Why You Should Be Listening To Ebony Bones

Now that Erykah Badu is collaborating with Mr. I’ve-Got-Nothing-Important-To-Say Lil Wayne in a cheap attempt to score profits and younger, less critical fans, I’m looking for another funky singer who isn’t afraid to bring the crazy. I was a little late “discovering” Londoner Ebony Bones, aka Ebony Thomas, as the Afro-Punk songstress has already played at SXSW, CMJ, and the last Jelly NYC Pool Party in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, not to mention a bunch of other music festivals around the globe. Yet she’s stayed true to her own sound and inspirations despite interest from major recording labels. Her debut album, Bone Idle, was released last year, but still sounds fresh in this copycat musical climate. Bones, who was also the main producer, describes the album as “schizo-sounding” and “like me, a collection of contradictions and subjects close to my heart.” She’s able to weave dance tracks, like “Don’t Fart on My Heart” and “I’m Your Future Ex Wife,” with more politically driven songs like “We Know All About You” into one cohesive project. Bones’ performances are as much about the music as they are about setting a scene, as I learned Saturday at the NYCMusicShow. Her background singers, The Wives, shimmied onto the stage marking every drumbeat with a movement of their heads and shoulders. They were dressed in graphic-print, ’60s-style dresses, bobbed wigs, and bold eye makeup fit for a MAC makeup artist. The boys of the band donned ornate headdresses and psychedelic prints. And, well, Bones’ style is a kind of mash-up of Lady Gaga and M.I.A., if it could actually be described. There was something to look at and appreciate everywhere on the stage.