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The Big Takeover Issue #82

Cody Conard

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.

Disaster Relief - S/T (Ravine Records)

19 June 2018

You’d be hard pressed to find many horn sections today finer than the one in Disaster Relief, and this album comes just in time to remedy this summer’s heat wave.

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.