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The Big Takeover Issue #82

Cody Conard

Cordova - Runaway Summer (Self-Released)

14 June 2018

In just four songs, Cordova makes a bold statement at a blisteringly fast pace with Runaway Summer, and sets a precedent for their next full-length album, whatever that may be.

In the Light of Led Zeppelin - Pompeii Sessions (Self-Released)

10 June 2018

The covers obviously can’t compare to the originals, but In the Light of Led Zeppelin does a more than commendable job of proving the elasticity of a well-written song and that recording another artist’s work doesn’t have to mean a faithful reproduction.

NEUROTIX - Basement Recordings (Self-Released)

6 June 2018

For an album recorded at a practice space, there is an accomplished aspect to Basement Recordings regardless of its very unpolished state.

James Labrosse - Orange Night (Self-Released)

6 June 2018

By looking back through the history of world and pop music, James Labrosse ends up creating something with Orange Night that is both fresh and exciting.

Armonite - And the Stars Above (Cleopatra Records)

28 May 2018

Ultimately, And the Stars Above is music which one can easily put on in the background while carrying on with one’s day, but it also invites close listening and individual interpretation.

The Thirds - Dork Matter (Self-Released)

24 May 2018

Dork Matter isn’t a great leap forward for The Thirds, but it makes the case once again that they are very capable of writing subtly mature pop with a brand of confessional lyricism rare in their scene.

Strange Culprits - Strange Culprits (Self-Released)

22 May 2018

Strange Culprits captures a band still finding their footing, but there’s plenty of glimpses of a strong, captivating identity to warrant numerous listens.

James Adkins - Brokedown Free Man Blues (Self-Released)

19 May 2018

Brokedown Free Man Blues is ultimately far more accurate of a self-portrait than anything the artist may have planned.

Aya Maguire - The Sandcastle King (Self-Released)

16 May 2018

Undoubtedly, The Sandcastle King is starved for warmth, but it remains an absolutely fantastic mood piece which is perfect listening for anyone searching for something similar to the way they themselves feel.

Benjamin Dean Wilson - The Smartest Person in the Room (Self-Released)

14 May 2018

The Smartest Person in the Room is an album that should be paid attention to closely, for it’s full of jokes, wisdom, and surprising moments of heart which can fly by unnoticed.

Ghostly Beard - Inward (Self-Released)

10 May 2018

Ultimately, the true identity behind the beard doesn’t really matter, because Inward speaks for itself as a shining, highly original example of the limitless possibilities of pop music.

Melaku - Golden Age (Angellion Records)

7 May 2018

It’ll be interesting to see what the extra songs add to Golden Age, but the EP in its present form is a ready-made, tightly coherent package of unadulterated, artful pop.

Mark Peters - Spirits EP (Audio Heart)

30 April 2018

Stylistically both folksy and jazzy, while Peters’ lyrics are honest and stripped of unnecessary adornments, Spirits is an EP which will attract a wide array of listeners.

Paul Maged - The Glass River (Self-Released)

25 April 2018

It’ll be interesting to see if he will continue this trajectory with an entirely political EP to finish off the trilogy, but the project has already resulted in some of the most potent music in Maged’s career.

Ryan Hutchens - The Last Ten Years (Self-Released)

23 April 2018

The Last Ten Years is caught somewhere in between a statement of transition and a declaration of maturity, and is arguably Hutchens finest creation yet.

Jasmine Karimova - From the Womb (Stuart Davis Media)

18 April 2018

What remains is a voice identifiable to her alone in both tone and subject manner, and From the Womb crosses the finish line as a remarkably self-assured minor masterstroke.

Ben Ryan - Abacus (Self-Released)

5 April 2018

Abacaus ends up spreading itself thin ever so slightly, but it nevertheless has many fantastic moments which suggest an even brighter future.

Sam Levin - I Am (Clarence Productions)

2 April 2018

I Am ends up as the perfect title for what is essentially a quietly confident manifesto on a deeply personal level.

Tomorrow's Eve - Mirror Of Creation III – Project Ikaros (Baze Records)

29 March 2018

Mirror Of Creation III is out May 25th on Baze Records, and it proves the band still has a lot to give to the prog metal genre.

Luca Bash - Keys of Mine (Self-Released)

21 March 2018

Keys of Mine is the sound of an artist reveling again in being surrounded by the creative atmosphere of like-minded musicians.

Evan & the Live Oaks - Hyde Street EP (Self-Released)

13 March 2018

It’s impossible to not feel like the EP is just starting to warm up by the time it’s over. It could have benefited by, perhaps, one more track, but what is here shows a tremendous amount of artistic growth and maturity.

Ajay Mathur - Little Boat (Yakketeeyak)

11 March 2018

An entirely self-made product, the album has a raw, homegrown quality which is superbly produced, and is likely one of his best thematically as it deals with Mathur’s own personal issues from a number of angles, both cathartic and humorous.

Andrew Reed - If All The World Were Right (Artists International)

20 February 2018

If All The World Were Right may very well be a concept album, but if it is, then it’s the most unobtrusive concept album ever made.

Jason Vitelli - Head Above Tide (Self-Released)

15 February 2018

It’s an album that resists categorization or understanding, and it constantly morphs and evolves, often within a single song.

Arden and the Wolves - Who Can You Trust (Self-Released)

11 February 2018

What’s so enthralling and relatable about Who Can You Trust is that Leigh sounds like she’s truly singing for herself and no one else, which will ultimately make the EP all the more relatable for so many people.

Ben Brookes - The Motor Car & The Weather Balloon (Martin-Guild)

4 February 2018

Had The Motor Car & The Weather Balloon been released in 1994, at the peak of the Britpop era, it’s very likely it could have been a much bigger album, but it still stands a set of superbly crafted tunes from a musician with the secrets of British pop running through his blood.

Delta-S - Coven (WindM Records, Scribe)

2 February 2018

For established fans, Coven will be a welcome addition to the band’s oeuvre, but new listeners might want to start with the previous trilogy to brush up first.

Raven King - Raven King (Self-Released)

29 January 2018

Raven King is an album that is tied to experimentation, and it is this that is ultimately responsible for both its successes and its (relative) failures.

Geoff Gibbons - Buffalo Hotel (Self-Released)

29 January 2018

The album will be a treat for fans of the California country-tinged folk of acts like Jackson Browne and The Byrds, and Gibbons’ soulful, earthy vocals lend an authenticity to songs coated in a thick layer of dusty Americana.

Ivan Beecroft - Whatever (Self-Released)

24 January 2018

Whatever is an album that is rough around the edges, but perhaps that’s the point and it’s all the better for it.

The Green Door - Wolf In The Fold (Self-Released)

16 January 2018

Wolf In The Fold, in fantastic, explosive pulsations, hearkens back to the rawer, unbridled history of the Wild West—a history which is in many ways fabricated, and in doing so the band’s music adds to this mythologizing.

si,irene - BEES EP (Self-Released)

14 January 2018

si,irene is really fantastic at blending both arty angularity and indie pop melodicism, and this commitment to confronting preconceived musical ideas is at the forefront of their existence as a group.

Julia Krueger - for(e)go EP (Self-Released)

30 December 2017

for(e)go is an important first introduction from a musician with an original and compellingly fresh perspective.

NYDTyson - If You're So Smart, Why Are You So Sad? (Self-Released)

27 December 2017

In reality, If You’re So Smart is actually much closer to art pop disguised with distortion than anything else, ultimately creating an experience that only reveals and intensifies with closer listening.

Seneko - True Dimension (Self-Released)

18 December 2017

True Dimension is a must-listen for anyone who loves Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, but most importantly it only heightens the anticipation for the inevitability of a full-length from Seneko.

NegativeHate - Solipsis (Self-Released)

9 December 2017

Solipsis is one of Negativehate’s greatest releases yet, and represents a coalescence of everything they have stood for over their long existence.

Fracktura - Oculus (Self-Released)

4 December 2017

Oculus is at once disturbing, unsettling, and the tension at times is unbearable; but it is most importantly a work of art that will stay with the listener long after it is over.

Agency - Resist (Self-Released)

26 November 2017

Resist is a bold and brave conception that is expertly executed, and it will undoubtedly stand as one of the modern era’s first major political artistic works.

Aurganic - Distant Echoes & Close Encounters (Self-Released)

24 November 2017

Distant Echoes & Close Encounters will undoubtedly be remembered as a great leap forward for Aurganic, a band unafraid to step outside of their own comfort zone.

The Great Escape - Universe in Bloom (Self-Released)

18 November 2017

It’s highly probably Universe in Bloom will win over a lot of new fans for The Great Escape, because the band’s spirit and this album’s charm is ultimately irresistible.

Night Herons - Relevant Noise (Self-Released)

15 November 2017

Regardless of whether it will prove to be a transitory record or the end of one individual chapter in the band’s history, Relevant Noise will stand as the testament of Night Herons truly coming into their own.

Patrick Grant - A Sequence of Waves (Peppergreen Media)

11 November 2017

A Sequence of Waves is no doubt a challenging listen that one can’t simply put on in the background, but it is a work of art that rewards the open-minded listener with close, repeated examinations.

Westward - The Empire of Deception (Self-Released)

8 November 2017

The Empire of Deception builds significantly on Westward’s debut album, and sets them up to be the latest torchbearers of the power trio tradition.

Michael P Cullen and the Soul Searchers - Live at Lazybones EP (Self-Released)

1 November 2017

Live at Lazybones captures something revelatory about Cullen, and it’s that as good as his studio albums may be, it’s very likely the best way to experience his music is live on stage.

Noise Ratio - Songs on Fire (Self-Released)

25 October 2017

It’s undeniable that Songs on Fire is more or less the artist’s debut album, and at times this naivety bleeds through, but it also remains a remarkably well-constructed product that is as catchy as it is dramatically produced.

Eric George - Not About Nightingales (Self-Released)

21 October 2017

Not About Nightingales has captured American folk music in a way that countless other musicians have failed to do, and with any luck, many of these songs will become standards in their own right.

Shrek is Love - Vol 1: This Is My Swamp (Self-Released)

2 October 2017

If Wizard rock, and the proliferation of Harry Potter bands in recent years is anything to go by, one can only hope the successive Shrek-themed musical acts are at least as half as talented as Shrek is Love.

The Stangs - American Sessions EP (Self-Released)

25 September 2017

Only time will tell whether The Stangs are a band born in the wrong time or if they’ll lead the charg of a new revivalist movement, but American Sessions will nevertheless stand on its own merits.

Giant Flying Turtles - Waltz to the World (Self-Released)

22 September 2017

Their second and latest album, Waltz to the World, is a strangely jazzy affair that combines various elements of both prog and left-of-center pop in a catchy yet artistic way slightly similar in vein to XTC.

Lochness Monster - Fables (Self-Released)

13 September 2017

To anyone, it is immediately clear that Weezer is a large influence on Lochness Monster, but the band’s slightly more progressive and serious than the pseudo-heavy metal pop punk lyricism of Rivers Cuomo.