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Blackraptor to relaunch…

January 16, 2011

After a short hiatus, Blackraptor will be announcing a relaunch at the end of January. A new address, a fresh design, new writers and more content. Stay tuned and thanks for your support.



Kanye West on overdrive…

October 25, 2010

Runaway (watch in full-screen HD with headphones)

He’s released a new track once a week, directed, released and starred in an incredible short film (above or at his site), performed at the VMA’s & Brooklyn Bowl all while prepping a new album. Now he’s talking about doing an album with Jay-Z, making a Saturday morning cartoon, producing a Broadway show and doing a full tour (those details here).  Has Yeezy bitten off more than he can chew? Hellz no.

Read more…

My Morning Jacket played It Still Moves (and more) at Terminal 5

October 22, 2010

I have an interesting history with My Morning Jacket.  The first time I ever saw them I was in 2003. I was working at a hotel in SoHo.  One morning, Beck walked up to my desk and offered me a pair of tickets to see him play Giants Stadium later that day.  I had heard that the Field Day Festival had been rescheduled as a one-day event at Giants Stadium after their site permits in Long Island were denied.  This meant I just scored a free pair of great seats to see Radiohead, The Beastie Boys, Beck, Spiritualized, Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes and others.  I called a friend, left work early, headed to the stadium and tailgated in the rain with some people from Kentucky who had driven up specifically to see one of the opening acts I’d never heard of: My Morning Jacket.  They offered my friend and I two huge pieces of ganga-butter banana bread and we went into the show.  Over the next 4 hours, we were in a deep haze and we wandered around Giants Stadium listening to some great music (including MMJ) as a backdrop.  When the Beastie Boys came on, we snapped out of it and focused on the stage for the rest of the night which was capped by an amazing performance by Radiohead.  See the NY Times review of that show here.

About a month later, a friend took me to see Foo Fighters and Pete Yorn at Hammerstein Ballroom. The opening act? My Morning Jacket.  They came out barefoot with guitars roaring and my friend said, “Wow.  So which one is Pete Yorn?”  I told her Pete was up next and I slowly put it together that I had sort of seen these guys a month earlier.  Their set made sure I would remember who they were from that point on.  See the NY Times review of that show here.

Since then I’ve seen them at a few festivals but I’ve never become a hard core fan.  I was out of town for the Radio City and MSG shows that my friends have raved about.  This year at Sasquatch I saw them play on the mainstage at the Gorge.  The set was good, but with the temperature dropping to 40 degrees, me and my t-shirt had a tough time getting into it.

Last night, everything worked.  The band decked out Terminal 5 with drapes along all the railings, a proper curtain as a backdrop on the stage and five crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. They made it their own. The place was packed and they came roaring out of the gates with the Mahgeeta.  It was the first time in a long time that I was screaming in appreciation after the opening song of a show. Then they blew the roof off with Dancefloors.  Jim James was headbanging and doing karate kicks across the stage.  The guitars were booming but crystal clear.  It suddenly made sense why this band has such a devoted fan base.  They kicked ass. They took an already rocking album to new heights.  Big jams, battling guitars, killer drums, a big horn section and those monster vocals.  One Big Holiday had the place raging.  This was what a rock show is supposed to be like.  It was fucking legit.  The encore included songs by Bob Dylan, The Velvet Underground and The Band.  When they closed with All Night Long by Lionel Richie, the place exploded and there wasn’t a person in the room who wasn’t smiling and singing along with their own personal version of the lyrics, “Tam bo li de say de moi ya – Heeeeey Jambo Jumbo!  All. Night. Looong, all niiiight…”

My Morning Jacket will play Z tonight (10/22) and Evil Urges tomorrow night at Terminal 5. Both shows are sold out.

My Morning Jacket – One Big Holiday

Lionel Richie – All Night Long

Setlist (courtesy of

1. Mahgeeta
2. Dancefloors
3. Golden
4. Masterplan
5. One Big Holiday
6. I Will Sing You Songs
7. Easy Morning Rebel
8. Run Thru
9. Rollin Back
10. Just One Thing (last played 2009)
11. Steam Engine
12. One In The Same (last played 2004)
13. Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You (Bob Dylan, last played 2007)
14. How Could I Know (last played 2007)
15. Sooner
16. Head Held High (The Velvet Underground, last played 2006)
17. It Makes No Difference (The Band)
18. All Night Long (Lionel Richie, last played 2006)

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Surfer Blood, Francis & the Lights and Dominique Young Unique played Studio at Webster Hall

October 20, 2010

Wearing skin-tight black pleather pants, a neon pink bustier and over-sized shades, Dominique Young Unique took the smoke filled stage at the Studio at Webster Hall last night (10/19) and proceeded to have a blast as she worked thru a set of grimey hip-hop.  She simultaneously brought to mind Santigold, Spank Rock and Nicki Minaj.  Her big gap-toothed smile (like mine!), sincere appreciation (“thank youuuuuuuuuuu”), tight rhymes and inspired flow made for an energetic and incredibly fun set.  She was backed by a drum machinist and a synth/percussionist, who made the set much more dynamic than the standard DJ playing a backing track.  She has the charisma of a star and I can bet she’ll be a festival staple next summer and will be opening for major tours in between.

Francis & The Lights‘ front man, Francis Farewell Starlight, combined 80’s soft-pop/soul vocals with killer dance breakdowns to bring the energy in the room up another level.  He was flanked by a guitarist and keyboardist who, despite being well-skilled, purposely stayed emotionless (and almost motionless) so that the focus could stay on Francis.  The songs were much better live than on the record and they brought to mind Phil Collins and Steve Winwood (think “Higher Love”).  Overall, a very entertaining set that has me wanting to bring friends to Mercury Lounge on Friday to see them again. They’ve been touring with Mark Ronson and have upcoming dates opening for everyone from Drake to Ke$ha to La Roux, so expect to be hearing a lot from them in the coming year.

Surfer Blood closed the show a night before they the big room at Webster Hall.  It was my first time seeing them and I wasn’t all that impressed.  The songs were good and they’re great musicians, but it was pretty straightforward rock and seemed a little uninspiring after the two previous sets.  Also, with MTV filming a live webcast of the set, it seemed they were playing a little more for the cameras than they were for the kids that came out to see them live. Eh.

Gayngs played Bowery Ballroom

October 4, 2010

Gayngs brought their smooth soft-rock sound to Bowery Ballroom for their NYC debut last night (10/3) and managed to find just the right balance between the tounge-in-cheek concept of the album and the seriously good product that they created.  The saxophonist, Michael Lewis, and vocalist/guitarist Justin Vernon (of Bon Iver) were the two key elements of the 11-piece band – and they couldn’t be more different.  With his long hair and blazer, Lewis fit the role of the classic smooth-jazz saxophonist, playing incredibly well and giving the band all the soft-rock cred they would need. Vernon, decked out in a white, buttoned-up Lacoste cardigan, white pants and sunglasses, sang thru his auto-tuned mic all night as he worked his way between his patented falsettos, T-Pain-esque r&b, death-metal growling and (a personal favorite) the Bone-Thugs breakdown on “The Last Prom on Earth”.  The band was clearly having fun all night: several wore shades, masks or oversized hats, the two bassists broke into an impromptu slow-dance with one another, the synth player boozed heavily while dancing estatically throughout the entire show and they performed three well-chosen covers  (“By Your Side” by Sade, “Cry” by Godley and Creme and “Eye in the Sky” by the Alan Parsons Project).  Gayngs has brought some soul to soft-rock and managed to get the indie kids heads bobbing in the process.  They play Music Hall of Williamsburg tonight (10/4).

Set list: The Gaudy Side of Town, Walker, Cry, No Sweat, By Your Side, Beatdown, Crystal Rope, Spanish Platinum, Fade High, Ride, Last Prom

Encore: Eye in the Sky

Gayngs – “The Gaudy Side of Town”

Drunk synth player and Justin Vernon flash the Gayngs sign in approval at Michael Lewis…

Radiohead’s fan-made concert film

September 30, 2010

At their show in Prague on August 23, 2009, Radiohead allowed their fans to shoot video from their respective vantage points in the crowd on small HD Flip Video cameras.  The band was so impressed with the resulting edit of the show that they provided the filmmakers with their soundboard audio to use in the film.  Whether you’re a Radiohead junkie or have never really experienced the band live, this is a fascinating (and free) way to experience the band’s live set.  Each song is available to stream here or you can download the show in various formats here.
There, There (a personal favorite) is above, while All I Need is below.  I highly recommend watching in 720p which you can adjust on the bar below the screen.  For a different Radiohead live experience, check out their set in Nigel Godrich’s Live From the Basement series in which they performed the songs of In Rainbows in a more intimate setting.  Stream Reckoner for free here or download the whole series of videos here.

LCD Soundsystem finally debuts Dance Yrself Clean

September 24, 2010

Ever since LCD Soundsystem‘s latest album This is Happening leaked back in March, fans have been eagerly awaiting the live debut of the record’s choicest cut, Dance Yrself Clean.  It was ominously left out of their New York shows, absent at Coachella, passed over at Sasquatch and simply not played on any of their world tour dates.  Finally, last night at the Wellmont Theatre in New Jersey (9/23) they opened the show with it.  Video above, courtesy of Maestro416.