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The Big Takeover Issue #93

Cody Conard

Post Death Soundtrack - Veil Lifter (Self-Released)

5 April 2024

Veil Lifter is new territory for Post Death Soundtrack, but it’s a brave, bold move that really pays off as the band thrives in this environment, perhaps better than they ever have.

Phil Gammage - Reedemed (Self-Released)

1 April 2024

There’s a certain askance, left-of-center quality about Gammage’s music that prevents it from ever sitting comfortably in the traditional singer-songwriter genre, making the experience of listening to Redeemed all the more exciting and unpredictable because of it.

Wabi Sabi - The Love Insane (Self-Released)

9 February 2024

The Love Insane is hands down one of the most electric and dynamic releases to come out of the COVID era creative boom, and also stands on its own as a new peak for the ensemble.

Two Faces West - Postcards From Lonely Places (Self-Released)

19 January 2024

It might have taken the band a long time to get to this point, but the wait was clearly worth it as Postcards From Lonely Places is a defining statement that also points to a number of open doors that lay ahead for them.

Pretty Crimes - Every Moment All At Once (Self-Released)

19 January 2024

Every Moment All At Once marks a huge, astounding leap forward for the band.

Negativehate - Shapeshifter (Self-Released)

30 December 2023

Shapeshifter leaves the listener with a terrific and bold display of passion, ambition, and a huge amount of talent.

The Smokeboss Militia - Rise Again (Self-Released)

26 December 2023

Andy Messing wears his heart on his sleeve with his lyrics, and Rise Again beautifully captures the number one punk necessity of authenticity.

Black Bouquet - Pray to the Knife (Self-Released)

26 December 2023

2024 isn’t even here yet, but it looks like Pray to the Knife, which is released February 16th, is already set to be one of the year’s most exciting releases.

MVI - In The Rain Shadow (Self-Released)

6 December 2023

In The Rain Shadow is a testament to the persistence of true positivity in our modern era, and ultimately it’s a truly inspiring musical expression.

James McGowan Ensemble - Reaching In (Self-Released)

6 December 2023

Reaching In is not the first album to tackle these themes, but it’s definitely one of the best and it’s executed with delicacy, great care, and a startling amount of talent.

Ajay Mathur - Blow My Cover (Yakketeeyak Music)

2 December 2023

Blow My Cover is hands down the artist’s finest collection of songs yet, representing a brilliant milestone for his evolution as a musician.

Night Wilds - All That Should Have Been (Self-Released)

2 December 2023

With a sound that is stretches broadly across different rock genres, Micarelli manages to graft the more exploratory sides of artists like Pink Floyd and even the slow burning epics of Bruce Springsteen.

The Dark Fruits - Warm Weather Starter Pack (Self-Released)

18 November 2023

From the outset Warm Weather Starter Pack sounds like a real labor of love and an emotionally convincing display of passion from a group who clearly love making music together.

superWAV - aTYPICAL (Self-Released)

18 November 2023

aTYPICAL is a perfectly fitting title, because SuperWAV are true standouts in this genre, creating an intensity between two people that couldn’t be replicated with an entire orchestra.

Rock of Asia - TAMI (Self-Released)

5 November 2023

TAMI is indeed a truly compelling affair that brings something fresh and alive to the genre, and it is at once challenging and accessible as the collective create a work of art that perfectly straddles both styles with ease.

The Last Optimist - seed water sun (Self-Released)

24 October 2023

With everything produced by The Last Optimist, the results are deceptively ambitious and the true power of seed water sun grows by completely immersing yourself in the album.

Bill Godfrey - Hypnotized (Self-Released)

15 October 2023

Hypnotized is an impressive, intelligently executed debut from an artist who seems to have emerged already fully-formed.

Black Tish - Throbbing Flip Out (Blindsight Records)

15 October 2023

It’s impossible to guess the impact this would have had in 1998, but Throbbing Flip Out feels like a crucial missing link in the genre’s evolution that should be a vital addition to any aficionado’s collection.

Lemon Knife - Ignite! (Self-Released)

10 October 2023

Self-described as a “reverse White Stripes,” Lemon Knife are a husband and wife duo from Chicago consisting of Mia Blixt-Shehan on guitars and John Retterer-Moore on drums.

Paul Maged - Crossroads (Self-Released)

10 October 2023

New York City-based musician Paul Maged is back with a politically charged EP titled Crossroads, named after the perceived crossroads of both the singer-songwriter’s own life and the social and political problems facing the country.

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.