"Harlem is the Mecca of the World!": Bodega BAMZ Introduces His Latin Trap Movement

Categories: New Yorkers

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Bodega Bamz
"I'm from Spanish Harlem and the story has never been told from my 'hood," says Bodega BAMZ, the uptown rapper who's plotting to write his own chapter in hip-hop's history with his Latin trap movement. The cornerstone of BAMZ's come up so far is Strictly 4 My P.A.P.I.Z., the 'Pac-style mixtape he dropped late last year which sees BAMZ's feisty flow complimented by collaborations with A$AP Ferg and the Flatbush Zombies. Ahead of performing at tonight's Open Mic live session at Public Assembly with A$AP Rocky, we caught up with BAMZ to get the scoop on his Harlem heritage, his battle rap days, and his appreciation of Nirvana songs.

See also: A$AP Rocky Lights Up The City

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Robotics, Uploading the Consciouness of the Dead: Ra Ra Riot's Beta Love Don't Play

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Android love, humans vs. computers, artificial intelligence, uploading the subconscious: If Ra Ra Riot was reading up on these hyper-specific topics while writing the songs for their next record, and if these themes worked their way into the fabric of their lyrics, does that make the resulting effort a concept album? According to bassist Mathieu Santos, no: science fiction novels and Ray Kurzweil's theoretical writings have been on the band's reading list since they were touring behind 2010's The Orchard, and the subject matter comes up pretty frequently in practice these days.

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It Takes A Lot To Get Lucius Down

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Some of Lucius' best shows have been born from the most obnoxious, pain-in-the-ass circumstances, the kind that rear their meddling heads at the most inopportune moment.

Just before playing a sold-out show at the Bowery Ballroom a few months ago, one of their cars got towed--with a bunch of gear inside, along with the brand new matching outfits Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe had picked up for the performance--and the intricate lighting design they had configured wouldn't work, either. In April, after playing the Mercury Lounge, they brought the band van back to Ditmas Park for the night, figuring it would be parked on the street for a few hours at most in between the late show and the early sound-check they had the next day. While Laessig and Wolfe were singing in a session that morning, they received a flurry of phone calls from one of their band mates, who had returned to the block the van was parked on only to find it gone.

In both instances, you'd never know that Lucius was dealing with the most stressful logistical headaches a band can face. They didn't panic in the face of major setbacks, both financial and personal: if anything, they took their frustrations, channeled it into their music and let loose with the bombastic effervescence that's become their audio calling card.


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One Night Only: The Velvet Underground Pay Tribute to Nico and Allen Ginsberg

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Tonight, fans of the Velvet Underground will get to see their idols pay tribute to two of their most revered friends and collaborators--just not on the same stage. At Housing Works, Lou Reed will be celebrating the vinyl and digital re-issue of Allen Ginsberg's FIRST BLUES. Across the East River, John Cale will be kicking off his three-night run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music with a sold-out tribute to Nico, which will also feature Sharon Van Etten, the Magnetic Fields, and Kim Gordon, among others. Torn on which show you'll hit later? Here's a brief preview of each, along with a few educated guesses as to which songs you'll get to hear Reed and Cale wax poetic on this evening.
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They're Writers, Directors, Poets, And They Score Louis CK's Show: What Can't the Mast Do?

Categories: New Yorkers

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Haale Gafori and Matt Kilmer are a modern day Renaissance couple. In addition to their post-dubstep duo the Mast, they function as writers, directors, poets, and visual artists. Gafori, who is lithe and gorgeous in a post-hippie sort of way, was invited to read her poetry in Assisi, Italy at a Global Conference this September. Kilmer helps to write and coordinate the music for the universally acclaimed television series Louie.

The Mast play tonight at Glassland Gallery with Dragons of Zenith, Ava Luna, and Viva Chocolatina Ruiz

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Nada Surf Celebrate 20 Years With NYC Sold Out Homecoming

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If you can pay rent with the money you make doing what you love, you're lucky as hell--and this isn't lost on the guys of Nada Surf, who are celebrating the two loud and fast decades they've spent together making that dream a reality. "We really love playing together," says lead singer Matthew Caws, calling in from someplace between Washington, D.C. and Columbus, OH. "It's corny and simple, but it's why we've never broken up and have been around for so long. It's because playing together is really fun for us. If there are more than 10 people who want to come see us, well, there you go. We'll do the show. And there's no reason to stop, as long as you can pay the rent and play as many shows as you need to in order to make that happen."

As their two shows at the Bowery Ballroom Friday and Saturday have long since sold out, it's plain to see that Nada Surf will carry on in the name of alternative rock long past year 20. After a year of touring consistently behind The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy, their January release and the seventh record in their arsenal, Nada Surf will close out their final tour of 2012 with two sold-out nights at the Bowery Ballroom. The Bowery shows serve as a nostalgic return for the native New Yorkers, and Caws is proud of the fact that Nada Surf can contribute their demonstrated fervor to the musical fabric of the gritty city where they cut their chord-ripping teeth.

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Glenn Branca (8) and Frankie Lymon (9) Face Off As Our Search For The Quintessential New York Musician Continues

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The Round of 64 for Sound of the City's own version of March Madness—in which you, the Sound of the City voting public, help determine the quintessential New York musician—continues, and you get to vote on who makes it to Round Two. This face-off pits two evenly matched heavyweights: leading light Glenn Branca (seeded eighth in the Uptown division) against eternal teenager Frankie Lymon (in at nine). Entertain the arguments below, then cast your ballot at the bottom of the page.


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Brooklyn's Nitty Scott MC Gets A 16-Bar Break On BET

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"Oh, snap, it's the real-life rap Halle Berry..." And lo, with 16 bars rapped over an instrumental spun by underground hip-hop gate-keeper DJ Premier, a new star was born at the BET Hip-Hop Honors earlier this week. Well, maybe—at the very least, the performer in question saw her profile increase considerably after stepping up and spitting the standout rhyme in a freestyle cipher alongside Houston's Lecrae, singer/rapper Estelle, and a guy from France. (Hence the clip being dubbed "International Flow.")

Those lyrics came from the Brooklyn-based Nitty Scott MC, who has spent the formative period of her career doing what all other upcoming rappers are meant to do: releasing free songs and mixtapes, hoping that online buzz somehow sky-rockets, and (if we're being honest) praying for a lucky break. If early online reaction is anything to go by, Scott received her break the other night.

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Peter Rosenberg's What's Poppin' Vol. 1 Takes The New York Hip-Hop Scene's Pulse

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New York City rappers have been cast as something of the rap world's whipping boys for more than a few years now. Not only is it fashionable to paint the city's scene as still stuck in the '90s—that's, er, despite the man who effectively runs rap, old man Jay-Z, being pretty proud to hail from Brooklyn—even sympathetic profiles of the city's up-and-comers feel the need to ponder whether the MCs in question can break some sort of curse of the five boroughs. But this way of thinking is bunkum at best, and a cliché at worst.

But those people who've even casually cocked their ears toward the underground know that NYC rap has been doing just fine of late; a unified scene and a common vision have been slowly forming. Radio warrior Peter Rosenberg's first installment in the What's Poppin' mixtape series might not be an outright statement of hometown health, but with over half of the tape's 23 tracks showcasing artists who call NYC home, it's a timely reminder of the scene's promise.


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Download: Epstein's Post-Punky Beach Jam "Seashells & Starfish"

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Plenty of YIMBY pixels have already been spilled on Roberto Carlos Lange, whose project Helado Negro greeted us two years ago as a breezy summertime treat. His alter-alter-ego Epstein keeps HN's hazy asphalt steam heat, but trades the fluttering guitars for trunk-rattling 808s, and his vulnerable warble for vinyl crackle. Epstein turns Lange's love of hip-hop—birthed on Boogie Down Productions and Buffy the Human Beat Box—into a reverb-soaked, psychedelic throb. His recent album Sealess Sea (out now via Asthmatic Kitty) is built on record loops filtered through his trusty MPC—he describes his composition style as "grab a random stack and see what could get built." But the record's bubbly, gauzy feel feels more at home with contemporary loop-mutants like Panda Bear or Black Moth Super Rainbow. The humid, soupy drums on "Seashells & Starfish" are so heavily distended that the whole piece rolls over into post-punk territory, a gorgeous place where This Heat meets Prefuse 73.

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