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The Big Takeover #79
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Big Takeover (Radio) on BreakthruRadio.com 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 BreakthruRadio.com 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**.”

NOISE POP, SAN FRANCISCO, NIGHT 1, FEBRUARY 27 BY JERRY CONNOLLY; R.I.P. MIKE CONLEY, SINGER OF '80s PUNK BAND M.I.A.

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.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Bruce Springsteen

20 January 2008

The energy, enthusiasm and the overall rapturous joy of the both the musicians and the audience was just contagious. This was my Eureka moment!

Special Issue 61 Bonus Reviews!: Keren Ann, Condors, Feist, Raspberries, Rotary Club, Shack, Soul Asylum, and Factory Records' Complete Graphic Album Book / Our Condolences to Two of our Own / New Issue of Big Takeover

13 January 2008

The five reviews of mine included here did not appear in issue 61 of The Big Takeover, because I frankly ran out of time in my seemingly endless writing job to do them in time before the issue had to be closed and sent off to the printer. But they all deserved better and I am glad to print them here rather than making you all wait several more months to read them in issue 62. Likewise, the other three, written by three of our other talented and valuable writers, did not appear in 61 for other reasons explained herein.

WEA Is Shameless

8 January 2008

It’s only January, but already we’ve got our first example of major label greed running out of control. Nonesuch, a division of WEA, has issued two versions of the soundtrack to Tim Burton’s film of Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, starring Johnny Depp in an adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s musical of the same name. Consumers – and retailers – have an unpleasant choice to make.

R.I.P. Evan Farrell, ex-Rogue Wave (and Oscar Peterson, too) / Two new books of note I am quoted in / Happy New Year! / New Issue of Big Takeover

27 December 2007

I am stunned and saddened to hear that another death has befallen the Rogue Wave folks.

Fix Tape Exchange

30 November 2007

On the first Sunday of every month, Sound Fix Lounge behind the record store has a mix exchange. Here’s my mix for the December 2 exchange: “The Saddest Songs in the World.”

Radiohead and the Rule of Reciprocity

3 November 2007

With its name-your-price approach, Radiohead made people feel that they owed the group something and that indebtedness, however manifested, only led to better buzz and more goodwill.

Bob Lefsetz's mug

Why I Both Love and Loathe The Musings of Bob Lefsetz

29 October 2007

However, what really irks me about him is his distaste for anything he perceives as non-mainstream.

JACK RABID's PIECES ON JOHNNY ROTTEN AND L.A./S.F 1977 PUNK STARS IN CURRENT ISSUE OF SPIN MAGAZINE!

5 October 2007

The current October issue of Spin, dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the 1977 punk rock explosion, has not one but two pieces from me. One is what turned out to be the cover story (that was a shock!), a long and funny interview with Johnny Rotten, where he sounds off on his old days in The Sex Pistols and the other bands around back then, and what he’s been doing since (like swimming with sharks, battling bugs, and appeasing apes). The other is a roundtable discussion with six of the leading lights of the San Francisco and L.A. 1977 punk scenes, along with two more from London, The Avengers’ Penelope Houston and Jimmy Wilsey, X’s Billy Zoom, The Weirdos’ Dix Denney, The Dils’ Chip Kinman, The Germs’ Don Bolles, and The Slits’ Ari Up and Tessa Pollitt. It’s a great issue! No kidding! Others interview a slew of other 1977 folks from England and New York. Check it out!

The Sins of Pitchfork #1

8 September 2007

Shouldn’t music critics know something about, you know, music?

Band Name Autopsy

3 September 2007

In the future, will we increasingly see names like When People Were Shorter and Lived Near the Water and Bad Mutha Goose and the Brothers Grimm?

Delayed News: Help John Stabb – It Could Be You / Rabid punk interviews in October issue of Spin -- Advertise in Big Takeover fall issue!

26 August 2007

Five or six teenaged thugs beat him senseless on a Maryland street near his home, causing three facial fractures, two broken bones, and a broken nose which required four-and-a-half hours of surgery to repair, requiring the insertion of five metal plates in his face and braces for his teeth. Ouch. Needless to say, a liquid diet ensued. Please help with his expenses!

Tokyo Gothic: Blood and...Butterflies?

9 August 2007

After a month of exploring the shadowy eaves of Tokyo’s ‘goth’ scene, one omnipresent icon of the dark and otherwordly came forward. It was…the butterfly?!

Universal Is Shameless

21 July 2007

How did Universal Music Group celebrate the 40th anniversary of the July 17, 1967 death of John Coltrane? By continuing to milk his catalog for all it’s worth.

Is This Thing On?

11 July 2007

Just a Cliff’s Notes attempt at who I am, and why I’m here.

Time Enough at Last?

10 July 2007

Content creators will have an increasingly tough time attracting a large audience as people find themselves with ever more options and ever less free time.

The Ruts to Reunite (with Henry Rollins); Jake Burns (SLF) to Auction Guitar to Benefit Gravely Ill Ruts Guitarist Paul Fox and Cancer Research / Issue 60 of The Big Takeover out with The Shins cover

27 June 2007

The truly sad news from England is that longtime friend of the magazine Paul Fox, guitarist for London’s absolutely incredible Ruts (later they became the equally fabulous Ruts D.C.) has inoperable lung cancer. Accordingly, the band, broken up since 1982, is going to do an extremely rare reunion show as a benefit for both the stricken Fox and Cancer Research… with special guest vocalist Henry Rollins.

My Music Collection Has Become a Forest

20 June 2007

I’m feeling this growing desire for a map. It sounds ridiculous, really, but I’ve started the Sisyphus-like task of documenting every piece of music I own.

Vision Festival 12 schedule

16 June 2007

Every year, this artist-curated avant-garde jazz festival offers the greatest concentration of outstanding performances in New York.

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

12 June 2007

If “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is analogous to “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” “Sheela Na Gig” is more like THE KINKS’s “You Really Got Me” while PEARL JAM and the others would be more like THE DAVE CLARK FIVE or HERMAN’s HERMITS.

More Info, and Tons of Juicy Quotes, From the Current Big Takeover Issue 60, in stores now! (Why not subscribe?)

5 June 2007

Included here is a more in depth description of the new issue 60’s contents than I have given you in previous posts, with juicy quotes to tempt you!! Such as: “Living in Portland, maybe I might have a perverse view of what’s going on in pop culture. But it seems like people generally are seeking out authenticity in all realms of their lives. Wanting to buy older houses and fix them up, instead of buying **** stuff in the suburbs. Even food choices; the restaurants have better quality local produce. There seems to be this desire for this authenticity that’s growing. Maybe we’re part of that?”—James Mercer, The Shins, our cover story!

The Real (Punk) School of Rock! / New Big Takeover #60 (Shins cover) now shipping!; Good Time to Subscribe/Renew/Update Address / New Rabid Interview still online at Trakmarx.com

22 May 2007

“Never mind Jack Black and the so-called School of Rock now playing NYC clubs! The Non-Linear Thinkers are a group of inner-city teens from a Newark, NJ, high school, who have taken a crash course in punk and post-punk taught by their Latin teacher.” And they’re playing eight days from now in Brooklyn. Be there! / Big Takeover #60 with The Shins on the cover was completed in San Francisco in April and has already started shipping, so you should see it quite soon, possibly already! Included herein is a quick reminder of its contents.

New Big Takeover #60 (Shins cover) at Printers; Good Time to Subscribe/Renew/Update Address / New Rabid Interview online at Trakmarx.com

9 May 2007

Never mind Jack Black and the so-called School of Rock now playing NYC clubs! The Non-Linear Thinkers are a group of inner-city teens from a Newark, NJ, high school, who have taken a crash course in punk and post-punk taught by their Latin teacher. And they’re playing eight days from now in Brooklyn. Be there! / Big Takeover #60 with The Shins on the cover was completed in San Francisco in April and has already started shipping, so you should see it quite soon, possibly already! Included herein is a quick reminder of its contents.

Bill Callahan - Woke on a Whaleheart (Drag City)

27 April 2007

Smog mastermind Bill Callahan puts his name on this album for a reason. You can tell who it is, no question about that, but it doesn’t sound like Smog.

PART 2 of 2: 2006: NEIL YOUNG/CSN&Y PRESAGES THE ELECTION, THE DECEMBERISTS, AND OPTIMISM AT LAST

15 April 2007

I can hardly wait for their next tour, album, interview, album artwork, and poster… Heck I might just buy a Decemberists lunchbox at this rate, to my eternal mortification. I hope they never break up, and that Meloy’s new responsibilities as a (touring) parent never prove too daunting to keep up the frantic and incredible pace of his pen. They made 2006 so very bright for me and for so very many others, and I’m grateful to them for it.

Guest SXSW Blog by Michael B. Ackerman: Part IV

5 April 2007

In the end, this South by Southwest, like every other I’ve attended, was a music lover’s paradise. There is plenty to enjoy for any music fan in any and every genre, although this year there might have been a bit too much. There were at least a dozen more bands I wanted to see but didn’t get to; but that’s part of the South by Southwest experience too. Each day you make a schedule and hope you get to all of it, but you never do. Nevertheless, I’ve only met one or two people in all my years of attendance who didn’t enjoy it.

GUEST SXSW BLOG BY MICHAEL B. ACKERMAN PART 2 (OOPS, ACTUALLY DAY 1!) / LAST CHANCE: JACK RABID's PIECE ON IGGY POP IN CURRENT SPIN MAGAZINE

26 March 2007

This is my sixteenth trip to Austin for South by Southwest. Sure it’s changed but the one thing that has not changed is the level of talent is consistently good. And so I reviewed the schedule when it was released and found a great deal to see. Because the registrant’s badge entitles the holder to entry at any club, the options available are so numerous it’s daunting. But basically the shows break down into three categories for me: 1) those whom I have seen and would like to see again (favorites); 2) those whom I have not seen but would like to see (known quantities); and 3) new artists whom I have not seen and not heard of before (generally on the advice of friends or acquaintances). / As I noted in my last two blogs, I have a piece on the immortal and apparently ageless Iggy Pop, primarily on his days with The Stooges, in the current March issue of Spin Magazine (with FALL OUT BOY on the cover). This would likely be your last week to buy it if you want it, at least on the stands, as the March issue will be arriving thereafter to knock it off.

GUEST SXSW BLOG BY MICHAEL B. ACKERMAN PART 2 (OOPS, ACTUALLY DAY 1!) / LAST CHANCE: JACK RABID's PIECE ON IGGY POP IN CURRENT SPIN MAGAZINE

26 March 2007

“This is my sixteenth trip to Austin for South by Southwest. Sure it’s changed but the one thing that has not changed is the level of talent is consistently good. And so I reviewed the schedule when it was released and found a great deal to see. Because the registrant’s badge entitles the holder to entry at any club, the options available are so numerous it’s daunting. But basically the shows break down into three categories for me: 1) those whom I have seen and would like to see again (favorites); 2) those whom I have not seen but would like to see (known quantities); and 3) new artists whom I have not seen and not heard of before (generally on the advice of friends or acquaintances).” / As I noted in my last two blogs, I have a piece on the immortal and apparently ageless Iggy Pop, primarily on his days with The Stooges, in the current March issue of Spin Magazine (with FALL OUT BOY on the cover). This would likely be your last week to buy it if you want it, at least on the stands, as the March issue will be arriving thereafter to knock it off.

iPodding in Tokyo

25 March 2007

Some of the stuff I saw in Akihabara made me wonder what else might be out there…

15 Overrated Albums

24 March 2007

Time to dropkick the hornet’s nest.

LAST CHANCE: JACK RABID's PIECE ON IGGY POP IN CURRENT SPIN MAGAZINE / GUEST SXSW BLOG BY MICHAEL ACKERMAN PART 1

22 March 2007

As I noted in my last blog, I have a piece on the immortal and apparently ageless Iggy Pop, primarily on his days with The Stooges, in the current March issue of Spin Magazine (with FALL OUT BOY on the cover). This would likely be your last week to buy it if you want it, at least on the stands, as the March issue will be arriving thereafter to knock it off. / The often-raised question “Has South by Southwest jumped the shark?” reared its head big-time for me today. Over the past ten years or so the Conference has grown in the number of registrants, venues and the number of artists who play. But when so many venues are at full capacity on Thursday night (in previous years this would only happen on Saturday night), then I would say that perhaps the conference has sold too many badges and wristbands. Clearly the venues cannot accommodate all those who want to see the bigger name acts, but the conference planners should have contemplated this from the start.

Feel Free to Sing Me Down If You Find This "Message Music" Too Heavy Handed

19 March 2007

And the old guys took more risks back then
Than most people your age they let win
So you’re tempted to side with the old
If there wasn’t this thing that you hold

Don’t walk, take bus, leave drive, to us
Sit in Back Seat and Google ROSA PARKS

JACK RABID's PIECE ON IGGY POP IN CURRENT SPIN MAGAZINE / 2006: NEIL YOUNG/CSN&Y PRESAGES THE ELECTION, THE DECEMBERISTS, AND OPTIMISM AT LAST

11 March 2007

For those interested, I have a piece on the immortal and apparently ageless Iggy Pop, primarily on his days with The Stooges, in the current March issue of Spin Magazine (with Fall Out Boy on the cover). / After spending the whole of my comments last year complaining that I hadn’t heard a record that I loved that spoke for the times (I had to settle for Kanye West’s welcome tirade on the NBC Red Cross fundraiser), I felt galvanized and utterly inspired by Neil Young’s no holds barred protest record. Not bad for an old geezer. And then, like a one-two punch, CSN&Y’s accompanying tour, which both pushed that LP to the forefront and also tied into all their old Vietnam-era protest songs, proved a valuable reminder that musicians have been speaking up for a long time and should still be! Amen!

The Compressed Digital Blues

28 February 2007
by

Will there be a change in how we manage our music in 2007? A few thoughts on the continuing evolution of recorded music beyond the confines of Compact Disc.

"Other Stuff" with Heart

21 February 2007
by

Hello. I’m going to be an “other stuff” guy here at BigTakeover.com.

15 Underrated Albums

13 February 2007

What albums do you think deserve more credit? The Cavedogs, Readymade and the Godfathers make my list.

Pazz and Jop Poll Quotes Jack Rabid / Guest Essay: Tired of Jim Morrison Worship?

10 February 2007

I am pleased to note that the Village Voice’s annual Pazz and Jop music critic’s poll has used two quotes from my piece on the Year in Music 2006 in their cover story this week. / “Jim Morrison was supposed to be a great poet, though none of us read poetry and would have hated it if we’d been forced to. Still, his literary reputation had the convenient effect of giving Morrison’s expressions an irrefragable claim to high merit, like the work of a Nobel laureate. The upshot of all of this was that Morrison became the hero of a bunch of small town teenagers who, naturally, got it all ass-backwards. I can’t break the connection in my head between Jim Morrison and the highly ironic movement of teen conformity that his life inspired.”

Ooh...Long Time No Hear!

1 February 2007

Isn’t a key part of the absolute joy of music – one reason we all obsess so much – this pleasure in that moment of recognition, and in getting to know the song itself that well in the first place?

What Can Brown Do For You?: The “Heresy” of Negative Capability in James Brown’s “I’ll Go Crazy"

31 January 2007

“I’ll Go Crazy” is as good of a place to start talking about the greatness of JAMES BROWN as any.

A Tale of Two Halls of Fame

19 January 2007

The rock industry’s power players love to peddle iconography associated with freedom, rebellion and anti-establishment thinking but when it comes to selecting members for its hall of fame, cloak-and-dagger machinations rule the day.

Excerpt from Songwriter's Notebook (12/31/06)

4 January 2007

I’m also often amazed that it’s so rare that I ever see someone singing outdoors, or at their jobs, yea’ e’en in the marketplace! But it’s great when it happens, even if it’s only a cover version, or even if the person sings out of tune. Hell, I used to do when I was 12 years old while I delivered newspapers! Not as much lately, even before the accident, but why? Because I had become the professional, honing those raw simple a cappella melodies into well-crafted songs

My 10 Favorite Albums of 2006 [version]

27 December 2006

It’s impossible for me to say definitively what are the 10 most important albums of the year, or even my 10 favorites, without continuing to think “what about this other one?” Here, then, is another Best of 2006 top 10 albums list, one reflecting my thinking today as far as my favorite albums of the past year.