Matthew Berlyant has been writing for The Big Takeover since 2003. He started out writing numerous live show reviews and has interviewed many different musicians over the years for feature and short articles. Most recently, he interviewed X for the cover story of issue 82. Furthermore, he has interviewed the artist now known as Kristin Kontrol and wrote the cover story on Dum Dum Girls in issue 73. He also wrote the Vivian Girls cover story and interviewed them for issue #69. A music obsessive since he was a teenager, he started in music journalism while still a high school student by publishing several zines in the early ’90s that were focused on combining personal observations and documenting the New Jersey punk and hardcore scene of the time. He lives in New York City.
I sat down to talk to legendary guitarist Brinsley Schwarz last September over Zoom to talk about his recently released 2nd solo album Tangled. During the course of our hour-long chat, we covered everything from the heady days of touring with Parker in the early ‘80s to his recent solo albums along with musings on topical issues such as COVID and even Steely Dan and James Bond.
Suffice it to say that if you have any passing interest in indie or alternative rock or if you are a R.E.M. fan who’s somehow missed it all these years, you need to hear this.
Known as well for their incendiary live shows that featured banging steel percussion on oil cans, metal pipes, and other unusual items that earned them a cult following amongst fans of industrial music back in the ‘80s, this 2 CD/2 LP edition features the original album on the first disc with pre-Tragic Figures recordings when they were known as Africa Corps featured on disc 2.
Different from any of their previous or subsequent musical projects, yet very much bearing the hallmark of their respective styles, Hitsville PA has a mysterious, unique quality redolent of the literate indie-pop both excel at.
He’s created something well worth hearing and not just for obsessive Smoking Popes fans.
Included are 4 studio tracks and 9 live tracks, all among the best American no wave/post-punk material of the era.
Barcelona, Spain’s Lost Tapes unveils a video for a shimmering and delightful indie pop number from their upcoming EP via Sunday Records.
As the night closed with a stunning “Visions of Johanna,” we were transported back out into the Brooklyn night knowing that we’d once again witnessed an absolute master of his craft.
The audience, in turn, gave him rousing applause at every turn, keeping him onstage at moments when others would’ve walked out awaiting applause for an encore. Visibly moved by this response, he vowed to come back to the U.S. sooner. We can’t wait.
By choosing to focus exclusively on Chameleons material, though, he made me and the rest of the crowd very happy!
For the encore, we got another full set of covers (including an additional encore) and material from other Luna albums.
If a welcome home reunion show could be more triumphant, I don’t really know how. I was blown away.
Far from a spent force, at 70, Parker is still an artist well worth your time, particularly in a live setting.
These legends are making vital new music every bit the equal of anything in their catalog.
Still, Swervedriver got a good crowd reaction and managed to play the best set I’ve ever seen them play
Comprised of some of New York’s best session musicians and dedicated to his manager and girlfriend Anya Phillips (who passed away from cancer in 1981), this differs from his previous work, but not enough that fans who are unfamiliar with it shouldn’t hear it.
The album’s first great stretch of songs starts with the 3rd track, the lilting ballad “Halls of Sarah,” ending with a vocal hook utilizing Case’s astonishing voice that is destined to get stuck in your head for days afterwards.
Songs that sound like whimpers on the original Lp like “Even the Odd” and closer “January’s Little Joke” were as powerful as the immortal singles such as the aforementioned “Obscurity Knocks” and “Only Tongue Can Tell.”
After reissuing Nick Lowe’s first two solo albums in 2008 and 2011, respectively, Yep Roc have expanded their reissue campaign to include his entire ‘80s catalog.
This self-released, four-song 2015 EP, now over a year old, is simply stunning.
This is particularly true on the the the brilliant B-side “Summertime,” which any fan of female-fronted noise-pop will spin over and over again.
One can think of The Notekillers as the precursors to the type of noise rock prominent in the ’90s on labels such as Amphetamine Reptile as well as instrumental power trios of that era such as Don Caballero.
Now comes this welcome reissue, which is on beautiful 180 gram yellow marbled vinyl and includes an insert with liner notes, lyrics and rare photos along with a full-color poster.
But influence aside, this is 28 minutes of the finest skronk you will ever hear and that is the real reason to track this down.
Philly’s own Pretty Greens are in fine form on their sophomore release
All in all, this is a hard-charging, up-tempo record with only small breaks in its mood (“Candidate” is an example). It’s also worth noting that Marr is gaining confidence as a vocalist.
It all culminates with “The Golden Age of Bloodshed,” a track that is perhaps the finest in his entire discography.
Speaking of veteran artists making some of the best music of their career, here is the best Stiff Little Fingers album since at least 1982’s Now Then
Mould is in his mid 50s and at the very top of his game now.
However, the film instead chooses to focus on the music and on Bisi’s life story.
You don’t have to go to music school to be a musician and so it’s the same thing. You don’t have to take writing classes to be a writer!
In short, this is one of 2014’s best albums and perhaps La Sera’s best work yet.
For the encore, they closed with an incredible version of “Coming Down” which featured Dee Dee bringing down the house with her vocal acrobatics. What a treat!
This was a bill so strong from top to bottom that we braved the icy tundra and slippery roads to make it out to this show.
Whatever format you like will suffice, though, as the more I play it, the more I also think that this is Dum Dum Girls’ best work to date.
All in all, this book is a terrific read and I had trouble putting it down, barreling through its 400 or so pages quite quickly. If you are a former City Gardens patron or a fan of the ’80s and early ’90s underground music scene, this book is for you.
In summary, I have a feeling I’ll be listening to this one year-round as this is not just a holiday novelty record.
Other than a general sense of fun that is communicated through the grooves, what also makes this such a great listen is Ali’s hook-filled songwriting.
If slightly bigger crowds are a sign of things to come for the band, then it is well-earned as the new album is great and their live show just keeps improving.
Though the title of their brand new album is I Hate Music, this past Tuesday’s show at Union Transfer proved (as if they need any at this point) that in fact the exact opposite is true.
As such, there are six tracks, five of them shimmering, psychedelic pop that sounds like a lost time capsule from the mid to late ’60s.
The joy just permeates their very essence as they even stayed at the merch table after the show to chat with fans and sign posters and album booklets.
Though the A-side is terrific, the B-side “Who Have I Become” might the best song that Best Coast has ever recorded.