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The Big Takeover Issue #82
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Miriam Waks - Tales from a Room (Self-Released)

22 July 2018

Waks’ commitment to treating her subjects with authenticity gives the entirety of Tales from a Room a legitimacy rare among debuts.

Pitchfork 2018 (Pre-Coverage)

17 July 2018

Pre-coverage for Pitchfork 2018.

Body/Head - The Switch

Body/Head - The Switch (Matador Records)

17 July 2018

The Switch does away with the sterility of Body/Head’s debut and seeks to better represent the group’s live sound.

Jane in Space - Gorerunner (Aion Records)

15 July 2018

It’s only been two years since the debut album of NYC’s Jane in Space was released, but thankfully they haven’t waited too long for a follow up EP.

Maxwell James - Maxwell James (Self-Released)

12 July 2018

Maxwell James manage to pack a wide array of human emotion into a very short release, making it a compelling listen from the beginning.

Ledges - The Sun, The Stars, The Moon, and Me (Self-Released)

10 July 2018

The Sun, The Stars, The Moon, and Me is a dynamic collection with the occasionally brilliant moment, and one is left with a desire for the band to continue to create music in the future under a more unified vision.

Kicklighter - Paper Planes Vol. 1 (Aardvark UK)

10 July 2018

Fans of Kicklighter will be anxiously waiting to see what Young will do with an orchestra, but Paper Planes is a bittersweet finale from an artist who clearly still has so much to give to the world of pop.

Cover art for Meadowsweet from Chatham Rise.

Chatham Rise - Meadowsweet (Picture In My Ear Records)

4 July 2018

“Meadowsweet is a mind-bending and cosmic head trip, immediately dousing your synapses with its dreamy hooks.”

ASG Survive Sunrise album art

ASG – Survive Sunrise (Relapse)

3 July 2018

Self-described psychedelic stoner-punks, ASG return (finally!) with Survive Sunrise. It continues the North Carolina band’s trajectory of excellent, never-boring, energetic music. My only complaint about this band is why do we have to wait five or six years between offerings?

Marty Thompson - Romantic Stories (Self-Released)

2 July 2018

Ultimately, Romantic Stories is richer and far more fulfilling than a mere travelogue.

Tuomas Palonen-Tuomas Palonen

Tuomas Palonen – Tuomas Palonen (Palatsi Finland)

29 June 2018

Aside from his familiar trill, the hushed, homespun folk Helsinki’s pleasantly-voiced Palonen fashions on TP is far removed from his previous outfit Kuparilinna’s punchier, ‘60s-inspired indie pop, surf, and psych-rock.

The Blue Collar Army - Norrland (Ladysnow Society)

28 June 2018
Norrland is a bleak listen to be sure, but it’s sure to find an audience in a European society in the midst of political turmoil.
Various Battleground Korea Bear Family

Various - Battleground Korea: Songs and Sounds of America's Forgotten War 4xCD/BOOK (Bear Family)

27 June 2018

At the end of World War II, the victors, i.e. the USA and USSR, split the territories they’d defeated along ideological lines.

Neko Case - Hell-On (Anti)

27 June 2018

The album’s first great stretch of songs starts with the 3rd track, the lilting ballad “Halls of Sarah,” ending with a vocal hook utilizing Case’s astonishing voice that is destined to get stuck in your head for days afterwards.

Nocturnal Blonde - Smart Heart (Self-Released)

26 June 2018

As the EP is a little ephemeral, it could use some beefing up, but it remains a touching tribute to a cause which deserves far more attention.

Codename: Dustsucker album art

Bark Psychosis - Codename: Dustsucker (Fire Records)

24 June 2018

“This music is unsettling, sparse, elegant, and always engages the listener. Yet, it is never easy listening by any stretch.”

Halfwait - The Official (Self-Released)

23 June 2018

The Official may have been a long time coming, but Halfwait have handsomely rewarded their fans for the wait with an album that encapsulates their entire growth as a band up until this point.

Sebastian O - In Your Room (Self-Released)

22 June 2018

In Your Room is commendable for the risks taken, but hopefully it will be lauded more for the quality of Sebastian O’s songwriting.

Pale Blue Dot - Anatomy (Rockfish Music)

20 June 2018

Many asked what kind of music would come out of the Trump era, and without a doubt Anatomy is an injection of compassion which we so desperately need.

Disaster Relief - S/T (Ravine Records)

19 June 2018

You’d be hard pressed to find many horn sections today finer than the one in Disaster Relief, and this album comes just in time to remedy this summer’s heat wave.

Stacie Rose-Stacie Rose

Stacie Rose – Stacie Rose (Enchanted)

18 June 2018

It’s been five years since New Jersey native Rose’s last album, 2013’s sumptuous Stars, Stripes, and Milestones. But boasting livelier and more luxurious production and arrangements, this self-titled sixth LP outshines it.

Sun on the Square from Innocence Mission

The Innocence Mission - Sun on the Square (Badman Recording Co.)

17 June 2018

“Their songs are full of sensory imagery and deeply felt instrumentation, and it’s their unique way of trying to approach universal joys and sorrows that allows the band to achieve the emotional connection with their listeners that makes them so special.”

Cordova - Runaway Summer (Self-Released)

14 June 2018

In just four songs, Cordova makes a bold statement at a blisteringly fast pace with Runaway Summer, and sets a precedent for their next full-length album, whatever that may be.

In the Light of Led Zeppelin - Pompeii Sessions (Self-Released)

10 June 2018

The covers obviously can’t compare to the originals, but In the Light of Led Zeppelin does a more than commendable job of proving the elasticity of a well-written song and that recording another artist’s work doesn’t have to mean a faithful reproduction.

NEUROTIX - Basement Recordings (Self-Released)

6 June 2018

For an album recorded at a practice space, there is an accomplished aspect to Basement Recordings regardless of its very unpolished state.

James Labrosse - Orange Night (Self-Released)

6 June 2018

By looking back through the history of world and pop music, James Labrosse ends up creating something with Orange Night that is both fresh and exciting.

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.

Album art for Dear 23 by The Posies

The Posies - Dear 23 Reissue (Omnivore Recordings)

3 June 2018

““Golden Blunders” is marvelous ear candy with a memorable main melody and strong lyrics. And the muscle behind the sweetness kicks ass! That’s what power pop is all about really, an amalgam of sweetness and light mashed with hard driving drums and bass, and these guys do it so well!”

Maniac - Dead Dance Club

31 May 2018

Maniac’s Release ‘Dead Dance Club’ Is A Radiant Devotion To Punk Rock

Armonite - And the Stars Above (Cleopatra Records)

28 May 2018

Ultimately, And the Stars Above is music which one can easily put on in the background while carrying on with one’s day, but it also invites close listening and individual interpretation.

The Thirds - Dork Matter (Self-Released)

24 May 2018

Dork Matter isn’t a great leap forward for The Thirds, but it makes the case once again that they are very capable of writing subtly mature pop with a brand of confessional lyricism rare in their scene.

Screamin' Jay Hawkins Are YOU One of Jay's Kids?: The Complete Bizarre Sessions 1990-1994 Manifesto

Screamin' Jay Hawkins - Are YOU One of Jay's Kids?: The Complete Bizarre Sessions 1990-1994 2xCD (Manifesto)

22 May 2018

By the 1990s, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins had been relegated to the annals of obscurity.

Strange Culprits - Strange Culprits (Self-Released)

22 May 2018

Strange Culprits captures a band still finding their footing, but there’s plenty of glimpses of a strong, captivating identity to warrant numerous listens.

Album cover for 7 from Beach House

Beach House - 7 (Sub Pop Records)

20 May 2018

“There really is no mistaking Victoria Legrand’s winsome alto, or the delicate little flourishes the group employs to dress up their sound. Victoria and musical partner Alex Scally have produced a winning collection of songs on what is arguably their best album.”

Bells in New Towns album art from Landing.

Landing - Bells in New Towns (El Paraiso Records)

20 May 2018

“pokes its head through the delay pedal fog and has a renewed focus on song and vocal. There are still some moments for the deep tryypr, but this record ranges from psych fuzz rock mayhem to acoustic fingerpicked whispers.”

James Adkins - Brokedown Free Man Blues (Self-Released)

19 May 2018

Brokedown Free Man Blues is ultimately far more accurate of a self-portrait than anything the artist may have planned.

Aya Maguire - The Sandcastle King (Self-Released)

16 May 2018

Undoubtedly, The Sandcastle King is starved for warmth, but it remains an absolutely fantastic mood piece which is perfect listening for anyone searching for something similar to the way they themselves feel.

Benjamin Dean Wilson - The Smartest Person in the Room (Self-Released)

14 May 2018

The Smartest Person in the Room is an album that should be paid attention to closely, for it’s full of jokes, wisdom, and surprising moments of heart which can fly by unnoticed.

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.

Ghostly Beard - Inward (Self-Released)

10 May 2018

Ultimately, the true identity behind the beard doesn’t really matter, because Inward speaks for itself as a shining, highly original example of the limitless possibilities of pop music.

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.

Melaku - Golden Age (Angellion Records)

7 May 2018

It’ll be interesting to see what the extra songs add to Golden Age, but the EP in its present form is a ready-made, tightly coherent package of unadulterated, artful pop.

Album cover for It Shall Be from Spirit.

Spirit: It Shall Be: The Ode & Epic Recordings 1968-1972 (Esoteric Recordings)

6 May 2018

“In some respects Spirit were too inspirational and eclectic to ever become major stars, because what they were doing danced around the edges of many musical genres, but in doing so they mined a rich and exciting seam of music.”

The Smoking Flowers - "Young & Brave"

30 April 2018

Heart-on-sleeves, hardscrabble troubadours The Smoking Flowers.

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.

Mark Peters - Spirits EP (Audio Heart)

30 April 2018

Stylistically both folksy and jazzy, while Peters’ lyrics are honest and stripped of unnecessary adornments, Spirits is an EP which will attract a wide array of listeners.

Paul Maged - The Glass River (Self-Released)

25 April 2018

It’ll be interesting to see if he will continue this trajectory with an entirely political EP to finish off the trilogy, but the project has already resulted in some of the most potent music in Maged’s career.

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.”

Ryan Hutchens - The Last Ten Years (Self-Released)

23 April 2018

The Last Ten Years is caught somewhere in between a statement of transition and a declaration of maturity, and is arguably Hutchens finest creation yet.