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The Big Takeover #79

Mark Suppanz

Mark Suppanz has been a passionate music fan since the 1970s, when he would persuade his Mom to take him to the local mall to buy him 7” singles that he heard on Casey Kasem’s Top 40. His music tastes took a turn for the better in 1986 when his college roommate Lon turned him onto R.E.M., The Cure, The Smiths, and Joy Division, and upon graduation he frequented New Brunswick, NJ’s much-missed music club, The Melody. He discovered The Big Takeover in 1994 after happening upon issue #35 in a Tower Records in Mountain View, CA. He began transcribing interviews for the magazine in 1997, became moderator of its online discussion list in 1999, and began writing record and live reviews in 2000. Since that time, he has managed to see over 700 concerts while balancing a successful career in market research. He currently lives in Montclair, NJ, and in addition to attending shows, enjoys reading books and magazines, browsing record stores, watching movies, running, and traveling.

Gary Schwartz - "I Really Like You"

Gary Schwartz – “I Really Like You” [blue vinyl 7”] (Ownself)

20 February 2017

I’m not sure what prompted former United States of Existence/The Jigsaw Seen drummer Schwartz to reissue this upbeat, Supertramp/Hall & Oates-like 2014 digital single as a 7”. But I still “really like” it.

Cereal Banter - Junk Jazz

Cereal Banter – Junk Jazz [12”]; Oatmeal Outburst [cassette] (Cereal Banter)

19 February 2017

Despite drummer/founder Joseph Joseph’s replacing of departed keyboardist Molly Pamela with bassist Nicholas Gunzburg as this Cleveland experimental duo’s “other half” in 2015, Junk is as spastic and strident as their previous releases.

R.K. Ich - Fey

R.K. Ich – Fey (R.K. Ich)

17 February 2017

Shoulder and hand injuries have shelved Atlanta guitarist Richard Coker’s punk and folk career, but his instrumental synth LPs keep coming – Fey is his eighth since 2012.

Floorian - At Your Surface

Floorian – At Your Surface (Drigh)

16 February 2017

I described this 20-year-old Columbus collective’s 2009 second LP More Fiend as “ominous, trance-inducing space-rock, with hints of metal, psychedelic, and Eastern influences.” That could similarly sum up this new six-song, 43-minute fourth.

Tulipomania - Don't Be So Sure/Who Let You Know

Tulipomania – “Don’t Be So Sure” / “Who Let You Know” [7”]; This Gilded Age (Sursumcorda)

6 February 2017

For those still tentative about diving into this atypical, atmospheric Bristol, PA trio’s 2016 fourth LP This Gilded Age, this double A-side 7” of two of its tunes is a tempting toe-dip.

Cheshires - Cheshires

Cheshires – Cheshires (Cheshires)

4 February 2017

Birmingham, AL’s Remy Zero released three major label LPs during their original 14-year run, before disbanding in 2003. This new trio comprises two original RZ members, along with their touring guitarist/drummer, and preserves RZ’s penchant for brawny alterna-rock.

Glenna Bell - Lone Star: Songs and Stories Straight from the Heart of Texas

Glenna Bell – Lone Star: Songs and Stories Straight from the Heart of Texas (Glenna Bell)

2 February 2017

Texas-born-and-bred Bell again avoids modern country clichés on her fifth LP, and first since 2010’s Perfectly Legal: Songs of Sex, Love and Murder.

Louise Distras - "Aileen"

Louise Distras – “Aileen” (Louise Distras)

1 February 2017

On this hard-hitting new single, about serial killer Aileen Wuornos, London’s provocative, powerfully-piped Distras breaks free from stringent punk structures. It blends a ‘60s British Invasion/Merseybeat and girl-group sound with more contemporary, crunchy power pop.

Roxy Swain - Beneath Full Moonlight

Roxy Swain – Beneath Full Moonlight (Spade Kitty)

21 January 2017

I swooned over this fetching Chicago foursome’s “buoyant, shimmery” 2014 second LP Restless Hearts, which followed up their heftier 2010 debut The Spell of Youth. But Beneath manages to best them both.

The Mumzees - Teal EP

The Mumzees – Teal EP (The Mumzees)

10 January 2017

On their 2015 first LP, I heard “Sonics/Shakers-inspired garage rock, Shellac-styled industrial/post-punk, and SLF Inflammable Material-era punk” in this college-aged Nashville band’s sound. That’s still accurate, as Teal contains many of the same characteristics as the full-length.

Haley Bonar - Impossible Dream

Haley Bonar – Impossible Dream (Gndwire)

6 January 2017

St. Paul, MN-based Bonar’s follow-up to her 2014 sixth LP Last War is even better, featuring more focused and finely-honed playing. As well, its arrangements are alternately aggressive and atmospheric, thanks to Bonar’s brawny and buoyant backing band.

The Whispering Tree - "Space Oddity"

The Whispering Tree – “Space Oddity” (David Bowie cover); “Mother” (Pink Floyd cover) (The Whispering Tree)

2 January 2017

This New York duo’s dreamy covers of these two familiar classic-rock staples are so assiduously crafted, and Eleanor Kleiner’s singing so stupendous, it’s like you’re hearing each song for the first time.

Kuparilinna - Kuparilinna

Kuparilinna - Kuparilinna (Palatsi Finland)

4 December 2016

You might question the wisdom of a Helsinki band securing U.S. distribution for a debut LP sung entirely in Finnish. But one listen to this distinctive, charismatic two-year-old quintet, whose name translates in English to “Copper Castle,” and you’ll be captivated by their countless charms.

Lafayette Regency - All My Friends Died in a Rock 'n' Roll Accident

Lafayette Regency - My Friends All Died in a Rock 'n' Roll Accident (Lafayette Regency France)

28 November 2016

France’s forceful foursome Heming Wave have now morphed into this trio. However, the brash and bracing U.K. Britpop influences that Heming Wave invoked have been sidelined in favor of a more strident, stentorian style.

Turnsole - Little Boys and Black Dogs

Turnsole - Little Boys and Black Dogs (Turnsole)

8 November 2016

The echoed, East River Pipe-evoking bedroom recordings on Eric Bates’s one-man Turnsole’s self-titled, early 2016 debut are more defiantly delivered on this way different follow-up, an “abstract look” at the life of France’s tragic teen Joan of Arc.

Micah Sheveloff - Live and On Fire From Firehouse 12

Micah Sheveloff – Live and On Fire from Firehouse 12 (WIRC Music)

4 September 2016

The Firehouse 12’s pin-drop, church-quiet ambience and an attentive, breath-holding audience allows Sheveloff’s twinkling, deep-toned piano trilling and romantic, robust voice to register more prominently than on his previous platters.

Jody Seabody & the Whirls - Holographic Slammer

Jody Seabody & the Whirls – Holographic Slammer (Artificial Head)

24 August 2016

Given that this sophomore LP from this Houston foursome deviates in so many directions from their 2014 “Some Change” two-song 7” single, it’s not a stretch to surmise the band’s status as hard-to-pin-down chameleons.

Dan Israel - Dan

Dan Israel – Dan (Dan Israel)

21 August 2016

Every song on Minneapolis singer/guitarist Israel’s 13th LP Dan delves into the details leading up to or resulting from his divorce, while generally touching on the trivial but telling warning signs that can sour romances.

Reptiel - Hobbitozz…A Land That Never Was

Reptiel – Hobbitozz…A Land That Never Was (Cubby Control)

19 July 2016

At nearly an hour in length, Hobbitozz is an ambitious rock opera/fairy tale, which this San Francisco prog-rock quartet claim is the “first in a multi-part series of psychedelic sci-fi/fantasy rock albums.”

Paul Mark & the Van Dorens - Stowaways

Paul Mark & the Van Dorens – Stowaways (Radiation)

30 June 2016

Unlike NYC roots-rocker Mark’s previous seven with longtime backing mates The Van Dorens, Stowaways veers from the group’s signature barroom blues and country-rock style.

The Gods Themselves - Pink Noise

The Gods Themselves – Pink Noise (The Gods Themselves)

14 June 2016

Named for a 1972 Isaac Asimov novel, this Seattle trio’s second album dabbles in plenty of that decade’s music styles – most notably its soul/R&B, funk, and disco – even more than on their 2014 self-titled debut.

The Mountain Movers - Death Magic

The Mountain Movers – Death Magic (Safety Meeting)

9 June 2016

With the exception of singer Dan Greene’s drowsy, deliberate drawl, this New Haven, CT foursome’s fifth full-length sounds almost unrecognizable from 2010 double LP Apple Mountain’s spooky, lo-fi campfire folk.

Drifting in Silence - Artificial

Drifting in Silence – Artificial (Labile)

30 March 2016

On his ninth album as the one-man DiS, Derrick Stembridge dispenses with the “intricate, pulsating, and ear-tickling beats” that adorned previous LPs. But the absence of percussive elements is in no way a detriment.

Frank Viele - Fall Your Way

Frank Viele – Fall Your Way (Horizon Music Group)

17 March 2016

Unlike his 2010 debut Neon Lights and its 2011 follow-up EP Acoustic Juju, each co-credited with his (then) band The Manhattan Project, Connecticut crooner Viele gets sole billing on this sophomore full-length.

The 4onthefloor - All In

The 4onthefloor – All In (Double Asterisk)

11 March 2016

If you’re in the mood for some muscular, “meat-and-potatoes”-style blues-rock, this Minneapolis quartet’s third LP is akin to seeing a show at an all-you-can-eat ribs and rotgut-shot night at your local roadhouse.

Royal Pines - Dead Last

Royal Pines – Dead Last (Royal Pines)

29 February 2016

Unfortunately, this aptly-titled fourth LP is their swan song, as the Chicago foursome has announced they’re breaking up after a decade together. Their finale is no going-through-the-motions phone-in, however.

Ring Them Bells - No One's Dead We're Just Dressed in Black

Ring Them Bells – No One’s Dead/We’re Just Dressed in Black (Burnt Toast)

24 February 2016

The production on this Copenhagen quintet’s debut full-length is not as crude or clamorous as on their self-titled 2013 EP, allowing you to fixate more attentively on the languid, interlocking guitars of Johannes Nidam and Jan Johansen.

Illinois - Summer EP

Illinois – “Summer” EP (Illinois & DJ Skipmode)

21 February 2016

It makes sense for this Bucks County, PA indie-folk outfit to reinvigorate interest in their early 2015 album Shine by spotlighting the LP’s best song for this (ironically) winter-released EP.

Dani Elliott - The Best Part EP

Dani Elliott – The Best Part EP; “Black Heart” single (Dani Elliott)

20 February 2016

On The Best Part, Nashville songstress Elliott backs her silky, sinuous singing with warm electropop, ambient and downtempo music. Meanwhile, “Black Heart” is by far her heftiest, meanest song yet.

Ed - Meglio Soli

Ed – Meglio Soli (Tirreno Dischi Italy)

18 February 2016

For whatever reason, Modena, Italy indie-pop practitioner Marc Ed decided to record this newest album in his native tongue. Despite my not being able to understand a lick of the lyrics, I was hooked like a famished fish on one listen.

Telegraph Canyon - You From Before

Telegraph Canyon – You from Before (Velvet Blue)

16 February 2016

This Fort Worth, TX outfit’s third LP finds the band veering off into uncharted, yet stylistically kindred directions, notably in the evocative, unconventional, swampy country/blues-rock that dominates the LP’s first half.

Multicast - Bahian Coastal Highway

Multicast – Bahian Coastal Highway (Carpe Sonum)

15 February 2016

Carpe Sonum does a valuable service by reissuing this mesmerizing 2005 second LP by this Colorado electronic/ambient trio, previously a vinyl-only release on the group’s Obliq label.

The 65's - New Fun Hell EP

The 65’s – New Fun Hell EP (Pyrrhic Victory)

13 February 2016

On this three-songer, the NJ foursome abandons the softer side displayed on their 2013 I Got You EP, sticking with the punk-fueled style of that EP’s hottest, most hard-hitting number, “Have You Been Saved?”

Have Gun Will Travel - Science From an Easy Chair

Have Gun, Will Travel – Science from an Easy Chair (This is American Music)

12 February 2016

This Florida roots-rock foursome’s fifth full-length is a “concept” album that focuses on British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton’s fateful 1914-16 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition aboard the ship Endurance.

James Harker - The Ebb and Flow

James Harker – The Ebb and Flow (James Harker)

6 February 2016

On this second full-length, Sheffield, UK singer/pianist Harker is more personal and soul-searching than on its more whimsical predecessor, 2012’s The Red Room. The result is an album that makes an impact almost immediately.

Healthy Junkies - Box of Chaos

Healthy Junkies – Box of Chaos (STP UK)

23 January 2016

This third LP places more emphasis on Phil Honey-Jones’s frenzied, feculent guitars, while featuring the six-year-old London band’s most fiery, forceful tunes to date.

Love Letter - "Imaginative Eyes" 7"

Love Letter – “Imaginative Eyes” b/w “Lie We Love” 7” (Love Letter)

14 January 2016

If this single’s A-side is any indication, Atlanta-based quartet Love Letter displays more streamlined focus and ferocity than singer Carrie Hodge’s former band, Parade.

The Decemberists with Lucius – Radio City Music Hall (New York, NY) – Friday, September 25, 2015

16 December 2015

As this Portland, OR theatrical troupe’s peerless performance proved, glimpsing a papal motorcade was not the only way for New Yorkers to experience divine intervention on this night.

Heming Wave - My Electric Nights

Heming Wave - My Electric Nights mini-LP (Heming Wave)

9 December 2015

This Paris quartet’s superb 2014 debut EP Our Romance Ghost summoned the ‘90s U.K. Britpop scene so succinctly, it silenced skeptics. But My Electric surpasses it.

Bright Garden - The Light

Bright Garden - The Light (Bright Garden)

8 December 2015

This Milan, Italy trio’s claim that their music “[pursues] a classic punk sound” with “alternative rock’s reminiscences” is spot-on.

Haroula Rose – Rockwood Music Hall (New York, NY) – Saturday, September 12, 2015

22 November 2015

With honking horns, squealing sirens, and rowdy revelers creating a headache-inducing clamor just outside the venue on busy Allen Street, the affable, angelic-voiced Rose turned cozy Rockwood Music Hall into a comforting, cathartic refuge.

Ride with The Besnard Lakes – The Stone Pony (Asbury Park, NJ) – Wednesday, September 23, 2015

17 November 2015

With ‘90s UK shoegaze scene stalwarts still speechless from seeing Slowdive’s first U.S. shows in 20 years in 2014, Oxford foursome Ride’s announcement of their first U.S. tour in 23 years sent shockwaves spiraling even further.

Belle & Sebastian with Real Estate – Radio City Music Hall (New York, NY) – Wednesday, June 10, 2015

4 October 2015

The 19-year-old Glasgow, Scotland group pulled out all the stops at the historic, 6000-capacity Radio City Music Hall, with practically every song accompanied by some elaborate visual bells and whistles.

Wire – Union Transfer (Philadelphia, PA) – Friday, June 5, 2015

19 September 2015

Thanks to Union Tranfer’s translucent acoustics, every one of the jagged, sharp-edged riffs bursting from the guitars of frontman Colin Newman and his younger, newer cohort Matthew Simms came through loud and clear.

Beth Bombara with Everything Turned To Color – 68 Jay Street Bar (DUMBO, Brooklyn, NY) – Saturday, July 24, 2015

7 September 2015

Accompanied by her multi-instrumentalist husband Kit Hamon, Bombara delivered a 17-song early evening opening set that not only showcased the bulk of her 2015 self-titled third album, but plenty more from 2013’s Raise Your Flag EP and 2010’s Wish I Were You.

Warbles - Winter Lite EP

Warbles – Winter Lite EP (Warbles)

31 August 2015

Compared with the page-turning novel that Brooklyn one-man wunderkind Tom Curtain’s 2014 debut concept LP/rock opera The Necromancer’s Kids was, the five-song Winter Lite is a superb short story collection.

The Honest Mistakes - Get It Right

The Honest Mistakes – Get It Right (The Honest Mistakes)

29 July 2015

While this Baltimore indie pop foursome’s attractive 2012 Sundowning EP was a nice appetite whetter, the band finally get around to releasing this proper follow-up entrée to their sterling 2010 debut Break Up, and it’s worth the five-year wait.

The Forty Whacks - Saturday Night Loud EP

The Forty Whacks – Saturday Night Loud EP (Moriarty)

24 July 2015

Despite the departure of this roaring Chicago foursome’s fervent singer Johnny Pierro in 2013, Saturday Night Loud is electrifying. Crucially, they’ve replaced Pierro with female dynamo Kati Olsen, whose personality, poise, and powerful pipes are invigorating and irresistible.

The Loft – NYC Popfest @ Cameo Gallery (Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY) – Friday, May 29, 2015

20 July 2015

The folks at NYC Popfest have a reputation for coaxing way-under-the-radar indie pop acts out of the woodwork for their annual shindig. But this criminally unheralded London foursome, playing their first U.S. show, was one of their more unexpected and welcome coups.

Beverly – NYC Popfest @ Cake Shop (New York, NY) – Thursday, May 28, 2015

26 June 2015

The trio of songs this Brooklyn group showcased from their 2014 debut LP Careers all profited from the forceful foursome’s potent punch and Drew Citron’s spirited, sweetly-lilted singing. But I was equally knocked out by the batch of new and/or unfamiliar songs they played.