Posts Tagged ‘black taxi’

Looking back on 2013, there have been innumerable musical memories I could retell. Traveling to 4 different cities for  SXSW, Coachella, Music Midtown, and CMJ festivals, meeting some of my favorite musicians, attending Live on Letterman, and hosting over 25 “Rocker Stalker presents” shows, to name a few,  all in all, these 5 releases (singles, EP’s, records) made the most impact on my 2013 music experience.


1) Queens of the Stone Age- …Like Clockwork: Queens of the Stone Age don’t need another itty bitty blog telling cyberspace how great they are, but I’m going to do it any way. Their sixth studio album …Like Clockwork is a masterpiece that represents everything that is wonderful about the band and modern rock for that matter: depth, darkness, charm, sass, and ingenious melodies, lyrics, and instrumentation. And, did I mention the incredible album artwork by Boneface? It was also fashioned into animated videos to accompany track teasers and concert backdrops, a badass collaboration to say the least.  According to sources, and to make a long story short, lead vocalist/guitarist Josh Homme was pulled out of a deep depression and encouraged to write the album  by bandmates, after being bed ridden for four months due to a surgery complication. In a way, I think the album pulled me out of a lot of hard times, and returned the pep in my step, not to get TOO personal.  From the ominous “Keep Your Eyes Peeled,” bubbly yet thematically heavy “I Sat By the Ocean,” anthemic and balladic “The Vampyre of Time and Memory,” dancy “If I Had a Tail,” sultry and bluesy “Smooth Sailing,” and hearfelt and poignant title track, QOTSA nailed it with this record. Seeing the band perform the album in its entirety on Live on Letterman in June, meeting Homme and newly adopted drummer Jon Theodore, aka “Mr. Handsome,” at Music Midtown, and catching the band live in Boston and Brooklyn, drove the point home about the greatness behind the tunes.  Get yourself a copy of …Like Clockwork and check out the interactive video for “The Vampyre of Time and Memory.”  The album is up for three Grammy’s (not shocking)…fingers are crossed!


2) Reignwolf- Two-way tie between “Are You Satisfied?”/ “In the Dark:” OK, so if you’ve met me, you know what a diehard fan I am of Saskatoon-born, Seattle-based blues rock band Reignwolf. I fell in love with this act last year at Rockwood Music Hall in NYC and experienced their jaw-dropping performances and Jordan Cook’s epic guitar shredding (think Stevie Ray Vaughan meets Jimi Hendrix meets Eddie Van Halen) about a dozen times since, rain or shine. Just in this past year or so, the trio’s notoriety has grown exponentially, and deservingly so. Hitting every major festival on the circuit and flooring every person they’ve played to in their path, the only thing that was missing was music people could actually own. When I got the news that “Are You Satisfied?” was available in August (during Lollapalooza), it was like hearing that Guns ‘n Roses’ Chinese Democracy was FINALLY here, but this time, with a better and more, well, satisfying outcome. The anticipation for released music continued, made stronger by their insane September shows in support of the Pixies, and my prayers were answered a few months later when Reignwolf premiered “In The Dark” on Rolling Stone. This is blues and rock ‘n roll at its finest. Reignwolf gives hope that rock still has a heartbeat; they are reinvigorating the appreciation for the genre and I, along with thousands of others, cannot wait for the full-length to arrive!  Check out “Are You Satisfied?” and “In the Dark,” and be on the lookout as Reignwolf takes over the world. Next stop: spring tour with Black Sabbath. 

arctic-monkeys-am-cover3) Arctic Monkeys, AMAlbum number five from these Englishmen is totally unexpected, but in a superb way.  Not abandoning their spunky and punky Brit-pop/rock roots, Arctic Monkeys take a different turn on their 2013 release AM.  I’ve been a fan since their debut record Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not and sophomore album Favourite Worst Nightmare. Though I lost touch with the band’s goings-on for a few years (sorry), I’m glad I caught wind of AM.  Showcasing their sultry and sexy side, Arctic Monkeys channel blues, R&B, and hip hop, while weaving their signature bounciness in with aching, seductive lyrics. From pulsating “Do I Wanna Know?” yearning rock track “R U Mine?,” smooth, hip-sway-inducing “One for the Road,” Motown-esque “Fireside,” “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?”(my personal favorite), grooving “Knee Socks,” and clever, slinky closer “I Wanna Be Yours,” AM is the burlesque dancer of records fraught with enticing tunes. I missed my opportunity to see the band live in Atlanta, but I hope I get a second chance when they rock Madison Square Garden in February.   Get romantic with AM.  Peep the official video for “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?”

black-sabbath-13-13702857354) Black Sabbath, 13:   Appropriately named for its June 2013 release, 13 demonstrates Black Sabbath’s relevance, even after 40+ years of existence, multiple line-up changes, and now, 19 studio albums. Combining the best of both Ozzy Osbourne’s style, ranging from mania to sentimental ballads, Tony Iommi’s heavy, driving, and penetrating guitar riffs, and grave topics, 13 gets down to serious rock business from the first power chord of “End of the Beginning.” Followed by highlight tracks,  doomy “God is Dead?,” super-Sabbathy “Loner,” creeping “Zeitgeist,” epic “Age of Reason,” stealthy “Damaged Soul,” pounding “Dear Father,” and dynamic “Methademic,” 13  is a head banger’s delight.  I’m thrilled these heavy metal pioneers are still going, and I’m looking forward to seeing them for the first time in March at Barclays! 13 is up for three Grammy’s too, so get listening!

blacktaxi_chiaroscurocover5) Black Taxi, ChiaroscuroBrooklyn-based band Black Taxi, who has been in my top favorites for over half a decade, have made leaps and bounds since first I first lay ears on them. This past September, they released their ultra-dancy EP Chiaroscuro, follow up to their 2012 album We Don’t Know Any Better, showing off the band’s knack for “dance music without laptops.”   Though you wouldn’t peg the quartet as a typical “rock” act, they definitely ROCK at what they do and hold true to real guitar solos and contagious drum beats that can whip both rock ‘n rollers and club goers into a frenzy.  Ever-so-energetic and charismatic on stage, Black Taxi continue to impress with their live shows and grooveable tracks.  Chiaroscuro showcases those ‘electro’-buildups, that break into danceable choruses that we all know and love, maintaining the band’s reputation as one of the top NY acts and most fun performances!  Check out Chiaroscuro here, and if you’re in the neighborhood for New Year’s Eve (that’s tonight!), come dance the night away with Black Taxi at Mercury Lounge!

Runners up:  Compass EP by Brandon Boyd, “Satisfied,” single by The Wans, “Tell Me Why” video by Butcher Knives, “Rosemary” video by Deftones, self-titled EP by Isle of Rhodes, and Reflector by Arcade Fire.

Happy new year! See you on January 3 at Bar Matchless and January 17 at Bowery Electric!

Not long ago, I had posted BLACK TAXI‘s single “House on Fire” (which has gotten some high praise from MTV Buzzworthy) from their forthcoming Chiaroscuro EP. A product of the band’s three-month stint in Austin prior to SXSW, the EP is finally ready to drop on September 10!   For all those curious, “chiaroscuro,” as defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary, is, “a : the arrangement or treatment of light and dark parts in a pictorial work of art; b : the interplay or contrast of dissimilar qualities (as of mood or character).”  

An appropriate title, the Brooklyn-based quartet’s newest EP takes a turn for a much dancier (if you can believe it),  synth-heavy, electro-based, 80s-inspired sound, tinged with dark, quirky edges.  Jumpstarting with “The Runner,” the EP opens with ringing guitars that build with twinkling synths that erupt into dance grooves swirling through ethereal reverb and blips and beeps.  “Gone” slinks and swings with haunting and jazzy trumpet lines  and is driven by choruses of hypnotic chants,  disco-esque beats, and epic guitar solos (think Journey).  “Can’t Stop Shaking” pulsates with robotic vibes and single, “House on Fire,”is the anthemic  dance number that rounds out the release.  BLACK TAXI also includes some special bonus music, remixes of “House on Fire” by SoundSAM No Time  and  “Can’t Stop Shaking” by Soul Puncherz for the true club goer. 

The four piece will be welcoming Chiaroscuro at their official release show at Music Hall of Williamsburg on September 10, where they will be opening for another “taxi” band, MOON TAXI. Grab your tickets here! blacktaxi_chiarscuroPHOTOIn case you didn’t get to check out “House on Fire,” listen below!

Day 3, SXSW 2013. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, they did.

I started the day off  with a little dance music that I could see myself working out to,  Brooklyn-based electro/DJ duo No Way Josie  at The Parish, followed by polar opposites, Austin-based folky, pop/rock trio, MARMALAKES.  My Brooklyn favorite, Black Taxi, who have been calling Austin home for the last couple months while they write some new material and share their greatness with TX. These guys will be back in April for a residency at Rockwood Music Hall starting April 26 for three weeks. After a long power walk south of downtown, I finally arrived, sweating, to Doc Motorworks, where Fort Worth’s Ice Eater was breaking it down on stage with a experimental punky rock, featuring music from their aptly titled Don’t Care EP.  In between sets, the audience was, quite frankly, punished with some stand up comedians , but thankfully, my favorite Fort Worthian trio, The Phuss, brought salavation to the afternoon (Vocalist/guitarist Josh Fleming even had some jokes up his sleeve that saved the inter-set banter.).  The  band slammed the stage with their  no-apologies rock, pounding drums, swaggering bass, punky aggression, and undeniable attitude.  Their current self titled record is a must, and  you can grab it here.

Just down the street, at Guero’s Taco Bar (they have the most amazing fajitas, just as a side note), I was lucky to catch a set by Beaumont’s Purple, who was impressing the Tex-mex indulgers with heavy rock fusion led by vocalist/drummer, Hanna Brewer.  The second daily dose of The Phuss followed, quaking the taco bar, bringing about some interpretive dancers and a guy dressed as The Pope, and making it pretty difficult to keep a straight face.

The day’s music came to an earlier close than usual, but I got a chance to explore late-night Austin a bit and get my fill of SXSW chaos for the remainder of the night.

Check out Part III of SXSW here!


No Way Josie


DSC00823The Phuss

Brooklyn’s beloved Black Taxi will be performing a special “farewell for now” show, as Austin, Texas scoops them up for the next couple of months.  Though we’ll miss them dearly, NY is happy to share some of the best with TX.  The band will be performing every Wednesday  at The Parish in Austin for a FREE residency from February 6 through March   as well as composing some new material.

Tonight we say our temporary goodbye’s at Public Assembly with the help of Echosuite, Yazan, and a bounty of DJ’s to groove to.  The show is bound to sell out, so get there early to grab tickets! Doors at 8pm, $12, 21+.

A consummate blend of bands will cater to dancers to rock ‘n rollers to hipsters this evening at Spike Hill. A solid line up, including Black Taxi, Von Shakes, The Ballroom Jacks,Ula Truth and Spanish Channel will have your feet tapping, rump shaking, and head bobbing for over 4 hours.  Stop by the conveniently located venue for anaffordable (only $5!),   fun Saturday night in the heart of Williamsburg! The music begins at 8pm. 21+

CMJ 2012 kicked off on Tuesday October 16. My fifth CMJ, I bounced between Bowery Electric for the 11-hour party hosted by The Outlet Collective and some artists at Rockwood Music Hall.  Folksy, sibling- membered band, Wyatt, began the evening at Bowery Electric. Following the family four-piece, I bounced over to Rockwood Music Hall where pop song veterans, Space Hog entertained in primary colored suits, pumping up the audience for Brooklyn’s Black Taxi, who were welcomed home after some time on the road with a packed venue.  Back at Bowery Electric, indie rockers, The Young Things were prepping the audience for hard-rocking out-of-town guests, The Phuss (Dallas), who captured the attention of the entire room  (video below!).  Next up, The Ugly Club reintroduced the NYC indie sound and folk-punk duo, XNY, closed the show with impassioned vocals and mesmerizing drumming.

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Another feather in each band’s hat, the superb show at Bowery Ballroom drove the point home that Black Taxi and Bright Light Social Hour are the kings of their dance rock domain.  Not one still body, the crowd shimmied, jumped, rocked, rolled, crowd surfed, and shouted for a good 2+hours.
Here’s to reminiscing…

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WWRSD?: Kabang Festival 8/10-8-11/12!

Posted: August 10, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

It’s a bit early to think, but I know I’m beyond excited for this weekend’s Kahbang Festival in Bangor, Maine. Some NY notables, Lights Resolve, Black Taxi, My Pet Dragon, and The Aviation Orange will be hitting the stages alongside…wait for it…Deftones and Bassnectar today and tomorrow. Reporting live from the I-95! Rock n roll!

It’s no secret I’m a big fan of rock ‘n roll, the blues, and danceable variations on the theme, and it’s becoming less of a secret that I love bands from Texas.  Enter, The Bright Light Social Hour, who are all of the previous and a whole lot of extra goodness.  Hailing from Austin, Jack O’Brien(bass/vocals), Curtis Roush (vocals/guitar), A.J. Vincent (vocals/keyboard), and Joseph Mirasole (drums)’s notoriety has been escalating rapidly, as their debut, self-titled release has gathered rockers and hipsters onto the dancefloor with soulful vocals, psychedelic aura, contagious beats, sultry grooves, southern sass, unmistakable personalities, and mind-blowing live performances.  Still in the midst of their nationwide tour, Jack found a moment to answer some questions (Thanks!).   Speaking of Jack, check out his mustache and make sure to contribute to the band’s efforts as  they enter back into the studio to record their next album.  New York fans, you’re in luck; these Austinites will be hitting the Bowery Ballroom stage next Wednesday, August 8 with Brooklyn buddies, BLACK TAXI and Echosuite,  for a full night of grooving and moving. It’s bound to sell out, so make sure to grab a ticket while you can.  Doors at 7:30pm.  For other tour dates, see the band’s website for a show in your city!

RS: You probably get this question constantly, but how did your band’s name come about?

TBLSH: Curt and I started the band in college. He was studying Indian activist/writer Arundhati Roy, who was known for saying the activist’s job is to shine bright lights in dark corners of society. We liked that idea, and wanted to convey a forward-looking sense of community and gathering that we felt an important part of the atmosphere surrounding the band and music.

RS:   How would you describe your music to someone and convince them that it is worth listening to? What’s the most important thing fans can glean from your music?

TBLSH: Psychedelic/southern/rock/soul/hard dance/deep funk. If you’d like to experience passionate artists attempting a genuine expression of beauty, appeal and communion, check us out.

RS:  What cities are your favorite tour spots?  Where did you have the best but most unexpected turn out?

TBLSH:  We’ve been to so many great places. Some of our favorites include Miami, Toronto, Portland, Mexico City, Tampa, New York of course. We’d never been to Aspen and were expecting a very small turnout but it turned to be one of our best club shows.

RS:     All your fans have heard the horrible and unfortunate news about your stolen equipment in Suskatoon and are pretty pissed off on your behalf. How has this affected your tour, and how have you managed with the incident?  If you came face to face with your burglars, what would happen?

TBLSH: It was certainly the greatest heartbreak we’ve ever faced as a band. Those guitars were our babies; just about everything we’ve written thus far was written with them. But it was hard to stay bummed for too long; as soon as we posted about the theft and asked for donations the support came flooding in to a degree we’d never have thought possible. It was truly amazing. A friend of a friend in Ottawa has lent me a sweet ’76 P Bass until I sort something out, and Curt picked up an excellent Nash Tele guitar and Victoria “Bassman” amp from craigslist so we didn’t have to cancel any shows and we’re back up to having a full, quality touring rig. If we ran into the burglars I think we’d pump the brakes on any aggression and beg, plead and offer anything for a lead on how to recover the instruments.

RS:   It’s been great watching you grow as a band and get the attention you deserve since I first saw you play at SXSW a few years back. Seeing you open for The Cult was incredible! What have been the most rewarding and memorable moments over the last year?

TBLSH: Thanks! Playing with the Cult at SXSW is definitely up there. We recently played Festival d’été de Québec in Québec City opening for Aerosmith in front of an amazing 80 to 100,000 person crowd. It was a little terrifying, but absolutely a blast.

RS:      What is your most hilarious and/or embarrassing tour story?

TBLSH: During our song “Bare Hands Bare Feet” there’s a part where A.J. throws me the tambourine across the stage. For the 1st time in probably over 200 shows we’ve done that song I just forgot it was coming and it totally nailed me in front of thousands.

RS: 2012 has already been a roller coaster of a year for you guys. How do you plan to finish out the year?

TBLSH: After Thanksgiving we’ll finally have a good bit of time off from touring for the 1st time this year. But there’ll be little time to relax, we’ll be busy finishing writing for the next record, hopefully to get into the studio a few months later. We’ll be closing out the year opening the 1st of Umphrey’s Mcgee’s New Year’s shows on December 28th in Atlanta.

Here’s the deal.  One month from today, on Wednesday, October 20, 2010, The Deli Magazine will be presenting a very special afternoon showcase, “The Se7en Deadly Bands”  at Arlene’s Grocery for CMJ. I’m honored to have such an incredible line-up gracing the stage… and just for the record, the scheduling has been updated. DOORS AT 1PM!

Click here for more event details!