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The Big Takeover Issue #94

Kristen Sollee

Kristen Sollee started writing for The Big Takeover when she interned at the original Eldridge Street location during 2003–2004. She has a B.A. from the New School in Arts Journalism, an M.A. from Columbia in East Asian Studies, and currently contributes to Time Out, NYLON, Thrillist and other arts and culture publications. When not pursuing her obsession with analyzing the performance of masculinity in glam rock and glam metal, she works in the art gallery at Japan Society.

Black Crystal Fuck Wolf - My Little Droney EP (MechaBenzaiten)

27 September 2012

A crawl through the crunch of synthetic insects underfoot and tomblike echoes of the claustrophobic deep, My Little Droney is an uneasy portrait of subtle horror.

Martial Canterel - You Today (Wierd Records)

31 January 2011

What began as McBride’s solo project in the early aughts throughout small dives in Brooklyn has since grown into a massive crowd-pleasing pulse reverberating across the U.S. and Europe.

The Devil's Blood - The Time of No Time Evermore (Van)

21 July 2010

Without playing for shock value, The Devil’s Blood weave a smoky cloak of cloven hoof and hook-driven rock ‘n’ roll.

Religious to Damn - Glass Prayer

18 June 2010

While the sound Religious to Damn create has aural antecents in Cocteau Twins, Mazzy Star, Fleetwood Mac and their ilk, there’s a more nuanced narrative playing out in the music.

Revel Hotel - The Beating of the Wings

12 March 2010

The Beating of the Wings is a rare breed of record, building a sonic bricolage from moody glam cabaret and early 80’s coldwave with an injection of Nine Inch Nails ire.

Cruel Black Dove - The Myth and the Sum

11 January 2010

The Myth and The Sum showcases a mature electronic slink compelled by moments of abyssal depth and seductive ethereality.

Rykarda Parasol - For Blood and Wine

18 December 2009

Rykarda Parasol’s dark, rich voice, weathered as if by tragedy and time, leaves you weeping and grinning til the end as she drags you through the dusty back alleys of Gothic Americana.

San Serac - Music Never Ends (Environ)

5 November 2009

The idea of IDM is vague bordering on absurd, but when I first heard San Serac, somehow no label was more apt than Intelligent Dance Music.

The Opposite Sex - Live and Burn EP (Self-Released)

14 August 2009

Washington D.C.‘s The Opposite Sex return with a dynamic EP, Live And Burn.

Telepathe: A Different Sort of Minimal Synth

4 August 2009

A colorful Brooklyn duo with equal parts hip hop and synthpop apparent in their spartan beats are still very much of the moniker, ‘minimal synth’.

Her Virgins

10 July 2009

For an ambitious, up-and-coming outfit, New York City’s Her Virgins are a typical anomaly, fusing dark pop with a glam aesthetic that runs the gamut from Clockwork Orange to rivethead chic.

Blacklist - Midnight of the Century (Wierd Records)

25 May 2009

Blacklist’s medium is a message not only of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll, but of geo-politics, socio-cultural dynamics, and revolt.


4 April 2009

Montreal’s Xavier Paradis may have the French connection, but is actually a forerunner in the distinctly North American movement of minimal synth that has been seething below the surface since the 1990’s.

Something Wicked This Way Comes: New York City’s New Dark Sisterhood

23 March 2009

Destiny, Tamaryn, Zohra, Anastasia: New York City’s rising coven of seductive sirens, ladies of the new church of post-apocalyptic song.

Sophe Lux - Hungry Ghost (Zarathustra)

30 January 2009

While the EP is only two songs long, there is enough seduction and redemption for an entire record.

New York Dolls - Irving Plaza (New York) - Saturday, December 27, 2008

31 December 2008

This post-Christmas fix of the New York Dolls live at The Fillmore might just be the best show I’ve seen them play since the 2004 reunion.

Metronome The City - Electric Elements Exposed (MTC)

27 October 2008

Metronome The City is a rare find: a band able to maintain a unified sound whilst jumping between disparate genres and tempos without missing a beat.

Tamaryn - Led Astray, Washed Ashore (Tamaryn)

10 August 2008

Somber and seductive, brooding and atmospheric, Tamaryn’s debut EP is filled with the kind of shimmering songs that alto chanteuses like Nico and Siouxsie Sioux offered us in years past.

Wierd Compilation Volume II: Analogue Electronic Music (Wierd)

24 June 2008

The set focuses on analogue electronic music with the requirement that it be synthetic yet organic and created through a symbiotic relationship between man and machine.

Fern Knight - Fern Knight (VHF)

29 April 2008

Fern Knight is entrancing Renaissance fare with a psych-rock twist.

Martial Canterel - Refuge Underneath (Wierd)

7 February 2008

With the staccato surge and somber vocalizing of DAF, the distorted synthetic soundscapes of Dirk Ivens’ eeriest work, and the industrial strength of The Young Gods, Martial Canterel’s Refuge Underneath is a bleak intellectual exercise in the dark and danceable.

The Funeral Crashers

6 January 2008

Creeping forward whilst changing form and focus since the turn of the century, The Funeral Crashers have become a mainstay of New York City’s fledgling “new dark rock scene.” A new appreciation for The Crashers grew after immersing myself in their first full-length, so I decided to fill in the blanks through an interview.

The Cult - Born Into This (Roadrunner)

22 October 2007

The Cult’s painfully disappointing Born Into This can’t simply be the result of an aging band out of touch with a musical landscape they once electrified in decades passed.

Tokyo Gothic: Blood and...Butterflies?

9 August 2007

After a month of exploring the shadowy eaves of Tokyo’s ‘goth’ scene, one omnipresent icon of the dark and otherwordly came forward. It was…the butterfly?!

The Opposite Sex - Violent Heartstrings (Self-Released)

21 June 2007

Despite a focus on the weighty and the wistful, the Opposite Sex’s debut full-length still has a vibrant violence that makes the band’s post-punk stylings so intriguing.

The Faint - Webster Hall (New York) - Sunday, May 27, 2007

29 May 2007

For the seventh anniversary of New York City’s renowned and resplendent roving dance party, Omaha’s own were the perfect addition to an eclectic night of rock ‘n’ roll depravity.

A New Dark Rock Scene for New York City? (Funeral Crashers, Bellmer Dolls, Blacklist)

21 March 2007

Over the course of an evening, in bathroom lines and at bars, I tracked down P.H. Lovecraft, singer for the Funeral Crashers, Peter Mavrogeorgis, singer for the Bellmer Dolls, and Josh Strawn, singer for Blacklist, to see if they believed in the existence of a burgeoning NYC dark rock scene.

Dir en grey - Nokia Theatre (New York) - Saturday, February 10, 2007

15 February 2007

The sheer live intensity of Dir en grey and the band’s effusive, excessively adoring fans made their sold-out show last Saturday quite an engaging spectacle.

Get to Know the Opposite Sex (Opposite Sex - Trash Bar (Brooklyn) - Sunday, January 14, 2007)

28 January 2007

A riveting show is rare, and I can count on one hand the number of times that I’ve been truly engaged by the live performance of a band I’ve never heard before.

Death of an Idol (Billy)

15 December 2006

After the recent release of Happy Holidays: A Very Special Christmas Album, I have come to realize that the Billy Idol I once knew and loved is dead.

Various Artists - Wierd Compilation (Wierd)

6 November 2006

The beauty of this compilation has been its role in introducing me to so much new and cutting edge music—spare synths that suck you in, electric guitars that slice and aurally eviscerate—this is a record that begs to be listened to alone, in the dark.

The Hunt Begins

20 October 2006

Done up in glistening war paint, tricked out with teeth and feathers and bone and laced into plenty of black leather and denim, The Hunt not only look the part, but play it all too well.

Dir En Grey

11 October 2006

Since 1997, the five members of Dir en grey have thrashed their way to prominence in Japan, leaving an indelible bruise on the rock scene wherever their black leather boots have tread.

Drop Dead Festival IV - Knitting Factory (New York) - Saturday, September 2, 2006

17 September 2006

Although I was only able to make it to the second day of Drop Dead Festival IV, I still managed to catch some captivating sets.

Faster Pussycat - Firestation Cue (Gaithersburg, Maryland) - Saturday, July 29, 2006

1 September 2006

While Faster Pussycat emerged from the much-maligned Los Angeles hair/sleaze/pop metal scene of the mid-1980s, a lot has changed since then.

Blacklist with Bell Hollow - Mercury Lounge (New York) - Sunday, August 6, 2006

21 August 2006

The most vital show I’ve seen recently was not a long-awaited re-appearance of yet another 1980’s luminary, but an evening with two local bands, BELL HOLLOW and BLACKLIST.

"Suiting Up": The Dress for Success Fundraiser - 40/40 Club (New York) - Tuesday, July 25, 2006

7 August 2006

While JAY-Z’s 40/40 Club is not my usual haunt, I decided to go there after being invited to the “Suiting Up” fundraiser, for the good cause (and the free booze).

Tokyo Rock City: Let's Not Bring Down the Government

21 July 2006

With a sweeping silver mane that would be better suited to an aging rockstar rather than a prime minister, JUNICHIRO KOIZUMI is not only the most powerful man in Japan, but also a rock ‘n’ roll obsessive.

Nikki Corvette and the Stingrays - Trash Bar (Brooklyn) - Friday, June 23, 2006

8 July 2006

While Corvette made a successful return to the spotlight in 2001, she has only recently released her first new material in decades on the LP Back to Detroit. Now playing as NIKKI CORVETTE AND THE STINGRAYS, she and her band floored me on the Brooklyn stop of their recent promotional tour.

Japanese Rock on NPR

25 June 2006

Some say that once a cultural trend receives coverage on National Public Radio, its next step is to The New York Times and on to ubiquity. If this theory holds true, by this time next year DIR EN GREY will be taking KORN out as their opening act.

Heavy Trash - Paradiso (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) - Monday, May 29, 2006

4 June 2006

It was a rockabilly revival of religious proportions as the hip-swiveling prophet of HEAVY TRASH, JON SPENCER, testified his way to sweet salvation for the Dutch crowd.

Alison Goldfrapp

19 May 2006

After attending GOLDFRAPP’s delicious live show twice in the past six months and falling in lust with their newest electro-glam masterpiece, Supernature, I was excited to speak with the platform-loving siren behind the songs, ALISON GOLDFRAPP.

Dir En Grey Summer Tour with Korn!

29 April 2006

This is not only a big deal for DIR EN GREY, but also speaks to the growing popularity of Japanese rock (J-Rock) all across America.

The Cult - Nokia Theatre (New York) - Sunday, March 26, 2006

21 April 2006

I was ecstatic to learn that the guys had decided on a whim to get together without the backing of an album and tour the USA.

45 Grave's Dinah Cancer

8 April 2006

Before a revamped 45 GRAVE took the stage for a hellacious set at CBGB on March 5th, I had the honor of speaking briefly with lead screamer and reigning queen of deathrock, DINAH CANCER.

SXSW 2006: Goldfrapp - Austin Music Hall (Austin, TX) - Thursday, March 16, 2006

27 March 2006

I couldn’t have asked for a better first show at South-by-Southwest.

D'espairsRay - Avalon (New York) - Thursday, February 23, 2006

17 March 2006

For the second part of their first ever American tour, Japanese Visual Kei band D’ESPAIRS RAY returned to New York City to play an exhilarating show at Avalon.

New York Dolls - Avalon (New York) - Sunday, February 19, 2006

8 March 2006

The President’s Day Motherf*cker bash, featuring a phenomenal performance by the NEW YORK DOLLS, was a total glam rock O.D.

The Sisters of Mercy - House of Blues (Las Vegas) - Thursday, February 16, 2006

27 February 2006

Wherever there’s any dark band reunion that older folks may dismiss as a money-making scheme, you’ll find me.