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The Big Takeover Issue #82
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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.

Spring Awakening 2018

11 June 2018

A rundown of Chicago’s beginning to festival season – Spring Awakening 2018.

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!”

The Trashcan Sinatras - Highline Ballroom (New York) - May 30th, 2018

1 June 2018

Songs that sound like whimpers on the original Lp like “Even the Odd” and closer “January’s Little Joke” were as powerful as the immortal singles such as the aforementioned “Obscurity Knocks” and “Only Tongue Can Tell.”

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.

U2 - United Center (Chicago) - May 22, 2018

26 May 2018

Irish rockers U2 performed two dates at the United Center in Chicago, IL for its eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE tour. The set list leaned heavily upon U2’s recent bookend albums Songs of Innocence (2014) and Songs of Experience (2017). Photographer Philomonjaro was on hand to capture the action on Tuesday, May 22, 2018.

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.

Preoccupations

Preoccupations with Moaning and Facial – The Echo (L.A.) May 17, 2018

22 May 2018

Preoccupations and Moaning played two sold-out dates at The Echo in Los Angeles, with support on Thursday from Facial.

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.

Acid Mothers Temple with Yoo Doo Right, Hooveriii and Leaf – The Echo 5-8-18 and Alex’s Bar 5-9-18

16 May 2018

Acid Mothers Temple closed out their North American tour with shows in Los Angeles and Long Beach last week, leaving minds blown and eardrums buzzing. The 40-date tour also featured Yoo Doo Right from Montreal, with local support from Hooveriii (at the Echo on 5/8/18) and Leaf (at Alex’s Bar on 5/9/18).

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.

Astral Weeks - (Penguin Press)

30 April 2018

Ryan H. Walsh’s vivid look at the legendary Astral Weeks recounts its creation and the town that influenced it.

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.

Mekons - Never Been in a Riot

The Mekons - Never Been in a Riot and Where Were You? (Superior Viaduct)

23 April 2018

Superior Viaduct has reissued the first two classic singles by U.K. punk pioneers The Mekons.

Ruins Sample SIze Album Cover

Ruins – Sample Size (Self Released)

22 April 2018

Sample Size is the debut from Ruins, hailing from Liverpool, and it is a stunner demonstrating the ability to create atmosphere, emotion, and beautiful music in a minimalistic arrangement of sounds, beats, and voice. Go get this now and let’s hope it is not a one off. Hands down, debut of the year so far and, who knows, this could easily become album of the year.

Jasmine Karimova - From the Womb (Stuart Davis Media)

18 April 2018

What remains is a voice identifiable to her alone in both tone and subject manner, and From the Womb crosses the finish line as a remarkably self-assured minor masterstroke.

Spanish Love Songs Schmaltz cover

Spanish Love Songs – Schmaltz (A-F Records)

16 April 2018

On Schmaltz, Spanish Love Songs offer up extremely emotional punk/ hardcore with hooks galore that just screams for audience participation in sing-alongs at a basement venue coming to a town near you. This an interesting LP: the hooks and energy make it hard not to recommend and the subject matter makes it curious to see what this band becomes when they grow up. This is a much deeper record than it appears at first glance, like someone smiling at you as they tell you how much they are struggling through life.

Sleepyhead - Future Exhibit Goes Here

Sleepyhead - Future Exhibit Goes Here (Drawing Room Records)

13 April 2018

Revisiting Sleepyhead’s tenure on Homestead Records is as much of a trip down memory lane as it is an acid test for just how widely the gumption was spread to the more unknown sects of alternative circles at the time.

Honnda Maraschino Mic Drop Orange Milk

Honnda - Maraschino Mic Drop CS (Orange Milk)

12 April 2018

What if pop music actually aspired to be art? Honnda, aka Brooklyn’s Amnon Freidlin (Mouthguard88, Normal Love, ex-Zs), makes it happen on his brilliant collection of spastic cartoon dubstep/house hybrids.

Mouse on Mars - Dimensional People

Mouse on Mars - Dimensional People (Thrill Jockey)

11 April 2018

Featuring an array of guest musicians and a wide berth of ideas and styles, MoM’s latest plays out like a series of bite-sized In the Fishtank performances, each touting its own brand of curiosity.

Guided By Voices - Space Gun

Guided By Voices - Space Gun (Rockathon Records)

10 April 2018

GBV’s 25th album ensures that the frequency of their output isn’t due to phoning it in but rather the miracle of dedication.

Preoccupations - New Material

Preoccupations - New Material (Jagjaguwar)

9 April 2018

The complicated time signatures and Matt Flegel’s snarl are still intact on the band’s third LP, yet the lack of a centerpiece may leave fans unsated.

Evil Spirits album art by The Damned.

The Damned - Evil Spirits (Search and Destroy / Spinefarm Records)

8 April 2018

“A highly melodic release with huge hooks and the usual amalgamation of punk, garage, goth, and psych that the band excels at.

Ben Ryan - Abacus (Self-Released)

5 April 2018

Abacaus ends up spreading itself thin ever so slightly, but it nevertheless has many fantastic moments which suggest an even brighter future.

The Messthetics - S/T

The Messthetics - S/T (Dischord Records)

5 April 2018

This debut of a supergroup featuring members of Fugazi gets too caught up in the jamming aspect of band practice.

The Pretenders with Lowlight - The Orpheum Theatre (Boston) - April 1, 2018

5 April 2018

Chrissie Hynde and Martin Chambers play through the The Pretenders songbook in front an appreciative Boston crowd.