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The Big Takeover Issue #82

Ryan Gabos

Ryan Gabos first cut his teeth as a music critic in 2011 with 402 Productions, for which he soon rose to the position of Editor through 2013. Since then, he has written for Good, Bad, Ugly Music Reviews, Next2Shine, and GrooveVolt. He also stays musically active, fronting the band Sotto Voce and representing one half of the punk group Hot to Trot.

Joan of Arc - 1984

Joan of Arc - 1984 (Joyful Noise Recordings)

4 June 2018

Joan of Arc’s latest is a patchwork of retrospective blips that fade in and out at an almost subliminal rate, not looking to drag new meaning out of the past but rather to ensure that nothing was overlooked.

The Sea and Cake - Any Day

The Sea and Cake - Any Day (Thrill Jockey)

11 May 2018

Any Day is a bold expression derived from stress and change crafted from the masters in rare form, typical form, and most importantly, new form.

Jaala - Joonya Spirit

Jaala - Joonya Spirit (Bedroom Suck Records)

9 May 2018

Almost two years after they teased its title track, Jaala’s sophomore LP Joonya Spirit is well worth the wait.

Hop Along - Bark Your Head Off, Dog

Hop Along - Bark Your Head Off, Dog (Saddle Creek)

30 April 2018

Bewilderment over Hop Along’s latest cannot be indebted to any defined science—they just know how to wow by the cleverest and most economic means.

Freak Heat Waves - Beyond XXXL

Freak Heat Waves - Beyond XXXL (Telephone Explosion)

25 April 2018

Beyond XXXL is made for those who love Iggy Pop’s The Idiot, but would specifically like a 45-minute reflection of “Nightclubbing.”

Sleepyhead - Future Exhibit Goes Here

Sleepyhead - Future Exhibit Goes Here (Drawing Room Records)

13 April 2018

Revisiting Sleepyhead’s tenure on Homestead Records is as much of a trip down memory lane as it is an acid test for just how widely the gumption was spread to the more unknown sects of alternative circles at the time.

Mouse on Mars - Dimensional People

Mouse on Mars - Dimensional People (Thrill Jockey)

11 April 2018

Featuring an array of guest musicians and a wide berth of ideas and styles, MoM’s latest plays out like a series of bite-sized In the Fishtank performances, each touting its own brand of curiosity.

Guided By Voices - Space Gun

Guided By Voices - Space Gun (Rockathon Records)

10 April 2018

GBV’s 25th album ensures that the frequency of their output isn’t due to phoning it in but rather the miracle of dedication.

Preoccupations - New Material

Preoccupations - New Material (Jagjaguwar)

9 April 2018

The complicated time signatures and Matt Flegel’s snarl are still intact on the band’s third LP, yet the lack of a centerpiece may leave fans unsated.

The Messthetics - S/T

The Messthetics - S/T (Dischord Records)

5 April 2018

This debut of a supergroup featuring members of Fugazi gets too caught up in the jamming aspect of band practice.

Mount Eerie - Now Only

Mount Eerie - Now Only (P.W. Elverum & Sun)

23 March 2018

Now Only is a more focused and musically satisfying second chapter in the ongoing chronicle of Geneviève’s postmortem.

Yo La Tengo - There's a Riot Going On

Yo La Tengo - There's a Riot Going On (Matador Records)

15 March 2018

It’s 2018 and there’s a riot going on. As much as they opined, “This is it for all we know,” on last record Fade, it’s still too early to punch in their cards.

Sleepyhead promo photo

Song Premiere: "Go West!" by Sleepyhead

12 March 2018

NYC indie rock veterans Sleepyhead debut a new single from the past, combining blistering drums with pleasantly fuzzed out guitars… and a slide whistle!

Screaming Females - All at Once

Screaming Females - All at Once (Don Giovanni Records)

4 March 2018

All at Once builds on the pop flirtations of their previous record while matching the length and bevy of ideas found on Ugly, marrying the two in a mettlesome, swaggering although humbled ultra-album.

Ought - Room Inside the World

Ought - Room Inside the World (Merge Records)

26 February 2018

On their third album in four years, Ought continue to be one of the most inventive bands of late, operating on the sheer ingenuity of its proprietors.

Superchunk - What a Time to Be Alive

Superchunk - What a Time to Be Alive (Merge Records)

21 February 2018

What a Time to Be Alive is a far more apt address than the one Donald Trump issued in January; it’s a State of the Union of the people, by the people, for the people.

Anna Burch - Quit the Curse

Anna Burch - Quit the Curse (Polyvinyl Records)

2 February 2018

Anna Burch’s solo debut proves that if you plug in a guitar and apply a noticeable amount of reverb somewhere within the process of recording, indie pop can indeed be quickly reduced to something anyone can do.

Half Japanese - Why Not?

Half Japanese - Why Not? (Fire Records)

29 January 2018

Jad Fair remains an overflowing fountain of wide-eyed, childlike poetry and his bandmates all craft the dependable art rock stylings that have become associated with the name over the years. “One word for it: Wow.”

Tune-Yards - I can feel you creep into my private life

Tune-Yards - I can feel you creep into my private life (4AD)

24 January 2018

Our aggressively dystopian present has collided with Tune-Yards, temporarily sapping them of their comedy. However, wit stays safely intact on their latest, and they’ve traded in their jesting aptitude for a beefed up dance engine, destined to get every last woke one of us on the floor.

Chad VanGaalen

Chad VanGaalen

10 January 2018

Chad VanGaalen chats about his new record, balancing the roles of father and bandleader, future artistic aspirations, and why one should never Tarboz themselves.

The Wichita Flag - S/t

The Wichita Flag - The Wichita Flag (Thunder Kick Records)

15 December 2017

The Wichita Flag earns much more than it sets out to achieve, and across its felicitous 15-minute runtime, Les Easterby crafts a clever riposte in the face of blindly homogenized moralism.

The World Palestine - Dik Dik Sounds

The World Palestine - Dik Dik Sounds (Easter Bee Home Recordings)

14 December 2017

The first of Wichita wunderkind Les Easterby’s Black Friday EPs stems from his longstanding World Palestine outfit. It features his wonderfully typical subtle poetry and guitar-centric, asymmetrically divine compositions.

OCS - Memory of a Cut Off Head

OCS - Memory of a Cut Off Head (Castle Face Records)

1 December 2017

For Dwyer and company’s 20th release (and Castle Face’s 100th title overall), they’ve changed the instrumental environs and even tweaked the project name to better resemble their humble beginnings.

Bibio - Phantom Brickworks

Bibio - Phantom Brickworks (Warp Records)

27 November 2017

Stephen Wilkinson’s latest outing as Bibio is over an hour’s worth of ambient music that is sometimes somber, other times uplifting, and always sans-vocals.

Nai Palm - Needle Paw

Nai Palm - Needle Paw (Sony Masterworks)

7 November 2017

Needle Paw fulfills any Hiatus Kaiyote fan’s dream of hearing an MTV Unplugged set from the foursome’s mastermind, accompanied by an autobiographical music diary.

Deradoorian - Eternal Recurrence (anticon.)

6 November 2017

The tortured self-searching gloom Deradoorian applies to this collection of meditative pieces prove too unsettling to be filed under “easy listening.”

Protomartyr - Relatives in Descent

Protomartyr - Relatives in Descent (Domino)

10 October 2017

The Detroit post-punk quartet’s latest LP is largely indistinguishable from its predecessors for the best reasons.

The Clientele - Music for the Age of Miracles

The Clientele - Music for the Age of Miracles (Merge Records)

9 October 2017

The Clientele’s first record in seven years proves that they are still inarguably capable of elegance, but occasionally lapse into obscurity, or even worse, a retreading of old ground, playing into a law of diminishing returns.

Lee Ranaldo - Electric Trim

Lee Ranaldo - Electric Trim (Mute Records)

27 September 2017

Save for a few moments of mastery, Electric Trim is a frustratingly uneven LP from modern guitar curator Lee Ranaldo.

Deerhoof - Mountain Moves

Deerhoof - Mountain Moves (Joyful Noise Recordings)

21 September 2017

If you’re willing – in a profoundly strange but fun way, Mountain Moves is the kind of album America needs now to begin the healing process, if that’s at all feasible.

Chad VanGaalen - Light Information

Chad VanGaalen - Light Information (Sub Pop)

21 September 2017

With his sixth solo outing, VanGaalen mines his haunting production values to yield the same goofy brand of surreal yarns we know him for.

Alvvays - Antisocialites

Alvvays - Antisocialites (Polyvinyl Records)

13 September 2017

Alvvays have raised the stakes, brushing up on the handbook of pop and making the competent, forward-thinking, deceptively saccharine album they’ve been studying for.

Oh Sees - Orc

Oh Sees - Orc (Castle Face Records)

12 September 2017

Following several LP and song names that could double as entries in the Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual, they now fittingly bring us Orc.

Grizzly Bear - Painted Ruins

Grizzly Bear - Painted Ruins (RCA)

23 August 2017

Painted Ruins is such a reversal of Shields’ instant accessibility that although genius, its palette may appear alienating to some. To quote the lyrics of member Daniel Rossen, “It’s chaos but it works.”

Cornelius - Mellow Waves

Cornelius - Mellow Waves (Rostrum Records)

8 August 2017

Just short of 11 years have passed since the last proper full-length from Keigo Oyamada’s Cornelius outfit, and after such a long gap, it’s difficult to determine whether or not his latest effort invokes more than it originates.

Melvins - A Walk with Love and Death

Melvins - A Walk with Love and Death (Ipecac Recordings)

19 July 2017

Melvins’ first ever double LP combines an eerie film score with a record of their traditional song-based (and naturally heavy) standard fare.

Toro Y Moi - Boo Boo

Toro Y Moi - Boo Boo (Carpark Records)

12 July 2017

Chaz Bear’s acuity for pop showmanship hasn’t ditched out on this record, but along with the themes, the compositions sound vastly darker and more contemplative than ever before.

Tim Kinsella - Joan of Arc

Tim Kinsella (Joan of Arc)

7 July 2017

Tim Kinsella talks about his writing process, the decisions that go into the latest iteration of Joan of Arc’s touring setlists, and how being in a band after 20 years is becoming increasingly more manageable.

Spooky Action - Jason Loewenstein

Jason Loewenstein - Spooky Action (Joyful Noise Recordings)

27 June 2017

Like staring at the clock and waiting for your ninth period class to come to an end, Jason Loewenstein’s latest effort is a tight, fast assortment of controlled chaos that rings that bell to set you loose.

Phoenix - Ti Amo

Phoenix - Ti Amo (Glassnote Records)

16 June 2017

Ti Amo is the aural equivalent of a by all means successful – and at times particularly elating – booze cruise.

Amber Coffman - City of No Reply

Amber Coffman - City of No Reply (Columbia)

5 June 2017

Coffman’s debut strips itself of any self-pity, granting universal empathy and a countering effect to the notion that it’s a breakup album and nothing more.

Elf Power - Twitching in Time

Elf Power - Twitching in Time (Orange Twin)

25 May 2017

Now fourteen albums deep, Andrew Rieger, Laura Carter, and company are still endlessly dedicated to crafting power pop via fuzzy, chugging powerhouse or wistful, shimmering acoustic number.

Girlpool - Powerplant

Girlpool - Powerplant (ANTI-)

16 May 2017

Girlpool may have enlarged their sound, but they still possess a nakedness to their performance that is unmistakably their own. If anything, expanding to a full band has strengthened their identity.

Arto Lindsay - Cuidado Madame

Arto Lindsay - Cuidado Madame (Northern Spy)

25 April 2017

Displaying a clamor of ideas and a cavalier misdirect of convention, Lindsay’s first album in 13 years sees his avant garde leanings at their most pronounced yet in his Brazilian influenced work.

Chaz Bundick Meets The Mattson 2 - Star Stuff

Chaz Bundick Meets The Mattson 2 - Star Stuff (Company Records)

17 April 2017

Combining forces with The Mattson 2 has granted Bundick with his most accomplished product to date, and although Bundick prefers to explore new territory rather than retread old digs, we may hope that should he choose to break tradition someday off in the future, he sees fit to return to this psychedelic powerhouse.

Nana Grizol - Ursa Minor

Nana Grizol - Ursa Minor (Orange Twin)

4 April 2017

Nana Grizol return with their first album in seven years without skipping a beat, continuing to craft intimate anthems for those who prefer their romanticism served with a side of reasoning.

Jay Som - Everybody Works

Jay Som - Everybody Works (Polyvinyl Records)

16 March 2017

Jay Som, the project of Oakland musician Melina Duterte, channels her bedroom-produced lovelorn ballads into its first proper LP, proving that headspace and recording space share no correlation.

Brokeback - Illinois River Valley Blues

Brokeback - Illinois River Valley Blues (Thrill Jockey)

2 March 2017

Whether on the move or sedentary, listening to the intensely atmospheric Illinois River Valley Blues will awaken your inner roughneck traveler/wanderer.

Tobin Sprout - The Universe and Me

Tobin Sprout - The Universe and Me (Burger Records)

10 February 2017

In Sprout’s conquest to bridge a semblance of meaning between our youth and its relation to maturity, he may have hit the mark with his greatest accuracy yet.

Joan of Arc - He's Got the Whole This Land Is Your Land in His Hands

Joan of Arc - He's Got the Whole This Land Is Your Land in His Hands (Joyful Noise Recordings)

24 January 2017

Joan of Arc have just turned in what is easily their most “challenging” album since “In Rape Terror and Fantasy Sex We Trust”, but the new direction in sound only serves to entice.