December Next Step Winner: Sophia Bastian


NY singer/songwriter Sophia Bastian won our hearts late last year when she debuted her first ever video for “Breaking.” Then at the top of the year she dropped her video for her fantastic Portishead cover she called “Gloryboxed” – watch it after the jump. While catching up on Next Step entries, we were thrilled to find that Sophia was entered into our December 2012 pool of submissions.

A background in classic blues and soul paired with her jazz training and love for hip hop, the heights that Sophia is poised to reach are truly exciting. Her tone is rich and her delivery is potent, reminding us a bit of Amy Winehouse at times. We hope you enjoy the sultry “Makes Me Believe” from her upcoming Juvenile Blues EP below.

Look forward to more shows and music soon!

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“Gloryboxed” video after the jump

Hiatus Kaiyote Rocks Sold Out NYC Debut


For a band that formed in 2011 and released their first album less than a year ago, Hiatus Kaiyote has enjoyed a whirlwind of accomplishments in a remarkably short period of time: a backstage serenade of their own song “Nakamarra” by Erykah Badu at SXSW; a long and forceful reiteration of support from ?uestlove at his party at Brooklyn Bowl; a sold-out show at their debut performance in New York City.

Hiatus Kaiyote, comprised of Nai Palm, Simon Mavin, Perrin Moss and Paul Bender, is also a perfect example of the limited utility of the “genre” in characterizing an album’s sound or capturing its integrity. But nonetheless, the sources of inspiration for their music are unmistakable. “Atari” takes cues from Flying Lotus’s fractal spidering of digital sounds. The keyboard section on “Jekyll” draws inspiration from Fela Kuti and afrobeat. The woozy space sounds of “Shaolin Monk Motherfunk” are reminiscent of Erykah Badu’s latest album, New Amerykah Part 2. And Nai Palm herself sounds like a blend of Lauryn Hill and Amy Winehouse.

Their inaugural performance at LPR was also remarkable for the depth and loyalty of the fan base they’ve already amassed. Here’s what some fans had to say of last night’s show:

Naikhoba Munabi: “The power of the performance was in the immersive experience. It felt like performance art. Each song individually carries its own weight, but the concert felt like a complete feast as opposed to just one ingredient or one meal. Also, sonically, their tones are extremely well refined so that no one artist is the star of the band. All four of them complimented each other so well and fit together seamlessly. When you listen to their music, it consumes you; I felt like I was a part of it.”

Read the rest after the jump