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The Big Takeover #84
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Lord Sonny the Unifier - FINAL NOTICE! (Self-Released)

19 May 2019

FINAL NOTICE! isn’t revolutionary although it calls for revolution, but it’s a perfect listen for any fan of classic ’70s glam rock with a modern twist.

Simon Bonney - PastPresentFuture (Mute)

17 May 2019

What makes Bonney’s work special is his outsider take on Americana. Though his music works with familiar elements – acoustic guitars, violin, steel guitars, folk- and country-derived melodies – it maintains an exotic feel.

Dig Two Graves - Deathwish (Self-Released)

14 May 2019

As the epic seven-minute closer “So Below” proves, the band is full of the desire and innovation necessary to push the boundaries of their genre.

Ashrr - Oscillator (self-released)

13 May 2019

Like an undiscovered artifact of the original new wave days, Oscillator sounds fresh and exciting, including signposts of its era while still coming off as iconoclastic.

StrangeJuice - Raising Cannibals (Self-Released)

12 May 2019

Raising Cannibals is not unlike the work of *The Magnetic Fields*—inextricably attached to the music traditions of the past and yet could only possibly be the product of one singular artist.

Outerfield - Pleasant Grove Hotel (Self-Released)

11 May 2019

For an album that has risen from the ashes, Pleasant Grove Hotel doesn’t sound like it at all and Outerfield have crafted a coherent, strong collection of songs.

Albert Ayler & Don Cherry - Vibrations/Cecil Taylor - Silent Tongues/Art Ensemble of Chicago - Tutankhamun (ORG Music)

10 May 2019

The source of some of the most daring and even intimidating sounds in popular music, free jazz flourished in the sixties thanks to the innovations of Ornette Coleman and the endorsement of John Coltrane, among others. While plenty of classics have stayed in the racks over the decades, there are great records that have also fallen out of print, as with any other genre. Fortunately, ORG Music has begun rescuing many of these gems, reissuing them in new vinyl editions that are facsimiles of the originals.

Brutus - Nest (Hassle/Sargent House)

8 May 2019

With its debut LP Burst, the mighty Brutus exploded out of Belgium two years ago to redefine the term power trio. Now the band returns with its much-anticipated follow-up Nest. To say that the young threesome meets and exceeds its promise is practically an understatement.

Annamay - F*ck You (Self-Released)

4 May 2019

F*ck You_ is both subtle and surprising in its charms, and it bears repeated listening to fully uncover the meanings behind Annamay’s evocative lyrics.

Leon Seti - Cobalt (Self-Released)

3 May 2019

Cobalt has been an immediate success in the electronic charts in his home of Italy, and it certainly is strong enough to possibly be Seti’s breakthrough in the States and internationally.

Ray Charles - Modern Sounds in Country and Western (Concord Records)

1 May 2019

It’s difficult to understate the influence that Ray Charles’ Modern Sounds in Country and Western had upon its initial release during the Civil Rights Movement. This reissue welcomes fresh listening to an acknowledged treasure of American music.

Versal - Versal (Self-Released)

30 April 2019

Versal is a highly accomplished and original statement from an artist who clearly puts his entire soul and personality into his work.

Patrick Ames - All I Do Is Bleed (Self-Released)

29 April 2019

Prior to recording the EP, Ames visited Buenos Aires, and the songs have a strong Latin feel but rather than an opportunistic novelty as is often the case, it’s a natural and respectful incorporation.

Sundogs - Legends In Their Own Minds (Self-Released)

28 April 2019

Legends In Their Own Minds might not be a complete reinvention of Sundogs’ influences, but they created something which could have easily existed in the stacks of vinyl somewhere alongside Led Zeppelin and Eric Clapton.

Alya - Ten Years of Solitude (Self-Released)

27 April 2019

Ten Years of Solitude is a genre-bending, deeply personal one-of-a-kind statement from an artist with as much vision as individuality.

Imperial Wax - Gastwerk Saboteurs (Saustex)

25 April 2019

Guitarist Pete Greenway, bassist Dave Spurr and drummer Keiron Melling – AKA the longest-running version of The Fall – knew they couldn’t just replace Mark E. Smith when he died last year. The Fall without Smith would be a parody of itself. At the same time, the trio had developed a chemistry and rapport that couldn’t just be abandoned. So they did the smart thing: added vocalist/guitarist Sam Curran, reconstituted as Imperial Wax and didn’t even try to sound like their old band.

The Pearlfishers - Love & Other Hopeless Things (Marina)

19 April 2019
On Love & Other Hopeless Things, the band’s eighth album, Scott clearly draws inspiration from the Burt Bacharach/Zombies/Paul McCartney/Laura Nyro side of the pop world, but he doesn’t sound like he’s merely regurgitating bits of his favorite records.

Joan Torres's All Is Fused - Revolution (Self-Released)

12 April 2019

Whether Revolution is a beginning of something new, an ending of the band’s old style, or a transition between the two, it certainly remains Torres’s most finely executed statement yet, and ends with the exciting open question of what will follow.

D.G. Adams - Nest of Vipers (Self-Released)

5 April 2019

Adams proves himself capable of numerous styles here, and Nest of Vipers just might be one of his best albums yet.

Bitter's Kiss - The Divorce Party Soundtrack (Self-Released)

4 April 2019

The Divorce Party is a bit of a hodge-podge of an album, but it also includes some of Bitter’s Kiss’ finest work yet.

American Football - LP3

American Football - LP3 (Polyvinyl Records)

29 March 2019

LP3 excitedly shatters the notion of expectation in American Football, blurring their legacy into a foreign concept.

Matmos - Plastic Anniversary

Matmos - Plastic Anniversary (Thrill Jockey)

15 March 2019

Matmos’s newest effort broadens their toolkit considerably, featuring all things plastic from silicone gel breast implants to PVC pipes.

Kevin Thomas Band - A New Heart (Self-Released)

15 March 2019

A New Heart doesn’t quite live up to the work of Thomas’ influences, but he certainly does a fantastic job following in their footsteps, creating a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Ivor Lane - Postplay (Self-Released)

13 March 2019

Postplay subverts the past, invents the future, and refuses to rest in the present, thus becoming something which stands to become a minor classic in its own right.

Post Death Soundtrack - It Will Come Out Of Nowhere (Self-Released)

8 March 2019

It Will Come Out of Nowhere is the inspired rejuvenation of a band whose vision and voice will always outlast any interpersonal changes.

Daggerplay - Subterranean Reality (Self-Released)

3 March 2019

Subterranean Reality isn’t groundbreaking, revolutionary punk, but nevertheless it’s punk at the highest caliber and of a quality that will even rival the band’s heroes.

Michael Chapman - True North (Paradise of Bachelors)

8 February 2019
At 78, Chapman, in fact, has proven himself as influential as his better-known contemporaries, enjoying a recent reissue campaign and leaving a mark on recent folk rockers like Steve Gunn, Cian Nugent and Ryley Walker.

The J. & F. Band - From The Roots To The Sky (Long Song Records)

7 February 2019

From The Roots To The Sky is a challenging listen to say the least, but the high level of skill from the performers and the hidden depths it conceals also make it one of the most rewarding.

Ralph Alessi - Imaginary Friends (ECM)

6 February 2019

The brassman pulls off a neat trick on this record: being faithful to jazz tradition whilst not falling to the traditionalist trap.

Heather Gruber - Dance Into The Desert (Self-Released)

5 February 2019

Dance Into The Desert is a remarkable debut album which encloses a large amount of craft and attention to detail within a deceivingly modest pop format.

Various Artists - Goosebumps: 25 Years of Marina Records (Marina)

5 February 2019

If it’s folky, vaguely R&Bish, prefers jangle to distortion and vibraphones to reverbed snare, mixes heart-on-sleeve sincerity and arch cleverness, and, above all, remains intensely melodic, it can find a home on Marina.

Jamie Saft/Steve Swallow/Bobby Previte - You Don’t Know the Life (RareNoise)

4 February 2019

Dedicated to improvisation, the keyboardist’s omnivorous tastes and punk rock attitude keep at least one foot outside the tradition at all times.

Chris Lastovicka - Fortune Has Turned Remixed (Ahari Press)

2 February 2019

Few manage to create something that at once feels removed or distant from the composer and yet still retains a high degree of raw emotional honesty.

Anne Steele - Made Out Of Stars (Self-Released)

1 February 2019

Made Out Of Stars occasionally feels like a collection of odds and ends but it’s impossible to complain because the quality of songwriting and execution is just so pitch perfect.

Joe Lovano - Trio Tapestry (ECM)

1 February 2019
For Trio Tapestry, his debut for the venerable label ECM, Lovano enlists pianist Marilyn Crispell and drummer Carmen Castaldi for a more meditative program than we’re used to hearing from him.

BRAVE - the calm | the storm (Self-Released)

30 January 2019

the calm | the storm is a conceptually perfect work from a band at their peak, and proves that no wait is ever too long if the results are this rewarding.

Toro Y Moi - Outer Peace

Toro Y Moi - Outer Peace (Carpark Records)

28 January 2019

Two years after Boo Boo, Chaz has channeled that chill opera’s focus on jadedness and turned it outward into riposte.

Mark Peters and The Dark Band - Sum Of All Parts (Audio Heart Records)

26 January 2019

Sum Of All Parts, with its four songs, should leave fans more than satiated until Mark Peters, with or without The Dark Band, enters the studio again.

Anchor Thieves - The Havoc Siren [Self Released]

21 January 2019

Even with only four songs there is more to the Havoc Siren than on most LPs three times longer. “Solstice” is the climax and brings elements of shoegaze, plodding along, crescendoing before coming down to an abrupt ending which is leading this listener to go and check out the band’s back catalog.

ELO - The UK Singles Vol. One: 1972-1978 (Legacy Recordings)

19 January 2019

The UK Singles Volume One puts a twist on what could have otherwise simply been another greatest hits collection.

Todd Warner Moore - Spark (Self-Released)

19 January 2019

Spark is brimming with as much heart and soul as technical skill, and it must easily rank as one of 2018’s most flawless folk albums.

Damon Mitchell - Elise (Self-Released)

18 January 2019

Elise is a very strong, confident effort from a musician who is still discovering his image, but it shows a remarkable amount of promise.

Badfinger - self-titled, Wish You Were Here (Real Gone)

18 January 2019

Fresh reissues allow listeners to appreciate these overlooked Badfinger albums from 1974 for them for the gems they are.

Divine Weeks - We’re All We Have (self-released)

14 January 2019

Remember when U2 and the Alarm wrote unabashedly uplifting anthems, with simple, catchy guitar hooks, lighter-waving arrangements and lyrics that unironically championed love and joy over hate and gloom? Divine Weeks remembers.

Home Invasion

Steven Wilson - Home Invasion: In Concert at the Royal Albert Hall (Eagle Vision/Universal)

12 January 2019

In contrast with his music’s meticulous prog-rock precision, real-world paranoia, isolation, and gothic gloom, Steven Wilson fills the venerable Royal Albert Hall with thrills, abandon, camaraderie and euphoric spirit.

Adam Rose - Levitate the Base (Self-Released)

7 January 2019
If the title or album artwork are any indication, Rose is strongly influenced by the psychedelic prog rock of King Crimson and early-era Pink Floyd.
R.E.M. at the BBC

REM - REM at the BBC (BBC/Craft)

3 January 2019

“It’s already been seven years since R.E.M. called it a day,” says BBC producer Mark Cooper. “It’s lonely without them.” This pile of well-preserved pop may not stop everybody from hurting as R.E.M.‘s retirement enters its eighth year, but it can coax smiles to temper the loss.

cindygod - demos EP

cindygod - demos (Self-Released)

2 January 2019

Gauntlet Hair has been reborn as cindygod. The change in name and lineup also comes with a revamped industrial and at times chilling demeanor.

Cover art for Brickbat by UK supergroup Piroshka

Piroshka - Brickbat (Bella Union Records)

1 January 2019

Piroshka is a UK supergroup formed from members of Lush (Miki Berenyi), Moose (KJ “Moose” McKillop), Elastica (Justin Welch), and Mick Conroy (Modern English). For those expecting this new group to sound like any of those other groups, think again.”