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The Big Takeover Issue #86

Mark Suppanz

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.

Dan Israel-Social Distance Anxiety Disorder

Dan Israel – Social Distance Anxiety Disorder (Dan Israel)

13 July 2020

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.

Partition-Prodigal Gun

Partition – Prodigal Gun (MPLS Ltd)

22 June 2020

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.

Sass-Chew Toy

Sass – Chew Toy (MPLS Ltd)

21 June 2020

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.

Matt Caflisch-Runaway

Matt Caflisch – Runaway (Fat Oak)

14 June 2020

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.

Chris Root-Wind Made of Kisses

Chris Root – Wind Made of Kisses (Team Love)

13 June 2020

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-Poets & Sinners

Rogers & Butler – Poets & Sinners (Zip)

7 June 2020

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.

Husbands-After the Gold Rush Party

Husbands – After the Gold Rush Party (Cowboy 2.0/Clerestory AV)

6 June 2020

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.

Peter Baldrachi-Slow Recovery

Peter Baldrachi – Slow Recovery (Peter Baldrachi)

1 June 2020

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.

Recalculating-All Talk

Recalculating – All Talk (Recalculating)

31 May 2020

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.

Underwater Kites-Hot Feet

Underwater Kites – Hot Feet (RBM)

25 May 2020

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.

Voice of Doom-Saint Blaise

Voice of Doom – Saint Blaise (Pyrrhic Victory)

24 May 2020

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.

Winfield-Winfield EP

Winfield – Winfield EP (Winfield)

23 May 2020

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.

Full Counts-Next Up

The Full Counts – Next Up (Phratry)

18 May 2020

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.

Watch Clark-Backscatter Effect EP

Watch Clark – Backscatter Effect EP (Watch Clark)

17 May 2020

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.

High on Stress-Hold Me In

High on Stress – Hold Me In (High on Stress)

9 May 2020

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.

65's-Never Say Never

The 65’s – Never Say Never EP (Mint 400/Pyrrhic Victory)

8 May 2020

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.

Liila Jokelin - Kaamos on huono esileikki

Liila Jokelin - Kaamos on huono esileikki (Helmi Levyt Finland)

24 December 2019

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.

Hollis Brown-Ozone Park

Hollis Brown - Ozone Park (Cool Green)

12 December 2019

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.

Gift Machine-New Tangles

The Gift Machine – New Tangles (People in a Position to Know)

8 December 2018

Mastered by Frank Arkwright at the famed Abbey Road Studios in London, this Escondido, CA-based foursome’s seventh album sounds more robust, expansive, and sonorous than their previous six.

Thomas Comerford-Blood Moon

Thomas Comerford – Blood Moon (Spacesuit)

29 November 2018

Aided by 16 guest musicians, this Chicago troubadour’s third solo album adds plenty of new stylistic wrinkles to the homespun, Wilco-esque alt-country of his 2014 II and 2011 Archive + Spiral.

Tuomas Palonen-Tuomas Palonen

Tuomas Palonen – Tuomas Palonen (Palatsi Finland)

29 June 2018

Aside from his familiar trill, the hushed, homespun folk Helsinki’s pleasantly-voiced Palonen fashions on TP is far removed from his previous outfit Kuparilinna’s punchier, ‘60s-inspired indie pop, surf, and psych-rock.

Stacie Rose-Stacie Rose

Stacie Rose – Stacie Rose (Enchanted)

18 June 2018

It’s been five years since New Jersey native Rose’s last album, 2013’s sumptuous Stars, Stripes, and Milestones. But boasting livelier and more luxurious production and arrangements, this self-titled sixth LP outshines it.

Roz and the Rice Cakes-Devotion

Roz and the Rice Cakes – Devotion (Team Love)

4 April 2018

This follow-up to 2014 second LP Need to Feed finds this Providence, RI art-rock trio – fronted by likable, lovely-voiced lead singer and keyboardist Roz Raskin – still pursuing an unconventional approach.

Roger Harvey-Two Coyotes

Roger Harvey – Two Coyotes (Chunksaah)

16 February 2018

Philadelphia-based Harvey makes mellower music than most of punk label Chunksaah’s strident, speedier-playing signees. But his moderately tempoed folk-rock is plenty resonant and robust.

Rivener - Rivener

Rivener – Rivener (Twin Lakes/These Are Not)

28 January 2018

This esoteric New Haven, CT art-rock duo consists of guitarist/keyboardist Paul Belbusti, also of prolific psych-folk outfit Mercy Choir, and drummer Michael Kiefer, of weighty sludge-rockers Myty Konkeror. However, Rivener sounds nothing like their other bands.

Laini and the Wildfire - Wandering

Laini and the Wildfire – Wandering (Laini and the Wildfire)

10 January 2018

Listening to this New Haven, CT piano-fronted trio’s debut album, it’s hard to fathom that their powerful-piped lead singer Laini Marenick had never sung in front of anyone until her wedding three years ago.

Gilman Mom - Manifest Destiny

Gilman Mom – Manifest Destiny (Macaque)

18 December 2017

Like a tape-recorded diary set to surreal, spooky sound collages, Berkeley, CA avant-garde artist Dominic Francisco’s second LP makes us feel like we’re prying into someone’s most private, painful emotions.

Michel Griffin - Feel My Love

Michel Griffin – Feel My Love: Michel Griffin Sings Bob Dylan’s Finest Lovesongs (Vine Valley Music)

4 July 2017

Born in Oxford, England, this tender-voiced troubadour expands upon the theme of his last three covers-speckled albums by re-imagining 14 love songs from his “early hero” Bob Dylan’s copious catalogue.

No Line North - Dream of Trees Part 1

No Line North – Dreams of Trees Part 1 EP (Twin Lakes)

9 June 2017

Compared to the more robust rock crunch of this New Haven, CT Americana/folk-pop collective’s 2014 Farther Out Beyond Today, the production and playing on Dreams is lighter and lither.

Dotsun Moon - My Apology EP

Dotsun Moon – My Apology EP (Dotsun Moon)

8 May 2017

A couple of years after this Buffalo, NY outfit’s 2011 debut LP 4am, dazzling lead singer Mary Ognibene left the band. DM’s new vocalist Maria Sebastian is as breathtaking as her predecessor, and this EP’s three distinctive tunes showcase her multifarious skills.

Jen Gloeckner - Vine

Jen Gloeckner – Vine (Spinning Head)

14 April 2017

Dubuque, Iowa’s sensual and soulful chanteuse Gloeckner doesn’t make many albums; this is only her third LP going back to 2004’s Miles Apart, and first since 2010’s Mouth of Mars. Yet Vine is worth the seven-year wait.

Jason Wilson - Perennials

Jason Wilson – Perennials (Wheel)

29 March 2017

Blending breezy reggae with brassier jazz/bebop, Ontario’s two-time Juno Award-nominated pianist/singer Wilson’s sixth album is a polished, ear-pleasing pastiche.

Chris Murphy - Red Mountain Blues

Chris Murphy – Red Mountain Blues (Teahouse)

28 March 2017

Throughout veteran L.A.-based violinist Murphy’s Red Mountain Blues, fiddle, banjo, and mandolin frolic so euphorically, you’d expect an impromptu line dance to break out any minute.

Furniture Girls - In Shadows

Furniture Girls – In Shadows (Furniture Girls)

19 March 2017

In mostly foregoes the hard-driving rock crunch of this Seattle quintet’s 2015 Chaos EP, in favor of subtler, more intricate arrangements that better accentuate the velvety and vivacious voice of frontwoman stayC Meyer.

The Special Pillow - At the Earth's Core

The Special Pillow – At the Earth’s Core (The Special Pillow)

17 March 2017

It took seven years for this Hoboken, NJ foursome to release their first-rate 2014 fourth LP Infinite Regression, so it feels fortunate to have this follow-up come only two years later. At is another alluring album.

Solilians - Shin

Solilians – Shin (Goodbye Better)

15 March 2017

This Long Island, NY/Maryland-based “space drone” outfit is fronted by two hypnotic female singers, Neptune Sweet and Sharon Malkin, the latter crooning in Hebrew. With subdued beats and celestial synths, Shin is a soul-purifying, inner peace-producing pleasure.

Milemarker - Overseas

Milemarker – Overseas (Lovitt)

8 March 2017

With its stratospheric synths, encircling guitars, battering ram drums, and baleful, bellowed vocals, Overseas is a revitalizing return from this strapping synth-punk outfit.

The Pack A.D. - Positive Thinking

The Pack A.D. – Positive Thinking (Cadence Music)

6 March 2017

Following the indistinctive alt-rock direction and too-polished production of their 2014 fifth LP, Do Not Engage, this Vancouver drums-and-guitar duo’s sixth LP is their most exhilarating, explosive album to date.

Gary Schwartz - "I Really Like You"

Gary Schwartz – “I Really Like You” [blue vinyl 7”] (Ownself)

20 February 2017

I’m not sure what prompted former United States of Existence/The Jigsaw Seen drummer Schwartz to reissue this upbeat, Supertramp/Hall & Oates-like 2014 digital single as a 7”. But I still “really like” it.

Cereal Banter - Junk Jazz

Cereal Banter – Junk Jazz [12”]; Oatmeal Outburst [cassette] (Cereal Banter)

19 February 2017

Despite drummer/founder Joseph Joseph’s replacing of departed keyboardist Molly Pamela with bassist Nicholas Gunzburg as this Cleveland experimental duo’s “other half” in 2015, Junk is as spastic and strident as their previous releases.

R.K. Ich - Fey

R.K. Ich – Fey (R.K. Ich)

17 February 2017

Shoulder and hand injuries have shelved Atlanta guitarist Richard Coker’s punk and folk career, but his instrumental synth LPs keep coming – Fey is his eighth since 2012.

Floorian - At Your Surface

Floorian – At Your Surface (Drigh)

16 February 2017

I described this 20-year-old Columbus collective’s 2009 second LP More Fiend as “ominous, trance-inducing space-rock, with hints of metal, psychedelic, and Eastern influences.” That could similarly sum up this new six-song, 43-minute fourth.

Tulipomania - Don't Be So Sure/Who Let You Know

Tulipomania – “Don’t Be So Sure” / “Who Let You Know” [7”]; This Gilded Age (Sursumcorda)

6 February 2017

For those still tentative about diving into this atypical, atmospheric Bristol, PA trio’s 2016 fourth LP This Gilded Age, this double A-side 7” of two of its tunes is a tempting toe-dip.

Cheshires - Cheshires

Cheshires – Cheshires (Cheshires)

4 February 2017

Birmingham, AL’s Remy Zero released three major label LPs during their original 14-year run, before disbanding in 2003. This new trio comprises two original RZ members, along with their touring guitarist/drummer, and preserves RZ’s penchant for brawny alterna-rock.

Glenna Bell - Lone Star: Songs and Stories Straight from the Heart of Texas

Glenna Bell – Lone Star: Songs and Stories Straight from the Heart of Texas (Glenna Bell)

2 February 2017

Texas-born-and-bred Bell again avoids modern country clichés on her fifth LP, and first since 2010’s Perfectly Legal: Songs of Sex, Love and Murder.

Louise Distras - "Aileen"

Louise Distras – “Aileen” (Louise Distras)

1 February 2017

On this hard-hitting new single, about serial killer Aileen Wuornos, London’s provocative, powerfully-piped Distras breaks free from stringent punk structures. It blends a ‘60s British Invasion/Merseybeat and girl-group sound with more contemporary, crunchy power pop.

Roxy Swain - Beneath Full Moonlight

Roxy Swain – Beneath Full Moonlight (Spade Kitty)

21 January 2017

I swooned over this fetching Chicago foursome’s “buoyant, shimmery” 2014 second LP Restless Hearts, which followed up their heftier 2010 debut The Spell of Youth. But Beneath manages to best them both.

The Mumzees - Teal EP

The Mumzees – Teal EP (The Mumzees)

10 January 2017

On their 2015 first LP, I heard “Sonics/Shakers-inspired garage rock, Shellac-styled industrial/post-punk, and SLF Inflammable Material-era punk” in this college-aged Nashville band’s sound. That’s still accurate, as Teal contains many of the same characteristics as the full-length.

Haley Bonar - Impossible Dream

Haley Bonar – Impossible Dream (Gndwire)

6 January 2017

St. Paul, MN-based Bonar’s follow-up to her 2014 sixth LP Last War is even better, featuring more focused and finely-honed playing. As well, its arrangements are alternately aggressive and atmospheric, thanks to Bonar’s brawny and buoyant backing band.

The Whispering Tree - "Space Oddity"

The Whispering Tree – “Space Oddity” (David Bowie cover); “Mother” (Pink Floyd cover) (The Whispering Tree)

2 January 2017

This New York duo’s dreamy covers of these two familiar classic-rock staples are so assiduously crafted, and Eleanor Kleiner’s singing so stupendous, it’s like you’re hearing each song for the first time.