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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist w/ over a decade of experience. Lover of good music, fringe movies, day baseball & chicken shawarma. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Pop Shots - Official Guide to Holiday Revelry
Monday, December 22, 2014

Welcome to your weekly dose of pop world musings. Covering all things pop culture, this week, with Christmas just a few days away, Pop Shots is hitting you with a special Holiday themed edition of the column. Of course, being a music column, the focus will be on the music of the season, and since it’s Pop Shots you know everything is seasoned with a little bit of attitude.

* Christmas music has, for the most part, been pretty stagnant for the past 60 or so years. Yes, we’ve let a few new songs sneak their way into our holiday festivities, like Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” but a new Christmas song that sticks is about as rare as R. Kelly dating someone old enough to get into an R rated movie without him. With that in mind, the first step to a great holiday is to write your own Christmas song.

Crow T. Robot, of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame, gives us a perfect example of how to do this, as he and his fellow shipmates sing his holiday musical creation, “Let’s Have a Patrick Swayze Christmas.”


* Now, I realize not everyone likes Christmas, and if you fall into that category perhaps you’ll want to write something that doesn’t necessarily embrace everything about the holiday. If seeing displays of decorations and wrapping paper in your local drug store, and jolly Santas on people’s lawns, gets you more riled up than Kanye West seeing anyone other than Kanye West win an award, I suggest going the Oscar the Grouch route with your song.


* Do NOT, however, under any circumstance, write a Christmas song about your genitals. You hear me, Lady Gaga? Oh, you didn’t hear me? Sh*t!


* Once you’ve written your Christmas song, it will be time to spread your Christmas cheer, or loathing, via the time honored tradition of caroling, which is, at its essence, walking up to strangers’ houses and singing in their lawn, or driveway, until they come outside. It’s all very Lloyd Dobler, just without the boombox.

You’re going to want to have some friends along when you go caroling, and I suggest, if it’s at all possible, those friends be GWAR (RIP Oderus Urungus).


* Finally, after a long day of writing music, singing in the cold, and potentially annihilating some inflatable lawn ornaments, you’re going to want to go home, make a cup of tea, or cocoa, and curl up on the sofa to watch a Christmas classic. My personal choice involves a serial killing snowman, and it features Shannon Elizabeth in her first major role.


And with that, you are ready for the holidays! Enjoy your Christmas, I'll be back next week with more shots on all things pop.

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Vid Pick: Sonic Boom Six w/ Capitol 1212 - The Emperor
Friday, December 19, 2014

Having seen, and interviewed, UK ska band Sonic Boom Six a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away (RIP the old Knitting Factory in NYC), I've been a fan of their music for quite a while. Their latest single, "The Emperor," features Capitol 1212, and embraces Sonic Boom Six's reggae influences. The slower pace of the song doesn't represent a laid back vibe, however. Instead it works to allow the politically motivated lyrics to have a much more significant impact.

In a statement, the band said of "The Emperor," "Lyrically, the song deals with certain developments in the political landscape of the UK over the last few years, that have continued to fester and grow to a point that they can no longer be ignored. How very apt that at the time of this being written, the titular Emperor is being afforded a primetime national platform to peddle his convenient, and dangerous, answers to the nation’s problems."

Their lyric video for "The Emperor" makes everything they're saying abundantly clear, and when you listen to the song you'll find there are an incredible amount of parallels to the US government. This is exactly why we need groups like Sonic Boom Six to continue to make songs like "The Emperor."

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Rachel Brown Leaps From Fear To Fame
Thursday, December 18, 2014

The music of NYC singer-songwriter Rachel Brown is something you almost didn’t get the chance to hear. “It’s amazing that I ever even came out and said I wanted to do music,” she says, “because it was something I was very private about for a long time.”

Read the full story at Arena.com.

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Jasmine V Is Getting Straight A’s in R&B
Wednesday, December 17, 2014

With a hit single featuring Kendrick Lamar titled “That’s Me Right There,” and a recently released EP of the same name, 21 year old singer Jasmine V is taking the R&B world by storm. Her journey, however, has been a long and winding one.

Read the full interview at Arena.com.

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NYC Scene Report - What Model Citizens, Shilpa Narayan, & more
Tuesday, December 16, 2014

This week’s edition of Neighborhood Watch: NYC features a crazy sci-fi inspired video from synth rock band What Model Citizens, something soulful from Shilpa Narayan, the singer-songwriter stylings of Jesse Marchant, and the boundary pushing folk of Weyes Blood.

Read the full column at Arena.com.

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Pop Shots - The Wealthy & The Unhealthy
Monday, December 15, 2014

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 Taylor Swift, Dr. Dre, and Kanye West all earning top honors, to Avril Lavigne’s mystery illness, to the song that’s been driving me insane, and since it’s Pop Shots you know everything is seasoned with a little bit of attitude.

* Billboard named Taylor Swift their woman of the year. There is no word on if the trophy is made out of the bones of the non-believers, but at this point, why the heck not?

* Apple employee Dr. Dre topped Forbes Magazine's World's Highest-Paid Musicians list for 2014, with his $620 million in earnings being the highest amount by any musician ever. The number was more than half a billion dollars higher than the second ranked musician, Beyonce. The most surprising thing about the entire list, however, was how they kept referring to Dr. Dre, who hasn't released an album in 15 years, as a musician. They should have at least put sarcastic quotation marks around the word.

* Because apparently she didn't go through enough hardship during her life, Lifetime debuted the trailer for their upcoming biopic on Whitney Houston. If the movie is anything like their Aaliyah biopic it will be so fictional it might as well have Whitney with x-ray vision, and the ability shoot lasers from the palms of her hands.


* BET is going to be doing some serious stroking of Kanye West's ego at next month's BET Honors, giving him their Visionary Award. The event will be taped on January 24th, and air February 23th. They hope the month in-between will be enough time for Kanye to complete his acceptance speech, which will likely go into explicit detail explaining his own greatness.

* A fan of Avril Lavigne's made public a Twitter DM conversation with the singer that revealed Lavigne is suffering from an unknown illness. The Canadian pop star asked the fan to "keep me in your prayers," to which the fan responded “#GetWellSoonAvril #PrayForAvril.” Lavinge thanked her for the well wishes, but still isn't talking about what's ailing her. My guess – the deity she made a deal with to say forever young is finally demanding payment. (all jokes aside, get well Avril. I enjoyed our interview last year.)

* U2 has expanded their iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE tour, adding extra dates in Boston, Montreal, Chicago, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Berlin, Paris, and NYC. The two just added shows in NYC brings their stay at MSG to six nights, which, at this point, is six nights longer than anyone wants to see Carmelo Anthony there.


* Diddy reportedly came to blows with Drake in a Miami nightclub this past week. Originally reported as an altercation over Drake talking to Diddy's longtime girlfriend Cassie, it's now being said the fight was over a beat Diddy claims Drake stole. Regardless, Diddy is a 45 year old father of five, and he's getting into fights in nightclubs, which is pretty much the definition of pathetic.

* Ice cream and reggae lovers rejoice! Ben & Jerry's has teamed up with Bob Marley's family's record label, Tuff Gong, to create a flavor they’re calling Satisfy My Bowl. You know, I think that might be a marijuana reference. Can’t get anything by me!

* Fergie released a new song last month titled “L.A. Love (La La),” and if you haven’t heard it yet you clearly don’t go to my gym, which has had in rotation every day for the past two weeks. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I don’t know what kind of radio budget Interscope has behind the song but we’re talking bank vaults, because I can’t imagine another reason why the station my gym is tuned in to would play anything that often. It’s gotten to the point where I almost enjoy the song because some sort of musical Stockholm Syndrome has set in. It’s certainly no “My Humps,” but f*ck it, I guess I should embrace it, because apparently it’s going to chase me down regardless.


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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