioned a new album. Is “Bad Habit” part of a larger project? What can you tell everyone about what’s in the works?
Yes. “Bad Habit” is the first released single off of my upcoming album, due to drop on November 4th, 2017. The album has a jazz-pop feel, with strong inspirations from artists such as Jamiroquai, Joss Stone, Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys, and Jason Mraz. It covers the obstacles and accomplishments in my life over the last 15 years.
Through my journey I have discovered that when you face your truths, you discover yourself again.
It’s very rewarding to know that I could have given up and walked away from music, (from) my life, but I didn’t. I faced it, I wrote it, and now I’m sharing it with anyone willing to listen.
I first became aware of NYC rock band The Cosmic Coronas last year, and was finally able to see them live earlier this month when they had the release show for their new EP, The Grove, at Arlene’s Grocery.
After hearing the band’s recorded work I couldn’t wait to check them out in person, and I’m happy to report they did not disappoint.
Here are three reasons you should see The Cosmic Coronas live.
1. Lead Singer Alexa Lindberg has PIPES
The Cosmic Coronas opened their set with a very familiar cover, and as soon as I heard the first few notes I thought to myself, “It takes a set of brass balls to lead with this.” The “this” being Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit.”
While nobody else on the planet is Grace Slick, Coronas lead singer Alexa Lindberg nailed the song, and later in the show she nailed a cover of Elle King’s “Ex’s & Oh’s.”
When it comes to big, soaring, soulful, vocals, The Cosmic Coronas have ‘em.
2. They Embrace the Guitar Solo
At multiple times during the Coronas’ set they let their guitar players have time to shine, and shine they did.
The guitar solo has almost become a lost art, with the vast majority of bands opting to not stray from the recorded versions of their songs, and color within the lines, so to speak. The Cosmic Coronas aren’t afraid to let their musical crayon go outside the lines, and even off the page. There’s nothing standardized about their live show, and their guitar improvisation is a beautiful thing.
3. They Can Genre-Hop
With each member of the band having a wide repertoire of genres they can play, The Cosmic Coronas can seamlessly switch gears, and be a rock band, a soul band, a funk band, or a pop band, at any point during their set.
The vocals of Alexa Lindberg act as the thread that ties everything together, and because of this nothing sounds out of place.
To find out when, and where, The Cosmic Coronas are performing next, check out their Facebook page for show dates.
This week’s NYC Scene Report features the flute laced glam punk of J and the 9s, indie pop-rockers Late Night Episode talking about love, psych-pop trio Monogold getting “Naked,” and hip-hop artist Kalil Johnson embracing the concept of “Karma.”
* If you’re of the mindset that rock n roll should be fun, you’re gong to love Brooklyn-based band J and the 9s.
Describing themselves as “glam punk rock n roll with a flute,” the band will be releasing a new EP titled The Terrible Twos on July 28th, the lead single off of which is “Love to Be.” The song rocks hard, and features a back and forth between a flute, and a guitar, the likes of which you probably haven’t heard since Jethro Tull.
Check out the video for “Love to Be.” If you’re anything like me, it will make you want to see J and the 9s live.
* Formed in the East Village, and having signed to Dirty Canvas (American Authors, Young Rising Sons) late last year, Late Night Episode is an indie pop-rock band that’s ready to “Talk About Love.”
“Talk About Love” is the first single off of Late Night Episode’s upcoming EP (release date TBD), and lead singer Daniel Lonner describes the song saying, "The name ‘Late Night Episode’ is a nod to high school nostalgia, and the song is about learning how to grow up – though I still have a bit to do. It was written in my parents’ basement."
Lots of great moments happen in people’s parents’ basements, and Late Night Episode’s “Talk About Love” qualifies as one of those moments. Give it a spin, and take a trip back to simpler times.
* Brooklyn-based indie psych-pop trio Monogold are getting “Naked” for their latest single. No, they aren’t covering the Methods of Mayhem classic “Get Naked” – and yes I said classic – “Naked” is the completely original song off of Monogold’s latest EP, Yolk.
Yolk is a prelude to the band’s next full length release, which is reportedly in the mixing process, and, according to the band, will “tackle the simple things: breastfeeding, giving birth, being born, sex, bugs, and more.”
While we wait for that, check out the creative video for “Naked,” which features two people looking for love in a blurry world.
* Kalil Johnson has been a prominent artist in NYC’s hip-hop scene for over a decade, and in that time he’s acquired plenty of good karma. Judging by his latest single, titled “Karma,” he’s also willing to admit that he’s acquired a bit of bad karma, as well.
As he raps the chorus, “Everything I give, I get back / Never blame a motherfucker for my mishaps,” it becomes clear that Johnson has a firm grasp on the reality that we’re all imperfect. It’s a radical notion in a world where, increasingly, everyone thinks they’re right all the time. It’s an even more radical notion in hip-hop, where plenty of emcees would rather brag about negative things than relate the realities of what those negative things can lead to.
I’ve been a fan of Kalil Johnson’s work for a very long time, and it’s great to hear him continue to release fantastic music. This one will definitely bring him some good “Karma.”
For more of the best of NYC’s indie music scene, come back next Wednesday, and check out the archives for previous columns.
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 desire for a truce in her war with Taylor Swift, to Gene Simmons attempting to tell the world he owns the rights to a hand gesture, to Polish pop star Margaret’s new video game inspired music video, and since this is Pop Shots you know everything is seasoned with a little bit of attitude.
* Katy Perry has stated she’d like to call a truce with Taylor Swift. This MAY have something to do with Taylor completely hijacking Katy’s latest album release by choosing that exact date to finally put all of her own music on streaming services. I’m not-so-secretly hoping Taylor doesn’t accept this truce, as I want this war to culminate in her doing a cover of Westside Connection’s “Bow Down,” and a match at WWE’s SummerSlam.
* In more Katy Perry news, during her, “Look at me! Look at me! Pleeeease look at me!” live-stream of her life, Katy set aside some time to rank the bedroom skills of her exes, placing Diplo third amongst her former lovers. In response, Diplo claimed he doesn’t remember having sex with her. After hearing Diplo’s reply, Bill Cosby became a huge fan of Katy Perry.
* The Weeknd announced the fall leg of his tour will feature Gucci Mane. Gucci Mane was in Spring Breakers. The Weeknd’s girlfriend, Selena Gomez, was in Spring Breakers. I LIKE WHERE THIS IS GOING!
* Kiss frontman Gene Simmons is attempting to trademark the hard rock/heavy metal hand gesture of the devil’s horns, claiming it was first used in 1974, coinciding with Kiss' Hotter Than Hell tour. I’m sure there’s also a strain of herpes that first appeared coinciding with a Kiss tour, but I don’t see Simmons attempting to trademark that!
* Big Boi claims to have won $100k betting on the Warriors to win the NBA Finals. My only question is which fool-ass friend of his bet on the Cavs?
* Diddy showed off a new back tattoo on social media. Personally, I’m surprised it’s a full back piece, as after seeing this image of him from the 2013 edition of Burning Man, I expected something more along the lines of a butterfly tramp stamp.
* Azealia Banks is being sued for over $130k in unpaid credit card debt. I have to ask, who on earth thought it would be a good idea to give Azealia Banks a line of credit? Did they think racist tweets were a bankable asset?
* Celine Dion’s fall 2017 lifestyle collection will be available at Nordstrom both in-store, and online, starting in August. With her strong association with Titanic I expect this collection to predominantly be life vests, and arm floaties.
* DJ Khaled announced a sneaker collaboration with the hype beast brand Dynasty, which is an Air Jordan imprint. They’ll be the perfect shoes for the b-baller who has the vertical leap of a dump truck.
* Finally, my favorite Polish pop princess, Margaret, is back with a wildly creative, video game inspired, clip for her latest single “What You Do.” If only real life had “save” and “restart” features!
And with that, my time is up for the week, but I'll be back next week with more shots on all things pop.