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Big Takeover to sponsor New York gig Sat. Feb. 7, with The New Lines, Jet Black, Soft Science, and Pale Lights

15 January 2015

The Big Takeover is proud to announce that as part of our special 35th anniversary year we are sponsoring a show in New York next month, on Saturday February 7, at Manhattan’s Cake Shop!

The show features four, count ’em four, truly exciting yet often somewhat dreamy-sounding up and comers we love, two from Brooklyn, The New Lines and Pale Lights one from Quebec, Jet Black (only U.S. appearance), and one all the way from Sacramento, CA, Soft Science (only East Coast appearance)—all of whom have featured prominently in two most recent issues peppering my Top 40 pick sections. Needless to say, this is a special bill for me/us, not to be repeated, and it being a Saturday night, we hope you all can come and cheer on and enjoy these fine groups, all of whom are supremely melodic to go with their four different takes on being edgy yet with ethereal qualities, and they range from the sublimely sweet to the highly aggressive!

The tickets are only $8 (a super bargain at $2 a band, and they’re all greatly worth seeing, so come early!) doors are at 8PM for this 21-and-over event, and should start promptly. I plan to MC the show myself, so I will be glad to see you there! And here’s the order, with all four bands’ bandcamp pages so you can hear their music in advance:

first up: Pale Lights (Brooklyn; Pale Lights bandcamp)
second up: Soft Science (Sacramento; Soft Science bandcamp)
third up: Jet Black (Quebec; Jet Black bandcamp)
last up: The New Lines (Brooklyn; The New Lines bandcamp)

Cake Shop NYC
152 Ludlow St., New York, NY 10002
(212) 253-0036
Directions: J, M, Z or F to Delancey. Exit on the North side of Delancey at Essex. Walk north on Essex to Rivington. Left on Rivington. Right on Ludlow. Cake Shop will be on your right.

Please do come! It would be great to see you all. And here are my most recent reviews of all four bands’s most recent releases in issues 74 and 75 over the last eight months to give you an idea what you might get if you do! And happy new year, everyone! — Jack Rabid

Pale Lights
Before There Were Pictures
(Calico Cat)
A reviewer should tell you this Brooklyn four is led by guitarist/ex-drummer Philip Sutton, of Comet Gain, Cinema Red and Blue, and The Soft City, and lead guitarist Andrew Adler of Crystal Stilts. But together with festive femmes drummer/harmonizer Lisa Goldstein and bassist Maria Pace, such semi-prominent association dissolves, revealing ethereal jangle-pop par excellence to savor. Ably aided by Ladybug Transistor maven Gary Olson’s fragrant production, the debut Before (following a 2012 EP) tickles every Velvets-influenced past great, particularly Flying Nun and Postcard label legends. Sutton’s romantic young Jim Kerr croons cover perky, thorny guitar parts with all the pristinely prickly poetic character of Black Watch, Go-Betweens, and Orange Juice, only with the ambiance of The Chills, Abel Tasmans, and Bats. Indeed, after nine of-a-piece winners, the closing “The Night Tells No Lies” cleverly crosses two Martin Phillipps’ Chills classics, “Male Monster From the Id” and “Dan Destiny and the Silver Dawn.” That’s high praise, son. —Jack Rabid, current issue 75 (

Soft Science
(Test Pattern)
Was the “detour” in question that life/families/children made it nigh impossible for Soft Science to continue, let alone follow up their 2011 debut, Highs and Lows? Whatever, the Sacramento four are really feeling it (see the standout “Feel”) on this outstanding, belated successor: the hunger and drive in this classic indie pop dreampop, a massive treat for Ride and Lush fans (i.e. the harder hitting, big beat side of shoegaze), is palpable. Pretty Katie Haley—a modern Miki Berenyi or Rachel Goswell—has a fantastic, sighing-breathy voice, while twins Matt Levine (guitar) and label head Ross Levine (drums) and bassist Mason DeMusey are right behind her in fulfilling this lush (yes), smoldering, gorgeous sound. Alan McGee and Ivo Watts-Russell would’ve signed this band in a heartbeat, hearing the celestial guitars and booming rhythm section on “Gone,” let alone Haley’s seductive, salubrious singing. Nothing soft about this science; Detour is just wonderful. — Jack Rabid, issue 74 (

Jet Black
In Paradox
(Jet Black)
Three years after their punishing debut, Escape Measures, co-ed Quebec foursome Jet Black “paradoxically” hit even harder on this even-better sequel. Paradox is so ruthlessly beautiful— its nasty, precise, ear-popping riffs so heavy yet quick-firing—it might as well club anyone who whispers “sophomore slump.” My review of Escape mentioned Swervedriver’s 1992 bomb Mescal Head, and Paradox reaches that rarified standard with similar ruling force: Leader Philippe St-Laurent holds his elongated vowel hooks like a vocal glider plane; Francis Berthelot’s guitars chime, churn, and pick as much as lash, like Leatherface’s Dickie Hammond; Stephanie Vezina plays bass like teeth-gritting, grinding strings to dust; and Jean-Philippe Laforge’s open hi-hat and crash cymbal destructions burst like firecrackers. And beyond such quicker killers as “Deep Space,” “Running in Circles” “Blank Note,” and “Star Cluster,” their slow-down tracks are as crushing—more like Ride. Never mind that venerable four-decade Stranglers’ drummer—this is the Jet Black you need. Bad. — Jack Rabid current issue 75 (

Sansyou + The New Lines
Gowanus Canal Field Inspection
(Moon Sounds)
This collaboration is accidental and attractive. The hookup makes sense: Lanterna-like D.C. instrumentalists Sansyou combine with Brooklyn’s New Lines, whose excellent 2013 LP Fall in Line sounded like The House of Love’s cover of The Chills’ “Pink Frost.” (Don’t miss the ghostly “Burning Bridges.”). Sansyou guitarist David Nicholas visited Gowanus Canal, three blocks from my home (until 1867 Gowanus Creek, an oyster-rich tidal inlet navigated by explorers Henry Hudson and Giovanni da Verrazzano and a critical 1776 American Revolution battle site). It’s one of America’s most contaminated, stinky waterways from a century of petrochemical PAHs, VOCs and PCBs. A Superfund cleanup is commencing, however, and Nicholas emerged optimistic instead of disheartened. He offhandedly mentioned this to The New Lines’ Hewson Chen, who composed a tune, to which Sansyou added tickling guitars and drums. Let’s hope their optimism proves warranted; whatever, this lithely poppy track is a gem. And great to hear Sansyou with vocals! — Jack Rabid, current issue 75 (