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The Big Takeover Issue #88

Michael Toland

Michael Toland began scribbling about music in 1988 for the photocopied ‘zine FHT Music Notes. He’s since written for various print and online publications, including Pop Culture Press (for whom he was reviews editor for several years), Texas Music (of which he was a founding editor), Trouser Press, Sleazegrinder, Sonic Ruin, Amplifier, Goldmine, Austin Citysearch the Austin American Statesman, Blurt and the Austin Chronicle. He was also the creator and grand poobah of the music-obsessive web site High Bias (2001-2006). He lives in Austin, Texas and works for public television.

Eivind Aarset 4-Tet - Phantamsagoria (or) A Different Sort of Journey (Jazzland)

24 September 2021

Though formally trained, the Norwegian has spent nearly four decades standing consistently at a crossroads where rock, jazz, electronica, psych and ambient music meet, copulate, and produce healthy mutant children.

David Sanford Big Band featuring Hugh Ragin - A Prayer For Lester Bowie (Greenleaf)

23 September 2021

Sanford presents a wide program on A Prayer For Lester Bowie, encompassing all facets of his musical personality.

Renee Rosnes - Kinds of Love (Smoke Sessions)

21 September 2021

The Saskatchewan native is at her best when she and her keyboard are up front, leading a band of excellent musicians in showcasing her own compositions.

Marc Cary - Life Lessons (Sessionheads United)

20 September 2021

Life Lessons, the latest album from prolific keyboardist and composer Marc Cary, is the kind of record one makes after many years of expansive experience.

The Delevantes - A Thousand Turns (Moonriver)

17 September 2021

Though they never hit the big time, the Delevantes – New Jersey-born brothers Bob and Mike – provided unsung highlights of the nascent Americana scene of the nineties.

Myra Holder - Four Mile Road (Coyote)

16 September 2021

Produced by Chris Stamey and considered a minor classic of the college rock era, Myra Holder’s Four Mile Road has been out of print for decades, but has now been resurrected in digital form for the first time.

Lady Blackbird - Black Acid Soul (BMG)

15 September 2021

The smoke, the glitter, the creeping misery, the fierce joy – it all comes together on Black Acid Soul, the debut LP from Lady Blackbird.

Jim Snidero - Strings (Savant)

14 September 2021

It sometimes seems like every jazz musician has that one specific fantasy – that of being backed by an orchestra, or at least a string section.

Marcin Wasilewski Trio - En attendant (ECM)

13 September 2021

In many ways, the Polish trio embodies the popular perception of the so-called “chamber jazz” that ECM has championed over the decades.

Aakash Mittal - Nocturne (self-released)

10 September 2021

The blend of Indian music and jazz is always an interesting one.

Cromm Fallon - Presents the P200 (Rum Bar)

9 September 2021

Multi-instrumentalist Cromm Fallon plies his trade with the psych popsters the Laissez Faire, among others. But he casts a much wider net when left to his own devices.

Bob Gorry/Pete Brunelli/Peter Riccio - GoBruCcio (NHIC)

8 September 2021

It may be noodling, but it’s noodling with a purpose.

Green Lung - Black Harvest (Svart)

7 September 2021

London’s Green Lung follows up its debut album Woodland Rites with second LP Black Harvest, and if you’ve already guessed that we’re getting a metalized soundtrack to a folk horror epic that exists only in the band’s head, you’re dead on.

Kenny Garrett - Sounds of the Ancestors (Mack Avenue)

6 September 2021

When alto sax-wielding jazz warrior Kenny Garrett (Miles Davis, Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, and many more, including a ton of solo albums) decides to get spiritual, he reaches way back.

Jeff Lederer/Sunwatcher - Eightfold Path (Little (i) Music)

3 September 2021

Each of the eight tunes was recorded outside with no rehearsal, and only first takes were used.

Doctor Smoke - Dreamers and the Dead (Ripple Music)

2 September 2021

Taking its time in following up its 2014 debut The Witching Hour, Ohio’s Doctor Smoke sno time in distinguishing itself from the underground metal hordes on Dreamers and the Dead.

Dan Siegel - Faraway Place (self-released)

1 September 2021

Though he’s been a star on smooth jazz radio from pretty much the time he emerged in the early eighties, it’s not a comfortable fit, as his latest LP Faraway Place indicates.

Andrew Renfroe - Run in the Storm (self-released)

31 August 2021

For his first full-length album, up-and-coming young guitarist Andrew Renfroe recruits friends on whose records he’s recorded, including saxophonist Braxton Cook, keyboardist Taber Gable, bassist Rick Rosato and drummer Curtis Nowosad, all part of the new crop of young NYC jazz artists.

Marc Johnson - Overpass (ECM)

30 August 2021

Given the ECM label’s long tradition of solo bass recordings, it’s surprising that it’s taken this long for Marc Johnson to release one.

Andrew Cyrille Quartet - The News (ECM)

27 August 2021

While a long-respected and cherished sideperson in many different contexts, drummer Andrew Cyrille has been enjoying a renaissance as a leader. The News, his third album for ECM and second with his Quartet, may be his best for the label yet.

Divine Horsemen - Hot Rise of An Ice Cream Phoenix (In the Red)

26 August 2021

As with the Flesh Eaters’ comeback LP, the intriguingly titled Hot Rise of an Ice Cream Phoenix is a blend of covers, new songs, and updated older material.

Lyle Mays - Eberhard (self-released)

25 August 2021

Eberhard – dedicated to German bassist/composer Eberhard Weber, with whom Mays worked on Metheny’s pre-Group LP Watercolors – is both a tribute to an old friend and a good example of what Mays brought to the table in his various musical endeavors.

Emma-Jean Thackray - Yellow (Movementt/Warp)

24 August 2021

The young Yorkshirewoman has as much affinity for funk, soul and psychedelic rock as the spiritual jazz that shimmers through everything on her debut album.

Tom Cohen - My Take (Versa Music)

23 August 2021

Drummer Tom Cohen has played nearly every kind of music imaginable as a session musician. But when given his druthers, the Philadelphia sticksman is partial to jazz. My Take features him in an organ trio setting, joined primarily by B-3 master Joey DeFrancesco and either Tim Warfield or Ralph Bowen on saxophone.

The Joy Formidable - Into the Blue (Enci)

20 August 2021

Regardless of whether or not TJF enjoyed the success that was rightfully theirs, the Welsh combo hasn’t slowed down, releasing its fifth LP Into the Blue.

Tropical Fuck Storm - Deep States (Joyful Noise)

19 August 2021

Unsurprisingly reflecting the difficult times in which it was made and lived, Deep States continues the Melbourne quartet’s mission of deconstruction, tearing down two guitars/bass/drums rock music in order to build it back up.

CousteauX - Stray Gods (Silent X/Salamander)

18 August 2021

Plenty of artists return from extended hiatuses and sputter out with one new album, but not these unique noir rock balladeers. If anything, Stray Gods is stronger than the comeback LP.

Moon Coven - Slumber Wood (Ripple Music)

17 August 2021

The great country of Sweden has no shortage of stoner rock bands, so it can be hard to get excited about yet another one. But there’s something about Moon Coven that makes the group stand out.

The Alchemysts - One Eyed Again/Over and Out (Tee Pee Records Annex)

16 August 2021

The Alchemysts may not have existed in two decades, but, thanks to Tee Pee, their music not only lives on – it holds up nicely.

Sorrows - Love Too Late...The Real Album (Big Stir)

13 August 2021

Four decades after the first attempt, Sorrows release their masterpiece.

The Cruzados - She’s Automatic (Scamco)

12 August 2021

Evolving out of L.A.’s much-beloved Chicano punk trio the Plugz, the Cruzados never got their due in their eighties existence – the curse, perhaps, of being a straightforward, punk-pedigreed rock & roll band on a major label (Arista) looking for both the next Bruce Springsteen and the next Poison.

Geoff Palmer - Charts & Graphs (Rum Bar/Stardumb)

11 August 2021

Since his compadre Brad Marino released another solo album this year, naturally fellow Connection singer/songwriter/guitarist Geoff Palmer follows suit.

The Fourth World Quartet - 1975 (Cuneiform)

10 August 2021

The music of Ann Arbor’s Fourth World Quartet lasted less than a year (the titular 1975) and all of two gigs. So what makes this document of fully-realized demos so important?

Dany Laj and the Looks - Ten Easy Pieces (Rum Bar)

9 August 2021

Born in the small town of Kirkland Lake, south of Toronto, singer/guitarist Dany Laj writes the kind of tunes full of yearning: for love, for commitment, for purpose, for getting the hell out of town.

Damon & Naomi with Kurihara - A Sky Record (20-20-20)

6 August 2021

Boston duo Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang have had a long relationship with legendary Japanese psych guitarist extraordinaire Michio Kurihara (Ghost, Boris, the Stars, White Heaven), but haven’t been able to record with him in a decade.

The Peppermint Kicks - s/t (Rum Bar)

5 August 2021

Both veterans of the Boston rock & roll underground, singers/songwriters/guitarists Sal Baglio (the Stompers, the Amplifier Heads) and Dan Kopko (Watts, the Shang Hi-Los) combine forces to form the Peppermint Kicks.

Odd Circus - Arch Nova (self-released)

4 August 2021

For its second EP, Orlando trio Odd Circus is eager to prove that free improvisation isn’t just the province of jazz musicians.

The Lords of Altamont - Tune In, Turn On, Electrify! (Heavy Psych Sounds)

3 August 2021

Having passed the twenty year mark, The Lords of Altamont now stand as veterans of L.A.’s always-thriving garage rock scene.

East Axis - Cool With That (ESP-Disk’)

2 August 2021

One look at the personnel on the debut album by East Axis makes it hard to resist: pianist Matthew Shipp, drummer Gerald Cleaver, saxophonist Allen Lowe and bassist Kevin Ray make up a free improvisation dream team.

Robert Harrison - Watching the Kid Come Back (Monostereo)

30 July 2021

Rather than fill nooks and crannies with ear candy, Harrison lets the songs breathe, the air around each lick and vocal framing the tunes as much as backwards guitars and tape splices did in the Kontiki days.

J. Peter Schwalm/Markus Reuter - Aufbruch (RareNoise)

29 July 2021

A joint effort from two musicians equally comfortable with organic and synthetic sources of sound, Aufbruch feels like the perfect soundtrack for the Pandemic Years.

Michael Mantler - Coda - Orchestral Suites (ECM)

28 July 2021

For Coda – Orchestral Suites, the Austrian musician reworks pieces from past works via a horn-and-string laden chamber orchestra, vibraphone, electric guitar and his own probing horn.

Shun - s/t (Small Stone)

27 July 2021

Shun leader Matt Whitehead used to lead South Carolina’s Throttlerod, and while his new group Shun fields some of the former band’s ragged-but-right stoner metal, there’s a lot more going on here.

Blue Reality Quartet - s/t (Mahakala Music)

26 July 2021

With jazz’s long history of saxophone/drums duo albums, it was only a matter of time before some musicians decided to double up.

Roy Brooks - Understanding (Reel to Real)

23 July 2021

Documenting a 1970 performance recorded by the Left Bank Jazz Society at Baltimore’s Famous Ballroom, the two-disk Understanding resurrects a magnificent Brooks gig from the vaults.

Orrin Evans - The Magic of Now (Smoke Sessions)

22 July 2021

Besides his piano, Evans wields the band as his instruments, knowing when to keep them in support and when to let them loose.

Michael Bisio/Kirk Knuffle/Fred Lonberg-Holm - The Art Spirit (ESP-Disk’)

21 July 2021

Inspired by and dedicated to nineteenth century American artist Robert Henri, The Art Spirit is clearly committed to Art For Art’s Sake.

The Idolizers - ConCretins (Rum Bar)

20 July 2021

A worthy follow-up to last year’s self-titled introductory EP, the Idolizers rip it up again on new EP ConCretins.

Greg Antista and the Lonely Streets - Under the Neon Heat (Primal Beat)

19 July 2021

There’s a lot of L.A. rock history in this band’s DNA.