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Big Takeover #81 Fall 2017
Reviews
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Meat Beat Manifesto Impossible Star Flexidisc Virtual

Meat Beat Manifesto - Impossible Star (Flexidisc/Virtual)

18 January 2018

Political electronic pioneers Meat Beat Manifesto, led by lone remaining founding member Jack Dangers, continues evolving their ever-morphing sound with a nod to ’90s darkness on their first album in seven years.

The Green Door - Wolf In The Fold (Self-Released)

16 January 2018

Wolf In The Fold, in fantastic, explosive pulsations, hearkens back to the rawer, unbridled history of the Wild West—a history which is in many ways fabricated, and in doing so the band’s music adds to this mythologizing.

God Bless from The Citradels

The Citradels - God Bless (Self-Released)

15 January 2018

“Whatever you’re expecting with this fine new release from Melbourne band The Citradels, it’s not one size fits all psychedelia. They manage to mash up a wide variety of styles, ranging from the paisley vibes of “Believe and Receive” to the stellar, Beach-Boys infused “Dawn Chorus”, with its gorgeous harmonies and gentle melodic warmth.”

Lovedrug Relive

Lovedrug - Relive (Lovedrug Music)

14 January 2018

Michael Shepard appears to be staying in his electro-pop phase with the release of Relive. It is a crisp, modern album with a steady flow of mid to slow tempo synth-driven/ effects songs. Let’s hope they take this effort on the road as it would be great to hear these in a live setting side by side with the bands earlier rock anthems.

si,irene - BEES EP (Self-Released)

14 January 2018

si,irene is really fantastic at blending both arty angularity and indie pop melodicism, and this commitment to confronting preconceived musical ideas is at the forefront of their existence as a group.

Betty Davis Nasty Gal Light in the Attic

Betty Davis - Nasty Gal (Light in the Attic)

11 January 2018

By 1975, sex-funk queen Betty Davis had assembled her own band, about half of which were family, and poised to conquer the music industry with her tightest, heaviest album to date and debut for Island Records.

Laini and the Wildfire - Wandering

Laini and the Wildfire – Wandering (Laini and the Wildfire)

10 January 2018

Listening to this New Haven, CT piano-fronted trio’s debut album, it’s hard to fathom that their powerful-piped lead singer Laini Marenick had never sung in front of anyone until her wedding three years ago.

Julia Krueger - for(e)go EP (Self-Released)

30 December 2017

for(e)go is an important first introduction from a musician with an original and compellingly fresh perspective.

Snow Globe (South Lake Tahoe, CA) - December 29th, 2017

30 December 2017

Images from Day 1 of Snow Globe Music Festival.

album art for The Stars Seemed Brighter by Pale Lights

Pale Lights - The Stars Seemed Brighter (Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten)

29 December 2017

“I listen to this release and wonder how they summon such creative talents on all their work, fine, crystalline pop with a gentle dream pop cadence and hints of psych pop. It’s like they channeled Lloyd Cole’s entire catalogue and mashed it up with the best of Flying Nun and Postcard era music.”

Album art for One Nation Underground by Pearls Before Swine.

Pearls Before Swine - One Nation Underground (Drag City Records)

28 December 2017

“ this seemingly obscure band has been venerated by a generation and more, and the album has been reissued multiple times”

the Midwesterns Wexico

The Midwesterns - Wexico (Self-Released)

28 December 2017

On Wexico, The Midwesterns offer ten enjoyable rockabilly/ alt-country tunes. Songs of love lost, hope and advice are sure to be sing-along anthems coming to local (and hopefully further) honky-tonks across the nation in the new year.

NYDTyson - If You're So Smart, Why Are You So Sad? (Self-Released)

27 December 2017

In reality, If You’re So Smart is actually much closer to art pop disguised with distortion than anything else, ultimately creating an experience that only reveals and intensifies with closer listening.

They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us (Two Dollar Radio)

23 December 2017

The essays of Hanif Abdurraqib are masterful, even if you initially don’t care about the subject.

Seneko - True Dimension (Self-Released)

18 December 2017

True Dimension is a must-listen for anyone who loves Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, but most importantly it only heightens the anticipation for the inevitability of a full-length from Seneko.

Gilman Mom - Manifest Destiny

Gilman Mom – Manifest Destiny (Macaque)

18 December 2017

Like a tape-recorded diary set to surreal, spooky sound collages, Berkeley, CA avant-garde artist Dominic Francisco’s second LP makes us feel like we’re prying into someone’s most private, painful emotions.

Costero by Slow Meadow

Slow Meadow - Costero (Hammock Music)

17 December 2017

“This music is always striking, profound, and intensely emotional. It is difficult to write emotive instrumental music, but here, we have ethereal, supremely beautiful tone poems that paint multi-hued pictures in the listener’s mind.”

The Wichita Flag - S/t

The Wichita Flag - The Wichita Flag (Thunder Kick Records)

15 December 2017

The Wichita Flag earns much more than it sets out to achieve, and across its felicitous 15-minute runtime, Les Easterby crafts a clever riposte in the face of blindly homogenized moralism.

The World Palestine - Dik Dik Sounds

The World Palestine - Dik Dik Sounds (Easter Bee Home Recordings)

14 December 2017

The first of Wichita wunderkind Les Easterby’s Black Friday EPs stems from his longstanding World Palestine outfit. It features his wonderfully typical subtle poetry and guitar-centric, asymmetrically divine compositions.

NegativeHate - Solipsis (Self-Released)

9 December 2017

Solipsis is one of Negativehate’s greatest releases yet, and represents a coalescence of everything they have stood for over their long existence.

Athens Potluck (Deeds Publishing)

6 December 2017

Jason Thrasher’s luminous photography tells the tale of the beloved music mecca, Athens, GA.

Fracktura - Oculus (Self-Released)

4 December 2017

Oculus is at once disturbing, unsettling, and the tension at times is unbearable; but it is most importantly a work of art that will stay with the listener long after it is over.

Suspended Second by The Granite Shore.

The Granite Shore - Suspended Second (Occultation Recordings/Fishrider Records)

3 December 2017

“The music twinkles, sparkles, and hints of anger and anxiety peek through the pretty melodies and well-executed harmonies. Don’t let its beauty fool you; Halliwell has plenty to say on the current political situation.”

OCS - Memory of a Cut Off Head

OCS - Memory of a Cut Off Head (Castle Face Records)

1 December 2017

For Dwyer and company’s 20th release (and Castle Face’s 100th title overall), they’ve changed the instrumental environs and even tweaked the project name to better resemble their humble beginnings.

Hand & Leg Slovenly Black Gladiator

Hand & Leg - Hand & Leg 12" (Black Gladiator/Slovenly)

27 November 2017

Hailing from Crete, residing in Athens, Greece, female/male bass/drums duo Hand & Leg offer a perplexing full-length that weaves post-punk, goth and noise rock into a unified vision.

Gutara Kyo Mondo Mongo Slovenly

Gutara Kyo - Gutara Kyo 10" (Mondo Mongo/Slovenly)

27 November 2017

Kobe, Japan’s Gutara Kyo explode with an impressive blast of early ’80s-style hardcore, reminding us that there’s more to the Land of the Rising Sun than noise.

Bibio - Phantom Brickworks

Bibio - Phantom Brickworks (Warp Records)

27 November 2017

Stephen Wilkinson’s latest outing as Bibio is over an hour’s worth of ambient music that is sometimes somber, other times uplifting, and always sans-vocals.

Agency - Resist (Self-Released)

26 November 2017

Resist is a bold and brave conception that is expertly executed, and it will undoubtedly stand as one of the modern era’s first major political artistic works.

Aurganic - Distant Echoes & Close Encounters (Self-Released)

24 November 2017

Distant Echoes & Close Encounters will undoubtedly be remembered as a great leap forward for Aurganic, a band unafraid to step outside of their own comfort zone.

Harry Bertoia Sonambients: The Sound Sculpture Important

Harry Bertoia - Sonambients: The Sound Sculpture Of Harry Bertoia CD/DVD (Sonambient/Important)

19 November 2017

Four recently discovered archival recordings of furniture designer/sculptor Harry Bertoia join a fascinating documentary short made while the artist was still alive for an essential deluxe release.

The Great Escape - Universe in Bloom (Self-Released)

18 November 2017

It’s highly probably Universe in Bloom will win over a lot of new fans for The Great Escape, because the band’s spirit and this album’s charm is ultimately irresistible.

Caspar Babypants - Sleep Tight (Babypants Music)

16 November 2017

You may never hear the last part of this record of charming lullabies, because you will be asleep before you get there.

Night Herons - Relevant Noise (Self-Released)

15 November 2017

Regardless of whether it will prove to be a transitory record or the end of one individual chapter in the band’s history, Relevant Noise will stand as the testament of Night Herons truly coming into their own.

Patrick Grant - A Sequence of Waves (Peppergreen Media)

11 November 2017

A Sequence of Waves is no doubt a challenging listen that one can’t simply put on in the background, but it is a work of art that rewards the open-minded listener with close, repeated examinations.

Diamond Terrifer Cipher Chapel Master Styles Upon Styles

Diamond Terrifier Cipher - Chapel Master 12" (Styles Upon Styles)

11 November 2017

Between blowing minds with Zs albums, sax god Sam Hillmer devotes time to his solo noise/drone project Diamond Terrifier.

Lee Hazlewood Requiem for an Almost Lady Light in the Attic

Lee Hazlewood - Requiem for an Almost Lady (Light in the Attic)

10 November 2017

By mid-1970, singer/producer/songwriter Lee Hazlewood had broken up with his girlfriend and his label LHI Industries was floundering.

Rad Owl – Alladin’s Castle (Self-Released)

8 November 2017

Rad Owl has released their debut EP, Alladin’s Castle. The bad news is there are only three songs but the good news is all are solid post-hardcore/ punk gems.

Westward - The Empire of Deception (Self-Released)

8 November 2017

The Empire of Deception builds significantly on Westward’s debut album, and sets them up to be the latest torchbearers of the power trio tradition.

Nai Palm - Needle Paw

Nai Palm - Needle Paw (Sony Masterworks)

7 November 2017

Needle Paw fulfills any Hiatus Kaiyote fan’s dream of hearing an MTV Unplugged set from the foursome’s mastermind, accompanied by an autobiographical music diary.

For the Sake of Heaviness Book Cover

Brian Slagel with Mark Eglinton – For The Sake of Heaviness: The History of Metal Blade Records (BMG, 2017)

7 November 2017

For The Sake of Heaviness: The History of Metal Blade Records is a well written, enjoyable book, summarizing the history and impact the independent label had on establishing heavy metal across the US and globally.

Deradoorian - Eternal Recurrence (anticon.)

6 November 2017

The tortured self-searching gloom Deradoorian applies to this collection of meditative pieces prove too unsettling to be filed under “easy listening.”

Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble Return Innova

Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble - Return (Innova)

3 November 2017

For eleven years, Michigan’s Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble has received deserved accolades for their interpretations of Steve Reich and Terry Riley.

Michael P Cullen and the Soul Searchers - Live at Lazybones EP (Self-Released)

1 November 2017

Live at Lazybones captures something revelatory about Cullen, and it’s that as good as his studio albums may be, it’s very likely the best way to experience his music is live on stage.

Silverplanes - Gulfstream EP (Volume Unit)

29 October 2017

The five guitar-laden pop-rockers on Gulfstream are emotionally potent while still connecting at the gut level, offering a promising start for a series of releases that extends into 2018.

Lou Reed: A Life (Little, Brown)

28 October 2017

Lou Reed upended popular culture. Anthony DeCurtis gives us the life and times of the brilliant – yet maddening – genius.

album cover for Plum by LA band Wand

Wand - Plum (Drag City)

28 October 2017

“It isn’t exactly easy to pin a label on them, and maybe that’s the point. I suppose to start, it’s fair to say that they’re a psych influenced group. It’s the light and airy type, with dulcet harmonies and charming melodies winding around your ears. At other times, the group inhabits a similar art rock space to Radiohead.”

Circa Survive Amulet album cover

Circa Survive – The Amulet (Hopeless Records)

27 October 2017

With the Amulet, Circa Survive offer fans a slightly softer [even] more atmospheric take on their unique mash up of alternative / post-hardcore/ emo/ prog rock hybrid. It is difficult to pick a favorite, as listening to this over the past month, each day brings a different top track, most likely tied to the listeners current mood or cycle of the moon.

The Meters A Message from the Meters The Complete Josie, Reprise & Warner Bros. Singles 1968-1977 Real Gone

The Meters - A Message from the Meters: The Complete Josie, Reprise & Warner Bros. Singles 1968-1977 3x12" (Real Gone)

26 October 2017

New Orleans funk originators The Meters never saw mainstream success but are continually revered for their unique contributions to the genre.

Midnight Oil - Riverstage (Brisbane, Australia) - October 17, 2017

26 October 2017

With the extensive The Great Circle Tour 2017 barreling toward its final date in Sydney, the reactivated Midnight Oil showed no sign that it ought to return to retirement. The band’s activist posture and reinvigorated music are more potent and relevant than ever.