Posts Tagged ‘York’

Two Post from Deli Mag This DH Endorses

September 1, 2010

Saves me doing a lot of work I don’t feel like doing. Nice work, Deli Mag!

FIRST: New Video from The Drums (I still have something to say about this new breed of Indie music that is somewhere between a satire and a blatant copy of a previous style of music, but I’ll save it for another post. This particular song is still very good, regardless.)

THE DRUMS – “Down By the Water” (Would like to hear from the readers about whom the band resembles/might be portraying; I’m thinking The Righteous Brothers. Hit me.)

SECOND: A really great NYC band this dirty motherfucking hipster loves. Apollo Run doubtless puts on a top-tier live show. Don’t be a dipshit. Spend $8 of your freelance paycheck and go see them. According to their myspace, they’ll be playing next in NYC at Rockwood 2 on Sept 16.)


‘Nay. -DFH

‘I Know, I Know,’ or, ‘Such Thing as Too Much? No.’

June 25, 2010

I post this with the awareness that is on the brink of becoming a Hank & Cupcakes fanpage, and it don’t seem to bother me none.

I happened to be shuffling through Union Square Park yesterday because it’s pleasant to be outside surrounded by concrete when the temperature reaches 140, when I came across a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. He was setting up drum mics on a stage that had been built in the square and I asked him who was playing. “Uh, Hank and the Cupcakes, or something?” Must say, was not a very big surprise, after all, this event was sponsored by Best Buy where the dynamic duo had played several months earlier. And, shit, they seem to play once a week, and somehow garner bigger and bigger crowds each time.

This dirty, sweating, heaving fucking hipster wiped the hair from his burning eyes as he entered the square from the southeast corner to see the silhouette of about 100 people standing or sitting on the steps observing the band playing their initial single, “Pleasure Town.” As the show carried on and picked up momentum, a momentum that could be deciphered from Cupcake’s cheeks, which grew from pink to red in the beating summer sun, the crowd multiplied steadily throughout the set until nearly the entire southern quarter was packed full of children dancing, grown men crying (for real, dawg, for real) and cell phone snapshots going off every ten seconds.

This was certainly the biggest crowd I had seen the band play in front of. On a sweltering New York summer day Cupcakes was the only thing in the universe shining brighter than the fat old sun, and right there with her, playing flawlessly and sliding gracefully around the stage with her as always was Hank, the perfect Edith to her Archie. Whether it was a ballad or a banger, I felt as though I saw hundreds of New Yorkers all falling in love at the same time, and it was a very special site. I couldn’t help but wonder to myself what it would be like to be the band’s William Miller on their first national tour, but for that I’d have to give up my secret identity. Might be worth it. -DFH

PS – The band just released a video for their cover of Joy Division’s “She’s Lost Control.” It’s pretty damn good. Check it.

Album Review: “The Shake Go Crazy”

March 25, 2010

I’ve been holding on to this one a while – it’s been edited slightly for the sake of relevance…

This past December (2009) New York City-based quartet, The Shake, released their third LP. This latest record, “The Shake Go Crazy,” marks, not a departure, but an evolution and a sign of maturity from the band. Something that has sadly become typical of far too many bands is the tendency to release one awesome album and then come up short on the next. Fortunately, this album far surpasses the band’s previous releases, which, by the way, are both very good in their own right (“Kick It,” 2007 and “Well, Oh Well,” 2008).

A particular honed and crafted wildness envelopes the brilliant 8-track LP – barely an LP, but a tad long to be an EP. The run-time comes in at just under half an hour. So, not only does each song have tremendous replay value, but the album itself does, especially when considering the extraordinary subtleties and barely-noticeables throughout. With “The Shake Go Crazy,” you’ve got 12-bar blues, punchy (almost-)power pop, unmitigated screaming Rock and a dash of odd time signature Prog, all ornamented with studio banter and occasional coughs in the background. Oh, you’ve also got what I’m surely going to nominate for Song of the Year 2010 – though it should have been in the running last year – in “Got No Soul,” the last track on the album. (Music video included below.)

Our friends over at The Deli Magazine named these guys Best Emerging Alt Rock Band of 2009 in NYC. And that’s a difficult thing to disagree with. I haven’t had the fortune of seeing them live yet, (wouldn’t you know they were playing with Black Taxi at those damn Theatre Shows I missed!) though I plan on doing so very soon, but I just have a feeling that they might be just as good, if not better, on stage as on record. It’s increasingly rare this days to get a true Rock band that records like, well, a Rock band, and not like, well, pussies – polished pussies, nonetheless. Jon Merkin’s voice is scratchy, it’s honest and it’s powerful. Eliad Shapiro effortlessly invokes the spirit and style of Page and Gilmour without approaching copycat territory (careful, DFH, careful). Bassist Jeremy Stein keeps things simple and drummer Vish Kumar, who is a powerhouse.

Guest appearance by NY Scenesters Ezra Huleatt of Black Taxi (“Pop Goes The…”), Tash Neal of The London Souls (“Merry Musket Reprise”) and Matt Butler of Reckless Sons (“Timebomb”) put the final touches on an excellent album.

Thank the Lord I finally got to publish this baby. This blog has been awfully negative lately, but it’s hard not to be with so much over-hyped, blindly-worshipped horseshit out there. Luckily, for all you who really do love Rock n Roll – yes, even little dirty fucking hipsters can appreciate a guitar solo and even little dirty fucking hipsters like some energy in their music – The Shake deliver an absolute knockout with “Go Crazy.” Very much worth the $10 off iTunes, even in this economy. -DFH

Live Review: CitizenMusic Presents “The Theatre Shows”

March 21, 2010

I got this email from the guy who runs CitizenMusic [Presents] inviting me to something they put together called “The Theatre Shows.” Wouldn’t you know that this dirty fucking hipster was one sick dog this whole week? Fuck. Couldn’t get to Titus Andronicus – and everyone who reads this blog knows how much I wanted to post something overly-malicious about their performance – nor could I get to see one of my favorite bands in town, Black Taxi who were headlining the three nights of The Theatre Shows. Whoever these CitizenMusic folks are, they sure have their hands in some killer shit. I’ve been holding onto a review I wrote of one of their bands, The Shake, for well over a month now because their manager doesn’t think it’s “the right time to release a review.” Usually I’d say he was just another industry pig, but through several months of correspondence I’ve gotten to know him as a pretty good dude with good taste. Anyway, this paragraph is way too long already, I’ve just got to stop.

As fortune would have it, I was sent these reviews from Meijin Bruttomesso at The Deli Mag. She reviewed the shows, and now I’m sharing those reviews with you. I’m also kicking myself for not loading up on Vitamin Q and getting my dumb ass to these shows; seems as though they were pretty damn good. Fuck me.

The Theatre Shows: “Masquerade Ball”
Old Wives, The Shake, and Black Taxi, Live at The Players Theatre

Black Taxi Headlines All 3 Nights at The Theatre Shows

Black Taxi Headlines All 3 Nights at The Theatre Shows

On March 4, Greenwich Village’s Players Theatre bustled with feathers, masks, and glitter, for the “Masquerade Ball,” the first of CitizenMusic’s Theatre Shows. Verona, New Jersey’s Old Wives, a jazzy, funky, and soulful quintet, brought swing and sway to the sold-out venue with bluesy jams and a swanky sass. Although seating was available, the audience could not be restrained, especially when The Shake appeared. Masked and made-up, the four New Yorkers blasted through an explosive set, accompanied by confetti cannons, unstoppable noise-makers, and a slinky dancer, armed with flashlights for their final “Got No Soul.”

The Shake at The Theatre Shows: Night One - Masquerade Party

The Shake at The Theatre Shows: Night One - Masquerade Party

Closing opening night, Brooklyn’s Black Taxi energized the audience to a climax, as masqueraders, whether first-timers or devout fans, formed a fire-hazard in the aisles, dancing to newly debuted tunes as well as released favorites. The three exceptional bands joined center stage for a full-cast bow, and despite some sound kinks, expected from first-night jitters, the music set the bar high for the two subsequent shows.

The Masquerade Party

The Masquerade Party

The Theatre Shows: “Prohibition Night”
Black Taxi, Apollo Run, and Milo and the Fuzz, Live at The Players Theater

Prohibition Night

Prohibition Night

The second of the three Theatre Shows, “Prohibition Night” commenced copacetically with the bees’ knees, Black Taxi. Due to the previous evening’s wild festivities, the joint encouraged dames and daddies to stay nearby their seats, but rules at a rock show proved baloney. The four Black Taxi members promenaded down the aisle with guitar and tambourine in hand, and flasks in pocket, before stepping on stage for an electrifying set that naturally brought flappers and bootleggers out of their seats and into the pit. Apollo Run, donning fedoras and suspenders, captivated with their impressive vocal range and nuance, and powerful lead keyboard. At the end of their set, the trio mingled with the audience and mounted the arms of the theater seats to serenade the front rows. Last but not least, Milo and the Fuzz, another band of three cool cats, played with a confidence beyond their age and put on the Ritz, wrapping up night two with a swell performance.

Prohibition Night - Milo & The Fuzz

Prohibition Night - Milo & The Fuzz

The Theatre Shows Night Three: “Post-Modern (PoMo) Night”
New Madrid, Toy Soldiers, and Black Taxi, Live at The Players Theater

The finale of the series on March 6, “PoMo Night,” featured an anything-goes, get-creative theme, that encouraged outfits which would normally not leave the house. First up, New Madrid, cleverly fusing Spanish and English lyrics performed with an intensity that surpassed the sound of three, and engaged the bizarrely dressed crowd with adrenaline-infused rock. During “La Araña,” the band even tossed out creepy crawly souvenir spiders.

PoMo Night - New Madrid

PoMo Night - New Madrid

Toy Soldiers, out-of-towners from Philadelphia, brought a classic, rootsy vibe and a standout brass section that left listeners swooning. Still standing after two raucous shows in a row, Black Taxi amped up the pace with perfected sound, riling up the off-runway-styled audience that demanded multiple encores. As the imaginary curtain closed and reopened, the leading men from the bands throughout the weekend reunited for one more celebratory bow before an exeunt omnes. The Theatre Shows’ all-around success promises a repeat of the event and proves that New York is home to pre-eminent music and original acts.

The bands take a bow together

The bands take a bow together

-Meijin Bruttomesso

The Deli Magazine Fan Poll: Best Emerging NYC Artist of 2009

January 14, 2010

Our good friends at The Deli Magazine have opened up polling to the public, so we encourage our reader to get out and vote for their favorite emerging act of 2009. Poll closes tomorrow, so hurry up and get on it!


Album Review: Black Taxi’s “Things of That Nature”

January 5, 2010

Being afraid of cliché, this dirty hipster hesitates to call Black Taxi New York’s best kept secret, but, shit, they just might be. Though, from the recent press and the kinds of shows they’ve been headlining, it’s difficult to define them as a secret. Each time this band takes to stage they project something more professional than what can often be expected from a New York Indie band. (Anyone who’s seen Titus Andronicus will know what I mean when I infer that so many Indie bands look and play like amateurs.) There is a level of poise and confidence that is rare, but they are derived from the fact that these fellas are terrific musicians and they write killer songs. The band had previously released two EPs, “Black Taxi EP” (2007) and “Untitled” (2008) that offered small windows into their range within the Indie/Pop/Rock format. “Pretty Mama,” the third track on their first release is the sort of song that makes one a fan of a band based on one track. Luckily, the band’s latest release, “Things of That Nature,” an ambitious 13-track EP, opens the doors to a mansion of creativity and pop brilliance.

Black Taxi's Ezra Huleatt at MEANY Fest
Photo courtesy of Denika Peniston

Now, since this dirty hipster has always found album reviews that articulate the reviewer’s most minute, second-to-second thoughts track by track to be unbearably boring and unhelpful, I’ll keep this (and all reviews to follow) brief and accessible. First off, the album is great. Really, really great. Another common reviewing practice that this dirty hipster abhors is the use of comparison. That is, saying that a band like Dr. Dog reminds one of The Beatles is not interesting; nor does it seem necessary or effective. Who doesn’t sound like The Beatles? Shit, Black Taxi sounds like The Beatles. There are also elements of the dancier tracks from The Talking Heads; pop elements from The Bravery and, and, and… see what I mean? What Black Taxi’s “Things of That Nature” is all about is strong, driving beats from the rhythm section (bass – Krisana Soponpong :: drums – Jason Holmes) that you can dance to if you’re a chick or head bang to if you’re a dude. The guitar work (Bill Mayo) is absolutely superb. Superb! I say. He has excellent taste and timing. He knows when he needs to be the rhythm guitarist, he knows when he needs to shred and he knows how and when to create a lead melody. He also has a gorgeous voice (esp. “It’s a Ball” & “Can’t Bring Myself to Care”).

Now, every great rock band needs a frontman. One that, while the other members may have presence out the ass, you in the audience can’t help but fixate on this one dominant figure. Black Taxi has their Mick Jagger in the form of Ezra Huleatt. In concert he is the emcee. He’s the shirtless dude with the American flag bandana and glitter paint on his face. On the album he is provides the band’s grit, the intrigue. Huleatt displays his diverse musical ability as he can be heard either belting out earnest vocal lines, laying down a trumpet solo or pumping out melodies on the Fender Rhodes. Not to mention various percussive instruments sprinkled throughout the album.

Courtesy of Artisanal Television

Black Taxi’s “Things of That Nature” is an album for which you should really shell out the $9.99 on iTunes. I did. And I’ve certainly already gotten my $10-worth of enjoyment out of it. One thing this dirty hipster would like to stress is how good these guys are live. Theatrical, endlessly entertaining and pitch-fucking-perfect with their instruments. Get out there and see them January 28 at Bowery Ballroom, it’s one of the best shows you’ll see, well, maybe ever. Certainly would be nice to catch them at a joint like Bowery before you have to pay $50 to see them at The Garden. I’ll be there, for sure. -DFH