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The Big Takeover Issue #92

Cody Conard

Eric Anders and Mark O'Bitz - Answers Belie (Baggage Room Records)

21 August 2023

For such a prolific duo, their output remains consistent and their songwriting as strong as ever. Answers Belie shows a growing maturity for the pair as well, as they do an outstanding job of the ever difficult task of capturing world issues in succinct yet profound ways.

Wes McClintock - Open Dream (Self-Released)

16 July 2023

A lot of minimalistic lo-fi bedroom pop has emerged since 2020, for better or for worse, but Open Dream is a massive and challenging exploration of an artist pushing his own boundaries as well as a clear love letter to the possibilities of music.

Summer Houses - Frantic Hearts (Self-Released)

14 July 2023

Frantic Hearts is a statement from a band not just pushing their musical boundaries, but the boundaries of rock music itself, without ever once becoming too theoretical or needlessly experimental. It’s a truly exciting album that continues to surprise regardless of how many times you listen.

Sparks - Beacon Theatre (New York) - June 27th, 2023

14 July 2023

You know what? I’m about to say it: We need Sparks now more than ever. With a lyrical voice that is in turn witty, observant, detached, self-referential, satiric, and above all, entirely their own, only the Mael brothers are adequately equipped to comment on the current times while simultaneously providing a much needed dose of escapism.

The Splatter Pattern - While We Were Making Plans (Self-Released)

26 June 2023

Regardless of what your favorite 70s band is, there is something in While We Were Making Plans for everyone, but The Splatter Pattern emerges with a fully formed, compelling artistic voice that is all their own.

Eric H. F. Law - Recreate (Grace Margin Music)

25 June 2023

Recreate is not blindly optimistic, but it is an infectious burst of compassion from a voice that is so needed in this moment.

Lyia Meta - Always You (Self-Released)

25 June 2023

Always You is a wonderful addition to the artist’s repertoire, and a testament to the continued importance of jazz pop.

King Analog - King Analog (Self-Released)

22 June 2023

King Analog remains compelling and exciting over the entire album, an often difficult feat for instrumentalists, and the artist emerges as a dynamically challenging force to be reckoned with right out of the gates.

Love and Rockets - Kings Theatre (Brooklyn) - June 9th, 2023

21 June 2023

Hopefully this tour is not the band’s swansong and Love and Rockets will continue to play live. At the risk of sounding too greedy, one can only dream that they will record another album as well.

S. F. Incorporated - First Penetration (Satyrn Studios)

21 June 2023

The generous hat tips the group gives to their predecessors will win over staunch traditionalists, but First Penetration will undoubtedly appeal to almost every fan of the genre.

Mr Missy - Looking For You (Self-Released)

21 June 2023
Looking For You is a brilliantly constructed album that should be digested in one complete listen. However, it is built upon a collection of wonderful individual songs that work perfectly on their own, and each of those moments is better than the one before it.

Sam Bergquist - Wiser Then (Self-Released)

19 June 2023

Bergquist doesn’t try to shake the world with Wiser Then, but it’s almost as if he wants to slip into the room quietly, preferring to slowly blow away the listener with the accumulation of his strongly poetic lyricism over time.

Juniper Avenue - Chuck Rock (Self-Released)

17 June 2023

A coming-of-age album, Chuck Rock is the work of a group still growing, and it’s a fantastic snapshot of a moment in time, while the band purposely plays down the album’s remarkable merits at every corner.

Carry The Branches - Zombie Telegram (Self-Released)

17 June 2023

High intensity seems to be the running theme of Zombie Telegram as Mallory expresses themselves unabashedly in an exposed, maudlin, and sometimes even violent manner, creating an extremely captivating, thrilling experience that continues to unfold with each listen.

Paul Feder - Never Sleep (Aion Records)

16 June 2023

Never Sleep is a fantastic expansion of Feder’s sound, offering a more vulnerable, introspective side of the artist, and it’s set to be released June 23rd.

Amelie Lucille - Amelie Lucille (Self-Released)

15 June 2023

The gloomier side of artists like The Cure or the emotional intensity of Cocteau Twins are clear influences, while stylistically she is closer to musicians including Lana Del Rey and Cat Power.

Modern Monsters - Malice (Self-Released)

10 June 2023

Malice marks a major step forward, in both songwriting and production from previous releases, but most importantly it represents a fantastically cohesive statement from a band unequivocally finding their voice.

Stan Snow - Into the Great Beyond (Self-Released)

27 May 2023
Snow covers a lot of territory here, but it all works magically making the album sound like a can’t-miss collection of great stand alone singles.

Sanjay Michael - Rocking Into Midnight (Self-Released)

27 May 2023

It’s as if Michael is sampling bits and pieces of the genre, a Whitman’s Sampler of rock ‘n’ roll, and Rocking Into Midnight succeeds wonderfully as a loving tribute in its own charmingly honest way.

Caroline Brennan - The Journey (Zephyr Sound)

24 May 2023

Brennan reaches into her personal experiences to pull out a general theme of hope throughout the five songs that manages to stay uplifting and optimistic without once becoming dangerously cloying.

David A - Lit (Mediavenger)

16 May 2023

Lit is a fantastic album that bridges genres and styles effortlessly, and it will easily appeal to both nitpicky blues heads and punk purists alike.

Judd Harris - The Beach EP (Self-Released)

13 May 2023

Set to be released later this year, The Beach EP doesn’t rock the boat too much or aim to challenge the status quo, but in his own brilliantly hummable way, Harris offers a folksy, optimistic point of view that is desperately needed right now.

Rocky Roberts & Friends - Pieces of Time (Wolfe Island Records)

13 May 2023

Without being flashy whatsoever, Rocky Roberts stands out as an important voice in classic country, and Pieces of Time has a beautifully timeless feeling.

Petty Human Emotions - Petty Human Emotions (Self-Released)

10 May 2023

Petty Human Emotions is a remarkably sprawling and diverse work of art for a group’s debut, and points definitively to even grander things on the horizon.

Skin On Flesh - Terrible and Sad (Self-Released)

10 May 2023

Terrible and Sad is a fantastic EP that leaves you wanting much more, and it’s an audible testament to individuals climbing out of their struggles, raising the listener alongside them.

Doc City - Welcome to Doc City (Self-Released)

24 April 2023

Welcome to Doc City is an exquisitely executed album, augmented by a cast of top session players, and the result is a listening experience that was clearly a labor of love for all involved.

The Ladderman - Figures on Demand (Self-Released)

23 April 2023

The Ladderman’s third album is easily their most ambitious and accomplished yet, and on Figures on Demand the group willingly throws themselves into the deep end, exploring uncharted territory with startling results.

Wayne Merdinger - Hidden Gems (Self-Released)

21 April 2023

Hidden Gems, instead of being a mismatched hodgepodge, is the most concerted document of Merdinger’s fine songwriting ability so far, and it represents the pinnacle of a real maturing for the artist.

Black Dog String Quartet - A Thousand Times Brighter (Self-Released)

19 April 2023

A Thousand Times Brighter will appeal to fans of any number of genres from both sides of the classical/pop aisle, and the album will be released April 28th.

The Earthly Frames - Taped Over (Self-Released)

6 April 2023

Shifting away from the electronic or ambient sounds of previous releases, The Earthly Frames have found a real home with folk, and although it’s unlikely they’ll linger here for long, one can only hope it’s a sound they return to in the future.

NTHNL - Cosmic Flute Rides Again (Self-Released)

3 April 2023

At the end of the day, Cosmic Flute Rides Again is a great pop record that manages to stay interesting and exciting throughout the entire duration without once growing tired or repetitive.

Erik & The Worldly Savages - Future Thunder Void (Self-Released)

3 April 2023

Future Thunder Void is by far the band’s most cohesive and accomplished collection of songs yet, and represents a perfectly crystallized distillation of their ethos.

Vectralux - The Subtle Extravaganza (Self-Released)

10 March 2023

Vectralux have truly come into their own here, maturing as songwriters and hitting upon a sound all of their own.

Paul Lewis & Romeo Rage - Sky’s Rust (Realize Records)

1 February 2023

Sky’s Rust transcends genres and resists categorization but it will easily appeal to fans of Romeo Rage’s influences.

Globus - Cinematica (Imperativa Records)

22 January 2023

Globus have really delivered a rollercoaster ride of an album that surpasses the already high bar set by the band.

Lord Sonny The Unifier - America's Newest Hitmaker (Interstellar Smoke Records)

16 January 2023

The production on the album was aided by Tony Maimone of Per Ubu, and the songs truly benefit from a bombastic, larger-than-life sound. Lord Sonny the Unifier truly outdid himself here.

What Strange Beasts - Starlight's Castaways (Self-Released)

12 January 2023

It’s insane to record something with a scale this large, but What Strange Beasts executes their vision with skill and ingenuity that is truly awe-inspiringly impressive.

The Last Optimist - This Moment is Gone (Last Optimist Records)

1 July 2022

Belanger has carved out a niche with a unique delivery and down-to-earth lyricism that is entirely his own, and This Moment Is Gone is sure to help find comfort and solace for many listeners.

Brynilde - The Sound of the Winter Sun (Self-Released)

1 July 2022

The Sound of the Winter Sun completely ignores any and all current music trends, and it is all the better for it as Brynilde creates an album that is as timeless as it is mysterious.

Fabels - Minds (Qusp)

30 June 2022

Truthfully, there is really nothing else out there like there so it is incredibly difficult to define, but Minds is subtly confrontational and rewards attentive listening as much as it demands it.

1st Base Runner - Light Roars (Souvenir Sound)

30 June 2022

Light Roars plays like the most crystallized realization of Husmann’s concept.

Cooper Castelle - Welcome To My World (Self-Released)

30 June 2022

It’s awesome to see some great new music come from Seattle again, and Welcome to My World is a fantastic debut EP that doesn’t really sound like anything ever before made in that city.

Blunda - Brighter Days (Self-Released)

29 June 2022

It’s music that, perhaps, could only be made in Los Angeles, it invites the listener, wherever they are, to step back and appreciate life away from the recent events of the last two years

Cos - Grace (Self-Released)

28 June 2022

Grace is such an exciting album that reminds the audience of the fun playfulness to be had with the genre.

Wayne Merdinger - Troubadour (Self-Released)

28 June 2022

Merdinger’s lifelong connection to these songs is immediate, making Troubadour a statement that is both a personal journey for the artist as well as representative of the story of American music since the 60s.

Bomb Cats - Third Street Melody (Self-Released)

26 June 2022

With a large turn to socially conscious music lately, the Bomb Cats are a refreshing blast of fresh air, reminding the audience to still have some fun occasionally.

Whitbeck - January 22 (Self-Released)

1 May 2022

January 22 has all of the theatrics of a U2 with more grit, and for an album self-recorded (at least partly on the artist’s sailboat), it is a stunningly ambitious achievement.

Yuval Ron feat Úyanga Bold - Sacred Spiral (Metta Mindfulness Music)

27 April 2022

What the artists attempt to achieve on Sacred Spiral is a lot, but listen to any of the songs and it’s clear they come extremely close to the sublime.

Mental Fracture - Disaccord (Self-Released)

26 April 2022

Overall, the album leaves the listener with a sensation that can only be described as awestruck.

Westrock - Welcome to the River (Self-Released)

26 April 2022

The five-piece band puts their own spin on the Red Dirt country genre with a Heartland sensibility that focuses on honest vignettes of individual lives to which their audience can immediately relate.