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A Tale of Two Record Stores

18 June 2013

A brief essay on music sales. Recently I went into two record stores in Denver and had drastically different experiences. It seems that in the wake of the economic downtown, independent music stores and corporate chains have a much different philosophy on their customers and what those customers want.

This Music: Pieces on Heavy Metal, Punk Rock & Hardcore by Lewis Dimmick

8 May 2013

Remember what it was like to be the youngest person at a show, surrounded by people three times your age? With all of those strange tattooed people with their smelly dreadlocks? Lewis Dimmick hasn’t forgotten what that time period was like, and in this book he explores some of his earliest memories of participating in DIY music.

The Feuerzeig Video Covers Project: “Lisa Says” (Velvet Underground, Live, 1969 Version)

7 May 2013

Recently, the filmmaker Jeff Feuerzeig (Half Japanese/The Duded) decided to document some originals & cover songs I have been performing on an acoustic piano in a 1983, ford Econoline. It’s given me an opportunity to turn people on to a version of a Velvet Underground song that tends to get lost in the shuffle.

WGTB Benefit Show: Rites of Spring, Dag Nasty, Embrace and Beefeater

26 April 2013

Audio and commentary from a WGTB Benefit Show held in Washington DC on December 4th 1985, featuring Rites of Spring, Dag Nasty, Embrace and Beefeater.


Black Sabbath - The Lost Acetates and Early Recordings

23 March 2013

In 2003 an anonymous person uploaded the earliest known recordings of Black Sabbath to a file sharing website. The songs, “The Rebel” and “When I Came Down” quickly spread around the Internet. Both of the songs reveal a young and wildly kinetic Black Sabbath. Both are still technically unreleased.

New Rules For Sound Guys

11 March 2013

I’m sure you know that feeling of being totally excited for a show, and then being swiftly disappointed because of just how terribly the sound is handled. Perhaps, it’s because the venue just isn’t that great, but more often than not it’s simply because of the sound guy.

Charlie Chaplin Is Such A Hipster

22 February 2013

Easily the most dangerous contaminant in music journalism today, after sexism, is some need writers have to single out a band with an attention span as short as their own album reviews.

Calvin Johnson Is Totes Adorkable, You Guys

20 February 2013

Can music writers just stop using words like “cute,” “adorable,” or “twee,” to describe a band’s sound already?

When the Sun Hits mourns Danny Lackey

In Memory of Danny Lackey, Co-Founder of When the Sun Hits Blog

5 February 2013

He had the ability to touch the hearts of people all over the world, simply by being himself. He loved deeply both beauty and music; his passion was experiencing both of those simultaneously, whether he was making the music or listening to it.

Laura Jane Grace

Hyper Masculinity in the Punk Scene and the Bravery of Laura Jane Grace

14 May 2012

Tom Gabel announces transition to new identity as Laura Jane Grace

Trying To Stop The Internet (Good Luck!)

9 March 2012

Commit internet piracy 3x and you are banned from the internet


Open Letter To President Privett on The Sale of KUSF by The University of San Francisco

23 January 2011

The sale of KUSF is neither popular nor moral, but rather another cave-in to the trickle-down supply-side economics that crassly support an anti-humanist and anti-religious notion of “science and innovation” at the expense of the liberal arts. Ultimately, it’s not even a sound economic decision for you or the University.

The (Hopefully) Last Exploitation Of Michael Jackson

15 November 2010

On December 14th, Epic Records will be releasing Michael, a collection of 10 songs that had to have been unfinished at the time of the King Of Pop’s death. This is a clear case of “can we” versus “should we”.

Happy New Year

30 January 2010

The song begins, to clapped hands, “Happy new year / my dear / it is time to face our fear”. That’s the line I kept singing, like a mantra. It’s a good alternate New Year’s theme, I think – welcome to a new, fearless year.

Jack Rose, 1971-2009

7 December 2009

Jack, you left this world far too early.

Found Music in Newfoundland

4 September 2009

A trip up north goes far in introducing new music.

Telepathe: A Different Sort of Minimal Synth

5 August 2009

A colorful Brooklyn duo with equal parts hip hop and synthpop apparent in their spartan beats are still very much of the moniker, ‘minimal synth’.

Her Virgins

10 July 2009

For an ambitious, up-and-coming outfit, New York City’s Her Virgins are a typical anomaly, fusing dark pop with a glam aesthetic that runs the gamut from Clockwork Orange to rivethead chic.

Remembering the Greatest Speech in Baseball History

4 July 2009

“Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth.”

Slanted & Enchanted: Not The Album But The Book(Exclusive Video Interview with author Kaya Oakes))

10 June 2009

So Slanted & Enchanted is not exactly “A tragedy of epic proportions!” More of a problem comedy—too realistic to offer the patriarchal cathartic moneyshot. Or, as Kathleen Hanna puts the wait for the Next Big Indie Thing—“It’s almost like this pregnancy where the baby never gets born. I feel like it’s been as if ‘The baby’s coming! The baby’s coming! And it’s five years later. And the woman weights three hundred pounds…and is not having the kid.”

SanFran Music Tech Summit (May 18, 2009)

22 May 2009

There’s a growing movement to re-establish connections between the fractalized digital technology and the already established local music scenes. There’s many more money making opportunities if these connections are seen more clearly as a two-way street, especially as the recording and distribution industries have made severe cuts in their ‘regional offices’ (or more autonomous locally-run subsidiaries) in recent years.

Three SF Bay Area Radio DeeJays

1 May 2009

I think once having the internet in your car is a normal thing, FM stations will suffer heavily, escpeially if commercial free stations such as Soma FM still exist. I’m pretty sure that college stations will continue to broadcast on line and perhaps having these online station options available in cars will finally pull some of the stranglehold away from Clearchannel….Who knows, it might be just what the music industry needs to recover from this current dire situation it has fallen into.” (Elise Nordling)

The Unheard Recordings by San Francisco's Bomb

5 April 2009

Frontman/bassist Michael W. Dean has made Bomb’s rarest recordings available for free from Bomb’s official website.


4 April 2009

Montreal’s Xavier Paradis may have the French connection, but is actually a forerunner in the distinctly North American movement of minimal synth that has been seething below the surface since the 1990’s.

Food, Inc. (PG)

1 April 2009

Food, Inc. is powerful enough to be to the local/organic/sustainable food movement what An Inconvenient Truth was to concern about global warming.

Something Wicked This Way Comes: New York City’s New Dark Sisterhood

23 March 2009

Destiny, Tamaryn, Zohra, Anastasia: New York City’s rising coven of seductive sirens, ladies of the new church of post-apocalyptic song.

Gold Among the Blogs Part 2: The Cows, The Dicks and Vom

22 March 2009

Joe Stumble’s Last Days of Man on Earth blog contains some real treasures while retaining a respect for the artists and their music.

Happy Birthday Charles Gayle

28 February 2009

Here are six of my favorite Gayle albums. Most are imports, out of print, poorly distributed, or combinations of those states, but a look at Amazon shows that they can be found.

Gold Among the Blogs Part 1: SGM's Aggression

20 January 2009

After 18 years, I’ve finally found the album that changed my concept of music forever.

It's a Dream Come True: Killed By Death Is Online!

21 December 2008

The Nuggets of punk rock is better than ever in its expanded online format.

Exploring the Virtual Realms of Shadowrun and Spaceflight

16 November 2008

Shadowrun is a gritty, cyberpunk epic, while Starflight is an otherworldy space opera.

Shut Up Tim McCarver

23 October 2008

Why I’m not enjoying the World Series as much as I could be.

The Astounding Science Fiction Radio of X Minus One

18 October 2008

A science fiction radio show from the 1950’s remains as fascinating as it must have been when it first aired.

Guest Review: Maps and Atlases and mewithoutYou live / / Listen to Big Takeover on! / Don't Forget the New Issue!

7 August 2008

The loss of long-time member and impressive guitarist Christopher Kleinberg has not slowed mewithoutYou down at all. In attempts to end the show on time, they simply pulled their shirts over their faces while the crowd screamed for one more song. They finished with the highly energetic “January 1979” and ended with a new one called “God, God, God.” / Just a reminder, too, if you haven’t listened in yet, my radio show for successfully launched, and again, here’s a good chance to hear a good bit of what I/we have been writing about in our issues these last 28 years.

Guest Review: Maps and Atlases and mewithoutYou live / Listen to Big Takeover on! / Don't Forget the New Issue!

7 August 2008

The loss of long-time member and impressive guitarist Christopher Kleinberg has not slowed mewithoutYou down at all. In attempts to end the show on time, they simply pulled their shirts over their faces while the crowd screamed for one more song. They finished with the highly energetic “January 1979” and ended with a new one called “God, God, God.” / Just a reminder, too, if you haven’t listened in yet, my radio show for successfully launched, and again, here’s a good chance to hear a good bit of what I/we have been writing about in our issues these last 28 years.

Thriving on Teenage Nostalgia with a Sega Emulator

27 July 2008

A recent trip to LA rekindled my love of Sega games. Now I’m playing those games on my PC.


22 July 2008

Since they haven’t played the East Coast in two decades, needless to say I am really excited to get another chance to see the fantastic Chicago punk/post-punk rock band The Effigies this weekend. They play D.C. on Thursday, and New York on Friday and Saturday, and if you’re not in the East Coast, they’re live on the radio on Saturday!

Big Takeover (Radio) on launches! / R.E.M. website lauds Big T / U.K. Rough Trade Legends - Band Of Holy Joy (and Society of Imaginary Friends) – First U.S. Performances / Big Takeover #62 Out Now, and in the Stores! Selected Quotes

10 June 2008

In the new issue #62, I promised to let you know when my radio show for launched, so let me do that now since it launched at noon yesterday. Here’s a good chance to hear a good bit of what I/we have been writing about in our issues these last 28 years ** In other news, we are proud to note that none other than R.E.M. has seen fit to run an excerpt of our current issue 62 cover story on them on their website, and also included some highly flattering and appreciated remarks (“inimitable, must-read!!!!!!!”) on the quality of our publication. ** Over the past 25 years, Band of Holy Joy have put out several LPs on Rough Trade Records and have earned the reputation of being one of the UK’s top underground live acts. These are the band’s first-ever American tour dates and they and have cut a self-released seven-song EP that will be for sale only at these shows to mark the occasion. ** Reminder: Big Takeover #62 with R.E.M. on the cover is on the stands! Look for it in your favorite store near you that carries good music magazines!

Does Barack Obama Have Anything To Do With The State Of The U.S. Music Biz?

9 June 2008

So the baby boomers are trying to put it into the 1960s paradigm map again. BEWARE THESE BABY BOOMERS!! This is my shtick. Yeah, we need the baby boomers, and Hillary Clinton supporters. They still have a huge demographic—but it’s been about them them them for so long—-I think that might explain some of the pent up resentment, or sheer catharsis of “Generation X-ish” (a generation that never really had the demographic numbers by itself), and the under 30 *MARK RISTAINO” (MUSIC FOR AMERICA) crowd—-who, now, finally had a way to speak, and be heard, not just by the older people, but BY EACH OTHER.

Final Night Guest Review From Noise Pop Festival by Jerry Connolly: Old Chicago Punk Movie, British Sea Power, and More!

30 April 2008

A film that I’ve been dying to see since the trailer showed up on Youtube last year: You Weren’t There: A History of Chicago Punk 1977-1984. Clubs like Oz and O’Banions stayed just one step ahead of the law (thanks in part to likely payoffs to the man) and managed to host many classic shows by the likes of The Effigies, Naked Raygun, and Strike Under. The live footage shown was just stunning: The Effigies at OZ in all their boots-and-braces glory, for instance. Early incarnations of Naked Raygun playing loft parties!!!! Amazing stuff. I can’t say enough about how good this film is and it how it succeeds on so many levels. A must see…

PJ Harvey III (of III)

23 March 2008

Ultimately, this groundbreaking song (which is nonetheless deeply rooted in traditions) helps rewrite the mystery of love (and the more than love that is really part of love).

NEW YORKERS (and Grand Rapids and later Philadelphia): Go see ASTRID WILLIAMSON live this week! Rare chance!!! / NOISE POP, SAN FRANCISCO, NIGHT 3, FEBRUARY 29 BY JERRY CONNOLLY

9 March 2008

Scottish born, English artist ASTRID WILLIAMSON is a longtime favorite of The Big Takeover, and she rarely plays in the U.S. This week brings three chances to catch her awesome set of pipes (two gigs in New York, both of them free admission, as well as Grand Rapids, with one in Philly a few months later) / “Day three of Noise Pop (day two for me, as I missed out on Thursday’s debauchery with a headache, alas), has me biking to Bottom of the Hill (BOTH) in the Portrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. BOTH has been my frequent destination for live music over the 11 years I have lived in The City, and I could get here with my eyes shut. The mid-size club (capacity being 300) has great sound and a decent layout. And I can’t help but feel very comfortable as I walk through to door at 9:00 sharp. I’m here to see VEIL VEIL VARNISH, WHITE DENIM, A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS, and HOLY F**.”


3 March 2008

OK, so it’s not on par with SXSW but maybe it’s not trying to be. The overall feel is less an obvious industry love fest and more of an event where a fan can enjoy an evening without fear of being kept out of a show by industry snobs filling the room with their hot air and BO, or run over by the truck dispensing free ginseng energy drinks. Noise Pop seemingly caters to the actual music lover, and in this writer’s eyes that’s the way it should be. This fan-centric attitude can only come from the top, and by that I mean KEVIN ARNOLD, its founder and passionate supporter of independent music. To say that he has done a service to the independent music community is the understatement of the decade. Thanks Kevin.

New Blogger in Town: Downloading Free, Legal MP3's from the Internet Underground

20 February 2008

The new guy is on a mission to explore websites where users can upload/download music and tell you about some undiscovered, unsigned talent whose music is floating in the cybernetic ether of the internet.

You Exhibitionist!: PJ Harvey's "Sheela Na Gig" 15 Years Later [Part II]

5 February 2008

In Harvey’s “Sheela-Na-Gig,” the sound of the polysyllabic proper (even clinical) word “exhibitionist” becomes more obscene (and stings more) than any rapper’s use of the word “hoe” or “skeezer.”

Hard to Spin Dreary News on Compact Disc Sales

26 January 2008

Last year, U.S. compact disc sales plunged by 19%. With the consumer today facing pressure from all sides, chances are that 2008 will be even worse.