selfportrait.net's blog covering community artists, gallery shows, and the whereabouts of young entrepreneurs and artistic talents from NY, LA, London, Paris, the world.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Julia and Samuel at 169 Bar


Of the plethora of emerging musicians dragging themselves from bar-gig to bar-gig along the streets of New York, few stand out as anything but superfluous. Heavy Roc Music, however, cuts through the fat. The small, independent label and production company is something of a godsend, especially with owner DJ Ben “BRoc” Ruttner’s keen eye for talent and his ability to foster it. That said, last night at the tiny 169 Bar in Chinatown, attendees were given the privilege of listening to two of Heavy Roc’s finest, Julia Tepper and Samuel as they showed more than just a little chops.


It is always a pleasure for me to support a friend and, with that in mind, I am very familiar with Samuel’s music. Last night’s performance, however, was a terrific new take on his synthy, pop bangers. Performed not only with a live band, but also acoustically, the music became successfully intimate with each song experiencing a virtual reinvention. Samuel’s raw talent is always showcased in his live shows. His unique voice was so complimentary to the stripped down, acoustic approach (the general antithesis of his normal performance) that the set emerged as a conscious and fortunate reexamination of already well-composed and conceived material.


Giving Samuel his deserved nod, however, allows me to now gush, literally gush, over the powerhouse of talent that is Julia Tepper. Ms. Tepper is so charming that it is almost unbelievable. On stage, she is a magnetic force and, I promise, it is impossible not to enjoy her music. Her cherubic voice, which is nuanced by a deft vibrato and accented by her light, jazzy accompaniment, is sublimely effective and lusciously soulful. Do not be fooled, however, by the diaphanous musicianship; Tepper’s lyrics are acutely substantial and often thematically surreal ranging from the macabre, to the whimsical, to the emotional. The dynamic combination of the music and lyrics is potent while remaining playful and, in the end, utterly winning. With a flawless performance and indisputable talent, Ms. Tepper is someone to watch closely. I look forward to her solo debut EP entitled “Pizza and Lasers,” soon to be released by Heavy Roc. In the meantime, catch her with her other projects which include Frances and the Americans.

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