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Big Takeover Issue #83

Matt Lee

Matt Lee is a musician, writer and bon-vivant based in Montreal, Quebec. He divides his time rocking out in DIY spaces around the Northeast Canada and USA while running his micro label Talking Skull. He writes about music as well as publishing the odd short story and lives with a rabbit of surprising character named Walter Matthau.

Odd Limbs - Walking On Light (Cuchabata)

23 February 2016

The protracted nature of this album perhaps weighs it down, melancholy is easier to receive in fits and starts, the ear and soul are easy to load down to the point of inertia. But, that too is something I’ve learned to respect in Odd Limbs. They are NOT inviting, they are simply dwelling within the somber and beautifully colored temple and it’s up to us to enter. Not being chased after by an aesthetic is refreshing, it’s brave and deliciously subjective.

The Great Depression - Sux (Independent)

18 January 2016

If this is what “emo” has become, praise the fucking music gods that these kids really know how to turn their emotions into living, breathing beauty in song. Beauty that can only come from pain and crushing struggle, you hear the tears, joy, depression and hope in every well placed line.

Sacral Nerves - Sacral Nerves (Independent)

16 September 2014

Gratifying and disorienting, like any challenging music should be, the musicality on display giving fucked up wings to the mutant children of punk and no-wave. Sacral Nerves could be the soundtrack to a stabbing… or the best night of your life.

Crabe - Anti-Vague (Cuchabata)

22 July 2014

Many people may hold their ears and run from that, as they might from Crabe, but those that remain are like the first 5 people that thought Primus was the shit and bought a tape. The prescient among us might twig to what obvious genius and true punk sorcery is being offered in the oeuvre of this phenomenal band.

Notta Comet - Venice Beach b/w Home (Independent)

10 April 2014

Notta Comet has so much music in them I doubt that many could even survive a full length from this disgustingly talented new band.

PyPy - Pagan Day (Slovenly)

10 April 2014

A truly and authentically fucked up album with stunning artwork by monsters of the considerable Quebec psych/garage/punk/whatevs scene that lingers in the mind’s ear like it’s been branded there.

Jared Brown - Help! (Independent)

9 March 2014

There is a gift at work in the songs that you have to squint to see sometimes, but damn if this album isn’t something that should be considered an underground legend, a sun-damaged Love Tara for this generation.

BIIPIIGWAN - Something for Everyone; Nothing for Anyone (Independent)

3 February 2014

The trio make assured and destructive steps with every crushing track on this album, a new watermark in menacing, cathartic neo-doom.

Sandcastle - Nymph & Necromancer (Independent)

8 January 2014
There’s a magical newness of Sandcastle’s oeuvre, that feeling of discovery lurking in every song, they really bring you places in a gentle but forceful way. That’s the trick of genius songwriting is that confidence, the ability to say “Hey let’s go here… trust me!”.. and you do, and it turns out great.

*Shining Wizard* - No Room For (Cuchabata)

2 January 2014

When free jazz met the moshpit, Shining Wizard was born, it’s a powerful first offering by two musicians ascending to the peaks of their wizardly powers, perfectly in step.

Les Guenilles - Zéro pis une barre (L'œil du tigre)

22 November 2013
Les Guenilles are trying to be anything but appealing or ingratiating or part of any scene but their own dirty damned selves

David and the Woods - David et les Bois (Cuchabata)

20 November 2013

There is a gorgeous hue to this album, a very conscious shading and nuance that draws equal inspiration from Rick White era Can-rock as it does the angelic harmonic layering of Harmonium.

Socalled - The Season (Dare To Care)

5 October 2013
It’s a huge triumph.. a journey that starts with some fresh rap vibes, and pulls in instrumentation that’s all over the map, equal parts Gershwin , Danny Elfman and The Roots with adornments pulled from old and new klez groups like Psamim and Davka.

Weed - Deserve (Couple Skate)

5 October 2013

The music of Weed gives the mind and soul wings, as if you were soaring high above the glaciers and mountains.. a real triumph and excellent addition to the renaissance of Canadian DIY music.

Shahman - Sounds That Look Like Us (Revolution Winter)

5 October 2013

There is magic at work here, a very organic kind that transcends the wood, steel and electricity of the instruments. The guitar, the drums, they are more lightening rods for the spirit world than mere instruments.

Mavo - Mavo 7" (Fixture)

23 August 2013

Feet planted firmly in a base of shoegaze, the vocals are appropriately muted and understated and the guitars in a layered, fuzzy sheen.

Univox - The Altec (Independent)

20 July 2013

Univox are a brilliant quartet of players who have always provided creative, complex and challenging music while never compromising the baseline of total abandon and rock and roll.

The Backhomes - Only Friend (Storyboard)

19 June 2013

The effect overall of Only Friend is a very deep aural experience, you can either intently lose yourself within it’s folds or allow it to shimmer in the background of a midnight drive or a hazily intimate evening.

Arrington de Dionysio's Malaikat dan Singa - Open The Crown (K Recs)

30 May 2013

Arrington is one of those artists (like his obvious compositional hero Captain Beefheart ) whose work must be taken in as an arc, a traveling trajectory moving through different spaces and examining the muse from myriad angles, some down and rock n roll, some more hypnagogic and trance-worthy.

The Jazzfakers - Here Is Now (Alrealon)

7 April 2013

Oriented squarely at devotees of the noise/improv scene, The Jazzfakers Here Is Now culls from a mercifully diverse sonic bag of tricks so the ear never quite gets worn out by one set of elements stretched to the point of over-endurance.

Dead Messenger - Recharger (Independent)

24 March 2013

Veteran Montreal pop rockers return with a sparkling new collection of sweaty tunes.

Crabe - Mort de Fraîche Date (Cuchabata)

11 March 2013

Slouching sideways out of the backwater town of Valleyfield, just west of Montreal, Crabe is a fantastically unpredictable duo of dudes laying down some of the freshest tunes that defy any attempts at categorization

The Yips - The Yips (Bruised Tongue)

15 February 2013

The Yips’ first EP is already a triumph, managing to infuse older sounds with new attitude and succeeding fiercely while achieving the rare feat of being a party band with depth and complexity.

Hands and Knees - Red Hot Minnow (pRIMORDIAL sOUNDS)

6 February 2013

I’ve been eagerly dancing around this stunning li’l number from Cambridge’s Hands and Knees, enjoying it as heartily as I would a great huge fucking sandwich.

Panopticon Eyelids - Overwhelming Visions (Carved In Lava)

4 February 2013
A consistently heavy, surprising, challenging and pleasing release by a local legends of the underground that will hopefully widen their audience to a larger circle of aficionados of truly psychedelic rock music.

Zoobombs - The Sweet Passion (Zbon-Sya)

16 December 2012
Zoobombs have recorded and toured relentlessly since the early 90s making a special effort and taking great pains to make regular excursions over the Pacific to blow American and Canadian concert goers’ minds. This first time I experienced the rock n roll might of these guys was quite by accident, wandering into a long-closed venue on the Main where they were busily setting the stage on fire with completely in-the-red chops of garage rock madness.

Maica Mia - Sparcity Blues (Independent)

16 December 2012

Taken as an album, “Sparcity Blues” does not smack you about the face with immediate gratification, but instead invites the patient, the worthy and the intrepid among us into it’s heady, sensual and darkly shaded world of wonders.

Steven Cerio - The Magnificent Pigtail Shadow DVD (Noiseville/Wow Cool)

23 November 2012

A work of singular beauty that triumphs in it’s ability to evoke deeply archetypal allegories out of relatively simple imagery and opening perception in it’s glyph-laden but still easily epistemological view of the “natural” world as it scrapes trippily across our human need for compartmentalization and supreme control.

CreaturoS - SWAMPP THINGG (pRIMORDIAL sOUNDS)

4 November 2012

There is so much to love on this tape, it bursts with bright and diverse color and a totally original and exuberant take on psychedelic roads previously traveled by similar visionary heavies.

Downtown Boys - Downtown Boys (Independent)

19 October 2012

Downtown Boys , one of Providence’s most exciting bands emerging from an already rich scene has just dropped a raw piece of timelessly intense and exuberant punk in their debut, self-titled release.

Northern Haze - Sinnaktuq (Supreme Echo)

22 September 2012

When I heard about Northern Haze , a metal band from Igloolik (a tiny town in Nunavut) who’ve been making stoner-y heavy rock with lyrics sung in Inuktitut I was appropriately intrigued.

Clara Engel - The Lovebird's Throat (Independent)

5 August 2012

Unabashedly earnest, while maintaining an aura of strength and barely constrained power, these four songs roll out before the ears like a dark and complex diorama.

N.N. - Princes (Independent)

29 July 2012

Pulling liberally from every good genre of rock, N.N. really sound like true believers, paring down the riffs and songs to a gloriously sludgy essence, the drums and bass a pillar of stone, the guitars burned and rough, the vocals dangerous and full of pathos.

Nubians - Nubians (Independent)

14 July 2012

A comfortable punch in the face that reeks of basement tours and beer, Nubians , though sloppy and no-fi, can’t hide the fact that there are some capable-ass musicians behind the murk, ready to party and make plenty more gratifying and edge-kicking punk tapes.

TangoCharlie - Worthwhile Dilemmas (Independent)

14 July 2012

Just a tick on the “fi” side of lo-fi bedroom beats, the songs weave a dark and seedy path through the various stages of urban concern and pathos.

P/DO P/DRO - Massage EP (Pas Vendable)

3 June 2012

There’s a way to pull off a sweatily awkward sense of the icky and inappropriate, and P/DO P/DRO are easily masters at elucidating the profane, from their live satanic invocations to their trashy and irreverent circuit-bending sound.

Pas - Sunflower Serenade b/w Thorsten Soltau/The Elecctent People - Swiffing Hall. (m.m)

3 June 2012

This nicely packaged gem of a 7” is a real mind voyage laden with some tasty concrete/actuelle treatments just this side of “too cool” for serious electroacoustic chin-strokers.

Catl - Soon This Will All Be Gone (Independent)

2 June 2012

Though closer to the Mississippi River of Eastern Ontario than that of the Southern Delta region, catl have that muddy water in their bodies and souls, and that’s what makes their newest album shine.

Shorty Boy-Boy "Candy Man" b/w "Smoking Tea" (BITBY.tv)

2 June 2012

Philly’s sunny sweetheart Shorty Boy-Boy drops some grit into his pop machine with an auspicious single, a debut from the maverick party animal culture explosion that is BITBY.

Rabbit Troupe - Treasures Are Miniscule (Beta Snake Records)

18 May 2012

Gleeful lo-fi pop-punkers Rabbit Troupe are from New Jersey and are the breezy and fun summer high kick of 2012.

Astral Gunk - Astral Gunk (Independent)

6 April 2012

Astral Gunk are four Sackville-based musical miscreants blazing out of New Brunswick and just being totally fresher than anyone.

Ghost Dance - Live at Mt Swag: Vol 2 (Jeffery Drag)

1 April 2012

Jawdropping new cassette-only release from all around badass Nashville label Jeffery Drag. Ghost Dance, from small town Missouri are captured here spitting blood and starting fires in the infamous confines of underground Nashy venue, Mt Swag.

Dub Trio - IV (ROIR)

29 March 2012

This album is loose enough to feel human, yet tight enough to please the IDM nerds, bangers and post rockers alike.

Biipiigwan - Nibaak EP (Independent)

25 March 2012

Ottawa has a surprising amount of great bands, and has contributed mightily to the collective Canadian tinnitus in it’s generous offering of seriously heavy bands. One band I’ve been enjoying for a few years, Biipiigwan, have perfected the sludgy viking side of things but injected with a very uniquely Canuck vibe, speaking to the hugeness of vast empty space, the inherent doom-feel of the frozen expanse of our ravaged, snow-covered wasteland.

Crunk Witch - Faith In The Thief (Milled Pavement)

16 March 2012

Having talent and creativity to spare, this new album shows a new level reached, a plateau where Crunk Witch have reached a commanding zenith of the electronic rock drawing in everything around it like a giant, rock and roll tornado.

Bill Fox - One Thought Revealed (Jar Note)

1 March 2012

It was with a sense of great revelation and mystery that I unpacked this simple, spartan new CD from iconoclastic Cleveland songwriting legend Bill Fox .

Various Artists - The Lemon Tape (Kinnta/Hobo Cult)

27 January 2012

Every time I think I’ve plumbed the depths of this city’s wellsprings of great music, something like cassette labels Kinnta and Hobo Cult pop out, all explosions and rainbows with a whole batch of amazing.

Komodo - Shadow Dance (Sambal)

27 January 2012

Shape Shifter is truly a jewel in the craft of Komodo’s (nee Matthew Burton) oeuvre. Originally known as Subluna, Burton’s established a global reputation for roof-raising live sets and enjoys a local rep for nurturing an aspect of the dubstep/bass scene since it’s inception into the Canadian east coast scene.

Shahman - Who Am I? 7" (Concession)

20 January 2012

Identical twins from Ottawa, Rob and Peter Johnson wove a heavy duty tapestry on this tasty little four song 7” EP as Shahman. Occupying and interstitial space between math-y and slow paced Shellac dream-time and burned out early Mogwai post-rock, the corona of cathartic but eloquent screaming and metallic breaks in each song drive this boat over the proverbial mountain.

The American Devices - The American Devices (Grenadine)

20 January 2012

This exhaustive compendium of prolific punk weirdness documents 25 years of uncompromisingly off kilter songs by The American Devices.