Mark Suppanz has been a passionate music fan since the 1970s, when he would persuade his Mom to take him to the local mall to buy him 7” singles that he heard on Casey Kasem’s Top 40. His music tastes took a turn for the better in 1986 when his college roommate Lon turned him onto R.E.M., The Cure, The Smiths, and Joy Division, and upon graduation he frequented New Brunswick, NJ’s much-missed music club, The Melody. He discovered The Big Takeover in 1994 after happening upon issue #35 in a Tower Records in Mountain View, CA. He began transcribing interviews for the magazine in 1997, became moderator of its online discussion list in 1999, and began writing record and live reviews in 2000. Since that time, he has managed to see over 700 concerts while balancing a successful career in market research. He currently lives in Montclair, NJ, and in addition to attending shows, enjoys reading books and magazines, browsing record stores, watching movies, running, and traveling.
Calgary, Alberta’s classically-trained, award-winning Hickli possesses a beguiling voice that flabbergasts on first listen; though stylistically poles apart from Hickli’s solo side, Calgary art-rock/electro-pop quintet 36? is captivating in its own quirky way.
Though Richmond, VA’s Barry reunited in 2019 for shows with Avail, the punk band he fronted from 1987-2007, he still releases quieter folk albums; this is his eighth studio LP since 2006.
Following 2008’s Crawler and 2009’s Dead Tongues, this punishing Cincinnati, OH post-punk trio put out a handful of split releases from 2010 to 2017; here finally is their third full-length.
Hendersonville, NC-based Robinson is a British ex-pat who played in Roger McGuinn’s touring band, and Woltil is a Tampa Bay, FL resident who fronts power-poppers The Ditchflowers; this is their second combined effort sharing lead vocals, following 2015’s Cycle.
This Seattle five-piece’s first two albums, 2019’s Over the Bar and 2020’s Straight In/Straight Out so wowed Elvis Costello’s Attractions and Imposters keyboardist Steve Nieve, he supplied alluring piano to this third LP’s soulful ballad “Harder Than the Truth.”
Shelkett’s career in the Baltimore emo scene goes back 30 years, having fronted and released albums with Blank, Cross My Heart, Dead Red Sea, and Liars Academy; this debut solo LP was produced by hardcore/punk vet J. Robbins.
On their eighth album, this Auburn/Finger Lakes, NY outfit, led by husband and wife co-lead singers Terry Cuddy and Beth Beer, further sharpens the stylistic breadth shown on 2019’s Sleeping World.
Based in Lille, France, this duo of Lola (singer/guitar/bass) and Alex (bass/guitar) worked in video production at the Academy of Cinema; since 2020, they’ve been releasing singles of their narcoleptic, sinuous dreampop, a dozen of which are collected here.
Discovered in 2005 at age 17 by Trent Reznor — she’s opened three Nine Inch Nails tours — L.A.’s multi-talented Carré Callaway (who’s also an actress, sculptor, podcaster, and skincare product founder) has released three albums as Queen Kwong.
Most notably the bassist in the reformed lineup of Psychic TV from 2003-2020, Hoboken, NJ-raised Alice Genese now shares lead vocals in this Asbury Park-based outfit with Pretoria, South Africa pianist/artist Shaune Pony Heath.
Singer/keyboardist Joe Darone, once the teen drummer of Totowa, NJ’s The Fiendz and later for New York City’s The Rosenbergs, follows up 2020’s fifth LP Hide and Seek with this spirited two-song digital single.
On the heels of brawny-voiced Atlanta singer/guitarist Adam McIntyre’s three 2020 solo LPs and his foursome The Pinx’s Electric! EP the same year comes that group’s fifth LP, following 2019’s Sisters and Brothers.
Following 2021’s red herring electronic/ambient sixth LP XI: It’s the Future, Kansas City, MO’s Suneaters return to their familiar hard-rocking ways on this seventh.
Not surprisingly, the “chilling mood-pop, as strangely still as David Bowie’s Low and Heroes, side twos” of Seattle outfit Blue Grass’s 2021 third LP Jardin des Étoiles is present on this similarly “jardin”-titled fourth.
One listen to this mesmerizing fourth album was all it took to become hooked on Dallas instrumental guitar virtuoso Hewitt’s dexterous and highly melodious style of flamenco playing.
Unlike larger, more prodigiously-attended Real Estate shows, this more intimate setting allowed one to focus attentively on Courtney’s exquisite singing and guitar playing, and to better appreciate his delectable songwriting flair.
While this follow-up resembles its predecessor Dark Americana: Stories and Songs in mood and style, it feels more ambitious and expansive, with intricate arrangements that conjure Ennio Morricone’s spacious, evocative spaghetti western soundtracks.
This New York City-raised singer/songwriter’s new single is more in the vein of the hushed, Nick Drake-like folk displayed on her 2021 Not Yet EP, but with a rustic, down home alt-country/Americana feel.
Like his first three “Black Cat Trilogy” LPs, Missoula, MT-based Henderson K. Shatner’s fourth album as Catnyp is wildly unpredictable and varied, so much so that no two songs sound alike.
Though Kansas City foursome Knife Crime has been together a decade, Lovely is only their first LP. But founding brothers Byron and Brad Huhmann, Jeremiah James Gonzales, and Jake Cardwell have honed their skills in 16 bands between them.
On album #2, Lawrence, KS trio Chess Club sharpens their songwriting and attack – and ditches the sporadic lapses into screamo – over 2018’s haphazard Hit the Ball.
Knoxville, TN singer, guitarist, bassist, and keyboardist Jared Colinger began The Enigmatic Foe with 2005’s self-recorded The Titular Project; having since expanded to a full band, this 14-song double LP is their fifth album.
With only three solo LPs since 2001, this June 12, 2021 Record Store Day EP from Winston-Salem, NC singer/guitarist Foster (ex-Right Profile/Carneys/Pinetops) is welcome.
I dug Portland, OR noise-pop foursome The Honus Huffhines’ 2014 second LP Feel Safe, Be Safe; named for a put-down line from The Office UK, The Swindon Lot is their singer/multi-instrumentalist Andy Giegerich’s solo project.
Throughout Zombification, Nashville-based, Minneapolis-raised singer/songwriter Oliver flails and massages his contorted, misshapen acoustic, while his distressed, rasping vocals sound like he’s having a hallucinogenic acid trip.
Not an actual person, Philip Goth is the moniker for the new project of Josh Rawson, former bassist of folk-rockers The Felice Brothers; this debut was recorded by him in Philmont, NY over three years.
Formerly the drummer in The Comas, and currently in indie rock quintet North Elementary and improvisational guitar/electronic duo Tacoma Park, Carrboro, NC’s John Harrison also makes solo albums as Jphono1.
On his first solo LP, Seattle’s Brisbois abandons the blasting guitars of his ‘90s roots-rock outfit 4 Ft. Ramona (he’s also been in The Buckets, Acme Band, and Lava), for something drastically more hushed.
Having recorded 2018’s Sixer EP as a trio, these Brooklyn shoegazers are pared down to their core duo of Ian Carpenter (vocals/guitars) and Rachel Fischer (drums) for this debut full-length.
It’s been nine years since Boston-raised, now St. Petersburg, FL-based singer/pianist Sheveloff released his 2012 solo debut Exhibitionist. But this sublime second studio LP more than justifies the long wait.
Following up 2018’s Proper EP, this Philadelphia foursome (whose moniker was the original name of Ardmore, the Philly suburb where they first rehearsed) sound even more inspired and imposing on this debut LP.
It’s been five years since this eccentric outfit released their fifth LP The Final Photograph, yet their former strangeness hasn’t waned.
Prolific Minneapolis singer/guitarist Israel’s 16th LP since 1998 dispenses with some of the previous album’s diverse, uncharacteristic stylistic progressions in favor of a more consistent, unwavering approach.
Like their similarly discordant label and city mates Sass, Partition is another cogent and youthful Minneapolis band, whose first album’s pummeling, convulsive queercore mines a different side of the noisy rock coin.
Originally released as a limited edition cassette in May 2019 by Heavy Meadow Records, the debut full-length by this youthful Minneapolis noise-rock quintet gets a welcome vinyl issue from MPLS Ltd.
Singer/guitarist Caflisch (AKA Matt Young) was previously in Eau Claire, WI’s Venison, Minneapolis’s ÜberScenester and J.U.L.P., and L.A.’s Hard Luck Country Club; his sincere, affable folk-pop is enlivened by his vivid words.
Those unfamiliar with NYC-based Root’s seven albums with his bossa nova/Brazilian pop bands A.M. Sixty (or AM-60) and The Mosquitos might be taken aback by his whimsical, guileless lyrics on his first solo LP.
Rogers & Butler is Birmingham, UK-born, NYC-based Edward Rogers, who has released seven top-notch solo albums, and Stephen Butler, frontman for New Jersey power-pop bands Smash Palace and Quincy.
Based in Oklahoma City and Seattle, former college buddies Wil Norton and Danny Davis crafted this second LP (following 2015’s Golden Year) remotely, in between their attorney and software engineer day jobs.
On his third LP, Boston-based singer/drummer Baldrachi moves away from the power-pop that dominated 2012’s Back to the Start – first released in 2011 as Tomorrow Never Knows – and 2006’s Solid Ground.
Those familiar with this Queens/Brooklyn post-punk trio’s 2018 debut No Banter will instantly notice the tenfold upgrade in their attack’s tightness, speed, and muscle on this sophomore effort.
Along with RBM, Johanna’s House of Glamour, and Neurotic Cage, Underwater Kites is another of Boston-based experimentalist Bruce MacLeod’s guises, with one prior LP and six EPs going back to 1999.
Along with gruff, Glenn Danzig/Dave Vanian-evoking bellower Evil Heim, and anchored by formidable 65’s guitarist/bassist Joe Pugsley and Ryan Struck (who play bass and drums here), it’s no surprise this New Jersey horror-punk quintet sound like a Misfits and Damned lovechild.
Fans of this three-year-old Chapel Hill, NC quartet’s 2018 debut mini-album Giant will immediately notice the silkier, more incandescent stylistic shift on this follow-up four-song EP’s first two tracks.
The second LP by Pittsburgh’s Full Counts – formed by 1990-94 Gumball bassist/singer Eric Vermillion and Cynics drummer Mike Quinlan, who were both also in FOOD – is even better than their otherwise superb 2017 debut, First Out.
As he did on his 2019 debut LP Couch, Seattle’s one-man EDM virtuoso Paul Furio rotates between Depeche Mode/OMD/New Order synth-pop/new wave and tougher, Front 242/Nitzer Ebb techno/industrial on this follow-up five-songer.
Having backed Slim Dunlap, and opened for Tommy Stinson, it’s no wonder High on Stress evoke the rootsier side of hometown legends The Replacements; frontman Nick Leet’s emphatic, twangy drawl even conjures Paul Westerberg.
This three-songer blasts even harder than their 2017 “Wolves and Men” 7”, enhanced by the addition of second guitarist Ed Roessler to an already intimidating lineup of Joe Pugsley, Ryan Struck, and John Steele.
Behind her impassioned, one-of-a-kind voice and idiosyncratic songs, Helsinki, Finland singer/guitarist Jokelin’s solo debut Kaamos has a distinctive ambience that is enticing and transcendent.
This Queens, NY quintet’s fifth album dispenses with the too-conventional, leisurely-paced country/roots-rock that dominated their last LP, 2015’s 3 Shots, in favor of more buoyant, vivacious playing and arrangements.