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Big Takeover Issue #83

Cody Conard

The J. & F. Band - From The Roots To The Sky (Long Song Records)

7 February 2019

From The Roots To The Sky is a challenging listen to say the least, but the high level of skill from the performers and the hidden depths it conceals also make it one of the most rewarding.

Heather Gruber - Dance Into The Desert (Self-Released)

5 February 2019

Dance Into The Desert is a remarkable debut album which encloses a large amount of craft and attention to detail within a deceivingly modest pop format.

Chris Lastovicka - Fortune Has Turned Remixed (Ahari Press)

2 February 2019

Few manage to create something that at once feels removed or distant from the composer and yet still retains a high degree of raw emotional honesty.

Anne Steele - Made Out Of Stars (Self-Released)

1 February 2019

Made Out Of Stars occasionally feels like a collection of odds and ends but it’s impossible to complain because the quality of songwriting and execution is just so pitch perfect.

BRAVE - the calm | the storm (Self-Released)

30 January 2019

the calm | the storm is a conceptually perfect work from a band at their peak, and proves that no wait is ever too long if the results are this rewarding.

Mark Peters and The Dark Band - Sum Of All Parts (Audio Heart Records)

26 January 2019

Sum Of All Parts, with its four songs, should leave fans more than satiated until Mark Peters, with or without The Dark Band, enters the studio again.

Todd Warner Moore - Spark (Self-Released)

19 January 2019

Spark is brimming with as much heart and soul as technical skill, and it must easily rank as one of 2018’s most flawless folk albums.

Damon Mitchell - Elise (Self-Released)

18 January 2019

Elise is a very strong, confident effort from a musician who is still discovering his image, but it shows a remarkable amount of promise.

Adam Rose - Levitate the Base (Self-Released)

7 January 2019
If the title or album artwork are any indication, Rose is strongly influenced by the psychedelic prog rock of King Crimson and early-era Pink Floyd.

Gideon King & City Blog - Upscale Madhouse (Self-Released)

23 December 2018

Upscale Madhouse is a big step up for the band, and it includes some of the year’s best artistic developments in the genre.

Dead Friends 46 - Hardcore (Rank-n-File Records)

17 December 2018

There’s nothing revolutionary about Hardcore, but there’s something obviously admirable about the band trying to change their own community for the better through the power of music.

Norine Braun - Through Train Windows (Braun and Brains)

13 December 2018

The tour must have been an amazing experience for Braun, because Through Train Windows is one of her purest and most concise statements as an artist yet.

Gina Graves - And We Rise (Self-Released)

9 December 2018

And We Rise_ is produced on a surprisingly grand scale for an album that was essentially recorded all at home by Graves, and it will undoubtedly serve as one of the most uniquely individual artistic statements in the genre in recent years.

Peter Senior - On The Edge (Mandalong Records)

6 December 2018

It’s not the deepest of music, but there’s a real artistry to Senior’s definition of fun and you’ll be too busy dancing to think of anything else anyway.

Psychocide - Hungover (Self-Released)

4 December 2018

In fact, the title of Hungover is misleading, because the EP finds Psychocide with a renewed sense of creativity.

Twisted Oak - Cold Coffee and Half Smoked Cigarettes (Self-Released)

25 November 2018

One could argue that in future, Twisted Oak could use a little more production to prevent it from becoming too singer-songwriter-y, but it’s nevertheless a very strong start.

max lee - Colors of Noise (Self-Released)

22 November 2018

In a sea of self-released lo-fi albums, Colors of Noise manages to stand out from the pack with style, substance, and quality songwriting.

Elza - Nothing's Wrong (Self-Released)

21 November 2018

Nothing’s Wrong is a statement of consummate execution and even bolder vision from a true original.

LeeSun - Singing You This Song (Self-Released)

16 November 2018

_Singing You This Song” is an album this will definitely provide a sense of comfort and solace for many.

H! - Journey to the Centre of Yourself (Self-Released)

6 November 2018

_Journey to the Centre of Yourself” manages to convincingly depict a subject which is difficult to write about without sounding trite, and it feels like the launchpad for future, even greater artistic developments.

Crooked Flower - Into the Light (Self-Released)

28 October 2018

It’s difficult to say whether or not their busy recording schedule is a help or a hindrance to their evolution as a band, but one thing is clear: Into the Light shows Crooked Flower with no sign of slowing down and without want of fun or material.

Neurotix - Save Me (Self-Released)

26 October 2018

Save Me will immediately appeal to almost any fan of grunge, and many will be surprised to find there is evidently still new ground to cover in the genre.

Deb Montgomery - All the Water (Self-Released)

24 October 2018

All the Water is a fantastic work of craftsmanship, and fans finally are given a perfectly executed example of Montgomery’s unique vision.

The Slang - Desperate Times EP (Secret Song Records)

21 October 2018

If there’s a fault at all here, it’s that the EP feels like it should have been fleshed out to a full-length, but fans, for better or for worse, will have to settle for the satisfyingly alluring five songs the band did produce.

Highbeams - Keep Meaning It (Blanket Fort)

17 October 2018

There’s a lot of excitement circling Keep Meaning It (clearly the band felt it too while they were making it), and with any luck this album will prove to be their breakthrough.

Weather McNabb - Cubicle Zombie

14 October 2018

Cubicle Zombie is a tremendously tight, fully-formed collection of songs that prove the years of work spent finishing it were worth it, and hopefully it won’t be long before McNabb’s next collection of songs.

Synthonic - Sunshine EP (Self-Released)

3 October 2018

It isn’t exactly revolutionary in the genre, but it’s infectious in its positivity, and it’s immediately clear that the EP is the work of someone deeply in love with the process of making music.

Laura Paragano - Strange Curses (Self-Released)

26 September 2018

What’s remarkable about Strange Curses is that Paragano’s vision has been delivered to her audience fully formed.

Sam Fishman - End of Time (Self-Released)

25 September 2018

New Jersey’s Sam Fishman of the band Madison Rising is back with another imposing solo release, End of Time.

Ben DeLaurentis - Liar for a Muse (Self-Released)

20 September 2018

As one would expect, Liar for a Muse is quieter than the work with DeLaurentis’s band, but it’s also much more refined and mature as if the artist has a newfound sense of direction.

dep - We Are The Lights That Will Not Go Out (Self-Released)

11 September 2018

We Are The Lights That Will Not Go Out is nothing groundbreaking, but it’s the perfect album when you’re in need of an injection positivity.

The Goldwyn Experiment - Avenue B (Stash)

1 September 2018

Overall, it’s the artist’s personality—a confident expression of both good humor and serious artistic intent—which makes Avenue B such an enjoyable, wild ride that never stops to rest for long.

Eric Anders and Mark O'Bitz - Of All These Things (Self-Released)

30 August 2018

Of All These Things is a work in which the love and care of the musicians’ craft is evident everywhere, and fortunately the pair is already hard at work on a follow up.

Jared Weiss - Isolated Thunderstorms (Self-Released)

21 August 2018

With Isolated Thunderstorms a listener should come for Weiss’s own takes on his New York musical idols, but stay for his sensitive and introspective lyricism.

My Autumn Amor - Letters To Brie (Self-Released)

13 August 2018
From the effusively charming “Gabrielle” to the Killers influenced “In A Scene,” Letters To Brie is a standout example of bedroom pop from an artist who so very clearly wears his heart on his sleeve.

Astral Cloud Ashes - Dear Absentee Creator (Self-Released)

6 August 2018

Dear Absentee Creator shows a lot of growth since Astral Cloud Ashes’ first record, and it suggest a consistent progression of devoted artistry.

The Rabbitts - Tall Pines & Tangled Vines (Self-Released)

30 July 2018

Tall Pines & Tangled Vines has an undeniable charm and chemistry which is impossible to fabricate.

Monique Angele - Alive (Self-Released)

29 July 2018

Alive isn’t experimental in a nature in which one could categorize it as belonging to the avant garde; instead, it’s experimental on a personal level as she continues to search deeper within herself for emotionally honest material.

American Amnesia - Yet Here We Are (Prophet Motive Records)

25 July 2018

Yet Here We Are inevitably carries some of the tell-tale traces of youth, and there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, but it is undoubted that the band will continue to make great leaps forward as they mature.

Miriam Waks - Tales from a Room (Self-Released)

22 July 2018

Waks’ commitment to treating her subjects with authenticity gives the entirety of Tales from a Room a legitimacy rare among debuts.

Jane in Space - Gorerunner (Aion Records)

15 July 2018

It’s only been two years since the debut album of NYC’s Jane in Space was released, but thankfully they haven’t waited too long for a follow up EP.

Maxwell James - Maxwell James (Self-Released)

12 July 2018

Maxwell James manage to pack a wide array of human emotion into a very short release, making it a compelling listen from the beginning.

Ledges - The Sun, The Stars, The Moon, and Me (Self-Released)

10 July 2018

The Sun, The Stars, The Moon, and Me is a dynamic collection with the occasionally brilliant moment, and one is left with a desire for the band to continue to create music in the future under a more unified vision.

Kicklighter - Paper Planes Vol. 1 (Aardvark UK)

10 July 2018

Fans of Kicklighter will be anxiously waiting to see what Young will do with an orchestra, but Paper Planes is a bittersweet finale from an artist who clearly still has so much to give to the world of pop.

Marty Thompson - Romantic Stories (Self-Released)

2 July 2018

Ultimately, Romantic Stories is richer and far more fulfilling than a mere travelogue.

The Blue Collar Army - Norrland (Ladysnow Society)

28 June 2018
Norrland is a bleak listen to be sure, but it’s sure to find an audience in a European society in the midst of political turmoil.

Nocturnal Blonde - Smart Heart (Self-Released)

26 June 2018

As the EP is a little ephemeral, it could use some beefing up, but it remains a touching tribute to a cause which deserves far more attention.

Halfwait - The Official (Self-Released)

23 June 2018

The Official may have been a long time coming, but Halfwait have handsomely rewarded their fans for the wait with an album that encapsulates their entire growth as a band up until this point.

Sebastian O - In Your Room (Self-Released)

22 June 2018

In Your Room is commendable for the risks taken, but hopefully it will be lauded more for the quality of Sebastian O’s songwriting.

Pale Blue Dot - Anatomy (Rockfish Music)

20 June 2018

Many asked what kind of music would come out of the Trump era, and without a doubt Anatomy is an injection of compassion which we so desperately need.