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The Big Takeover Issue #93

Dave Heaton

Dave Heaton has been writing about music for independent print and web publications since 1994. He is an Associate Music Editor for and the Editor/Founder of online magazine He currently lives in Philadelphia, though at heart and by birth, he is a Midwesterner.

Cotton Candy - Top-Notch and First-Rate (Teenbeat)

28 May 2010

The pace of the album, which veers constantly among pop songs, clips from what seem like 50s radio or TV broadcasts, and the band’s renditions of ad jingles, resembles a sugar high from eating too much cotton candy.

Happy New Year

30 January 2010

The song begins, to clapped hands, “Happy new year / my dear / it is time to face our fear”. That’s the line I kept singing, like a mantra. It’s a good alternate New Year’s theme, I think – welcome to a new, fearless year.

Cats on Fire - Our Temperance Movement (Matinee)

27 July 2009

New doesn’t have to be new, if that makes sense; or, familiar-sounding music is still new if you haven’t heard it before.

Bubblegum Lemonade - Doubleplusgood (Matinee)

22 April 2009

It’s a rush of noise around good-old-fashioned pop melody, and of course wrapped up at once with wishes, dreams, and hopes.

Jason Anderson - Life Sucks Love Sucks Dose Out (States Rights)

1 November 2008

It’s Anderson’s Astral Weeks, not in sound but feeling, in the internal journey of it and the transcendence it reaches for.

Nada Surf - Lucky (Barsuk)

13 April 2008

In a sense Lucky is an album of love songs. But refreshingly these are love songs that aren’t narrow in scope and don’t rely on clichés.

Robert Wyatt - Comicopera (Domino)

5 January 2008

There’s a wild streak within – clear-headed musicianship, but also many surprises, all coordinated gracefully by a maestro who into his sixties is making music that’s as visionary as ever.

Best of the Year in Music (Early Edition): Seven Albums You (Possibly) Haven’t Heard

15 August 2007

So far this year, not from any great personal endeavor but just from circumstances, most of my favorite albums have been keeping fairly low under the radar.

My Music Collection Has Become a Forest

20 June 2007

I’m feeling this growing desire for a map. It sounds ridiculous, really, but I’ve started the Sisyphus-like task of documenting every piece of music I own.

Report From the 16th Annual Philadelphia Film Festival

24 April 2007

This year the films included many that I was interested in seeing, those daily-life considerations made me end up seeing just 8 films.

Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? (Polyvinyl)

25 February 2007

Hissing Fauna is the artistic representation of a breakdown. Importantly, though, the sound of the album is not the stereotypical doom-and-gloom.

Ooh...Long Time No Hear!

1 February 2007

Isn’t a key part of the absolute joy of music – one reason we all obsess so much – this pleasure in that moment of recognition, and in getting to know the song itself that well in the first place?

My 10 Favorite Albums of 2006 [version]

27 December 2006

It’s impossible for me to say definitively what are the 10 most important albums of the year, or even my 10 favorites, without continuing to think “what about this other one?” Here, then, is another Best of 2006 top 10 albums list, one reflecting my thinking today as far as my favorite albums of the past year.

Voxtrot - "Your Biggest Fan" EP (Play Louder)

17 November 2006

What we have are some truly special releases…this new one as much as the others, or possibly even more so.

Some of My Favorite Songs Are B-Sides

24 October 2006
loved looking through the jukebox for a band that I liked, and picking the song I’d never heard before: the B-side. It was a magical thing; it could be treasure or trash, but always something interesting.

Personal Canons: Other Albums That Mean the World to Me

7 October 2006

Critics debate the usefulness, or uselessness, of canons all the time. I only care about personal canons, about what albums really mean something to individual people who care about music.

Don't Shout Louder, Say Something New

16 September 2006

In our Internet era, anyone can instantly become a music critic, and for a lot of reasons I love that. At the same time, what’s the point if everyone’s writing variations of the same article?

My Love/Hate Relationship with Concert Reviews

11 August 2006

I have a hard time writing concert reviews myself. The reason: it’s hard to write about a concert without it turning into a journal entry.

Sometimes, "Classic" Albums are Considered Classics for a Reason

27 July 2006

In receiving these CD versions of long-forgotten-but-once-precious-to-me albums, I’m enjoying re-experiencing them, facing them head-on once again.

Listen to Them Again: Re-evaluating Guided by Voices

17 July 2006

Listening to that much GBV in a row was never tedious; instead, I found it consistently exciting. I was reminded of how many truly great songs ROBERT POLLARD has written…

Surprise Is the Key: Leave Your Old Favorite Records on the Shelf!

7 July 2006

The flip side of the too-much-music dilemma is this: the more music I open myself up to, the greater the likelihood that I will be surprised.

Greater Access to Music = Less Magic in the Long Run?

15 June 2006

While I’ve always rejected the notion that there’s too much music released day-to-day, sometimes I wonder whether there’s too much music in my world.

Keene Brothers - Blues and Boogie Shoes (Fading Captain Series)

3 June 2006

It’s one of the least straightforward albums Keene has made, and is easily the most straightforward, bordering-on-conventional, album that Pollard has ever made. It’s this balancing act that has led to a certain type of magic—not groundbreaking, but truly satisfying.

Neil Young - Living With War (Reprise)

22 May 2006

You don’t put a 100-voice choir on your album, its members singing to the heights of their voices, if all you’re trying to do is express anger.

Mount Eerie with Jason Anderson, Thanksgiving and Feu Therese - First Unitarian Church (Philadelphia) - Tuesday, May 2, 2006

10 May 2006

Sometimes it seems like a fruitless exercise, because that night has happened. It’s over, done. It’ll never happen in the same way again.

The Harbor Lights with Pants Yell! and Brrr - Kensington South Forum (Philadelphia) - Monday, April 17, 2006

22 April 2006

This show was the final one of the duo’s existence, making it a bittersweet evening: a time to celebrate their music and say goodbye.

2006 Philadelphia Film Festival: My Report

15 April 2006

With that many films shown across 13 days, who could see enough to summarize the festival? All I can give is a summary of what my Philadelphia film festival was like.

Various Artists - Twelve: A Series [1-5] (Tell All Records)

3 April 2006

Each piece can only use one note, in octave, but other than that the musicians have free reign. The results so far have been fascinating.

Stephin Merritt - Showtunes (Nonesuch)

28 March 2006

Showtunes is the right name because it simply states the fact of it: this is Merritt writing songs for actual works of theatre instead of imaginary ones.

Is Your Next-Door Neighbor's Band Better Than The Beatles?

19 March 2006

I start to imagine that every city, town, or village has so many of these unknown bands in their past, present, and future: bands without the ambition or resources it takes to “make it big” (or even semi-big), yet whose music meant so much to their fans.

Bro Zone

Various Artists - Bro Zone (States Rights)

11 March 2006

The general spirit of Bro Zone is that of progress, of combining styles and genres in exciting ways. And of creating what you feel, making the music you want to.

Too Young to Die: R.I.P. Jay Dee

25 February 2006

Producers are doing much of the most innovative work in hip-hop, and JAY DEE was one of the best, always pushing the boundaries of the music.

Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins - Rabbit Fur Coat (Team Love)

13 February 2006

Lewis directs her doubt upward at a hypothetical, likely non-existent god, outward towards friends, lovers, the government, and religious leaders, and inward towards herself.

'Digital' Vinyl: An Ideal Marriage of the Past and the Future

1 February 2006

There’s still something truly special about records. On the other hand, in our digital era, there’s nothing special about a CD.

Mi and L'au with Lewis and Clarke - World Cafe Live (Philadelphia) - Tuesday, January 17, 2006

23 January 2006

On this quiet, rainy Tuesday night, the odd yet still laidback mood of the place ended up seeming just right, particularly given the gentle (and odd) nature of the music.

Beyond the Echo Chamber

16 January 2006

Isn’t it more useful to read a list of 10 albums that you’ve never heard of than to read one more list of the same 10 albums that you already know are supposed to be ‘important’?

Comfort Music

10 January 2006

Repetition isn’t always a sign of being stuck in a rut. Sometimes it’s the mark of someone who has built his or her own distinctive musical world and is working within it.

The Capstan Shafts - The Sun Don’t Get Things Done EP (Ladder the Christmas Monkey)

2 January 2006

THE CAPSTAN SHAFTS are no mere GUIDED BY VOICES rip-off. Ultimately what makes their music so compelling isn’t the style of it, but the songs.

Dave Heaton

Listen Close

28 December 2005

How much music can one person listen to? Sometimes I feel like I’m testing that boundary.