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The Big Takeover Issue #90

Michael Toland

Michael Toland began scribbling about music in 1988 for the photocopied ‘zine FHT Music Notes. He’s since written for various print and online publications, including Pop Culture Press (for whom he was reviews editor for several years), Texas Music (of which he was a founding editor), Trouser Press, Sleazegrinder, Sonic Ruin, Amplifier, Goldmine, Austin Citysearch the Austin American Statesman, Blurt and the Austin Chronicle. He was also the creator and grand poobah of the music-obsessive web site High Bias (2001-2006). He lives in Austin, Texas and works for public television.

Neil Swainson - Fire in the West (Cellar Music)

17 August 2022

In the sweepstakes for longest time between albums, bassist Neil Swainson finally follows up his 1987 debut 49th Parallel with this year’s Fire in the West.

Mammoth Volume - The Cursed Who Perform the Larvagod Rites (Blues Funeral)

16 August 2022

Sweden’s Mammoth Volume made a trio of quirky, prog-infused stoner rock records in the late nineties and early ‘aughts, earning itself critic’s darling status in a field not normally known for that label.

Geoffrey Keezer & Friends - Playdate (MarKeez)

12 August 2022

Casting a wide net, Keezer brings a swath of influences – hard bop, fusion, postbop, third stream – to his music.

Mike Clark/Leon Lee Dorsey featuring Mike LeDonne - Blues On Top (JazzAvenue 1)

11 August 2022

Ultimately what this session comes down to is pure fun – these guys clearly enjoy their musical interaction, playing everything with a relaxed intensity.

Brian Lynch and Spheres of Influence - Songbook Vol. 2: Dance the Way U Want To (Hollistic MusicWorks)

10 August 2022

Grammy-winning trumpeter and composer Brian Lynch continues his Songbook series with Vol. 2: Dance the Way U Want To, a reclamation of his back catalog through remakes and reinvention.

Tim Bowness - Butterfly Mind (InsideOut)

5 August 2022

Singer, songwriter and all-round music impresario Tim Bowness operates in a fairly unique artistic area.

Billy Drummond and Freedom of Ideas - Valse Sinistre (Cellar Music)

4 August 2022

Drummer Billy Drummond has long been a rhythm keeper’s rhythm keeper, the demand for which might explain why he hasn’t headlined a recording since 1996.

Michael Gregory Jackson - Electric Git Box (Golden)

3 August 2022

The solo guitar extravaganza Electric Git Box draws on songs from throughout his career, from his 1976 debut Clarity, Circle, Triangle, Square to 2019’s WHENUFINDITUWILLKNOW.

Poison Boys - Don’t You Turn On Me (Riot/Golden Robot)

2 August 2022

Led since their 2014 inception by guitarist/vocalist Matt Dudzik, these guys probably can’t cross the street without sneering at oncoming traffic, but they know from hooks.

Abbie Barrett - I Will Let You Know (Rum Bar)

1 August 2022

Boston singer/songwriter Abbie Barrett likes good, catchy songs and guitars. In what style those things come together depends entirely on what the tune demands – even if that’s several things at once.

Harish Raghavan - In Tense (Whirlwind)

29 July 2022

With In Tense, his second album as a leader, Raghavan has staked a claim as one of modern jazz’s most interesting composers and bandleaders.

Triptides - So Many Days (Curation)

28 July 2022
So Many Days, the band’s ninth album, leans on acoustic and 12-string guitars, vocal harmonies and rootsy tunes that find a midway point between early Poco and the folk rocking side of Big Star.

Sheila Jordan - Live at Mezzrow (Cellar Music)

27 July 2022

How many times have we seen a person in their twilight years, still doing it, whatever it is, and making us think, “Man, I hope I still have that much fire at their age.” Well, folks, please welcome Sheila Jordan to the stage.

The Krayolas - Happy Go Lucky (Box)

26 July 2022

San Antonio’s long-running Krayolas didn’t attract the power pop tastemakers back when the genre flourished in the eighties, never seeming to break out of their region until thirty-odd years later.

The Legendary Swagger - Gypsies, Junkies & Thieves (Rum Bar)

25 July 2022

The next generation of Orange Country rock.

Ronnie Foster - Reboot (Blue Note)

22 July 2022

Thirty-six years on from his last LP, Foster, re-signed to Blue Note, issues his (very) long awaited ninth album Reboot.

Song premiere: Yellowjackets - “Resilience”

21 July 2022

Over four decades into their existence, veteran jazz fusion combo Yellowjackets deserves to release a track called “Resilience.”

Tony Williams - Play or Die (MIG Music)

21 July 2022
Play or Die is a strong record that casts a much-needed light onto a shadowy corner of a jazz icon’s oeuvre.

Grassy Sound - The Sounds of Grassy Sound (Destiny)

20 July 2022

Despite first impressions from the band’s name, Philadelphia duo Grassy Sound does not play bluegrass.

Nebula - Transmissions From Mothership Earth (Heavy Psych Sounds)

19 July 2022

The band’s second album since returning from the dead in 2017, Transmissions From Mothership Earth doesn’t rework the formula as much as reiterate that it still functions properly.

Randall Despommier featuring Ben Monder - A Midsummer Odyssey (Sunnyside)

18 July 2022

Enlisting master guitarist Ben Monder and ex-Yellowjackets bassist Jimmy Haslip as co-producer, the New Orleans-born/New York-based Despommier takes a trip through the catalog of Swedish composer Lars Gullin, whose work he encountered in Italy in 2005.

JoVia Armstrong - The Antidote Suite (Black Earth Music)

15 July 2022

For her first solo album, AACM member Armstrong presents The Antidote Suite, a soundtrack to the Black Index art exhibit at the University of California Irvine (where Armstrong also happens to be a PhD candidate).

Gard Nilssen Acoustic Unity - Elastic Wave (ECM)

14 July 2022

Norwegian drummer Gard Nilssen, sideperson to Macej Obara and Mathias Eick and leader of Acoustic Unity and the Supersonic Orchestra, follows in the footsteps of a legacy – specifically that of late Norse drum legend Jon Christensen.

Ian Blurton’s Future Now - Second Skin (Seeing Red)

13 July 2022

A mainstay of the Canadian rock scene, singer/songwriter/guitarist Ian Blurton led Tornonto’s beloved and influential postpunk/alt.rock act Change of Heart, before shifting to more straightforward hard rock with C’Mon.

Birth - Born (Bad Omen)

13 July 2022

Rising from the ashes of the much-missed Astra, who released a pair of psychedelic proto-prog albums in the early 2010s, Birth, well, pretty much picks up where Astra left off on its first full-length album Born.

Sam Reider - Petrichor (Slow & Steady)

12 July 2022

Galvanized by his return to San Francisco after a decade in NYC and named after the word for the smell of earth after rain, Petrichor blends Redier’s influences – jazz, classical, stride – into a seamless whole.

Josiah - We Lay On Cold Stone (Blues Funeral)

11 July 2022

British power trio Josiah was a reliable stoner/hard rock force in the early 2000s without ever really hitting stardom, even in that world.

Brian Bromberg - A Bass Odyssey/Hands; JB Project - Brombo I-III (Be Squared)

8 July 2022

Bassist Brian Bromberg boasts a career going back over four decades, starting as low-ender for saxophonist Stan Getz and going on to a long career in smooth jazz, fusion and straightahead jazz.

Tyshawn Sorey Trio - Mesmerism (Yeros7 Music)

7 July 2022

Putting aside his own work, Mesmerism finds Sorey alongside his friends Aaron Diehl on piano and Matt Brewer on bass for an engaging spelunk in the Great American Songbook.

Bubblemath - Turf Ascension (Cuneiform)

6 July 2022

On its third LP Turf Ascension, Bubblemath makes no bones about its preferred musical methods, opening with “Surface Tension,” a seventeen-minute epic of shifting time signatures, speculative fictive lyrics and, most importantly, ear-catching melodies.

The Sweet Things - Brown Leather (Wendigo Productions NYC/Spaghetty Town)

5 July 2022

For its second LP Brown Leather, New York City’s rollicking Sweet Things have undergone some alterations.

Glenn Dickson - Wider Than the Sky Itself (self-released)

4 July 2022

During the pandemic the clarinetist developed a new artistic vision, centered on blowing his horn while manipulating electronics live, and it’s that aesthetic he documents here.

Steve Tibbetts - Hellbound Train: An Anthology (ECM)

1 July 2022

It sounds like hype, but it’s the truth: there’s no one like Steve Tibbetts.

Roxy Music - Flesh + Blood/Avalon (half-speed vinyl remasters) (Virgin)

1 July 2022

Having shifted from the iconoclastic rock & roll of their early/mid-seventies work to a slicker, adult-oriented (and commercially viable) new wave pop, Roxy Music had set aside many of their quirks and most of its adventurousness to become a group of working professionals, rather than a gang of rock radicals.

Kirk Knuffke Trio - Gravity Without Airs (TAO Forms)

30 June 2022

Given the reputations of Knuffke’s cohorts here, one might expect free jazz cacophony. And while there are plenty of spontaneous compositions here, everyone here keys in on the presence of melody, making even the more rollicking free improvisations accessible to the unacclimated.

Matthew Shipp Trio - World Construct (ESP-Disk’)

29 June 2022

On World Construct, his umpteenth album in a career so prolific there’s no point counting, the jazz giant is in top form with his latest trio.

Todd Marcus Jazz Orchestra - In the Valley (Stricker Street)

28 June 2022

Composer Todd Marcus has two things that immediately set him apart: he’s one of the very few bandleaders to focus on the bass clarinet as his main instrument, and he draws on his Egyptian American heritage for textures not usually found in the jazz idiom.

Righteous Fool - s/t (Ripple Music)

27 June 2022

The brainchild of the late drummer and Corrosion of Conformity co-founder Reed Mullin and HR guitarist Jason Browning, Righteous Fool added Mullin’s erstwhile COC bandmate Mike Dean on bass during the stoner punk icons’ hiatus, and Righteous Fool was born.

Fabulous - Get Fucked By Fabulous (Supermegabot/Slovenly)

24 June 2022

Unless you were a dedicated reader of the British music press circa 1991-1993, you’ve probably never heard of Fabulous.

Joey Alexander - Origin (Mack Avenue)

23 June 2022

A mere eighteen years old, pianist Joey Alexander already has five albums, three Grammy nominations and performances for two presidents on his resumé. Origin earns a special place in his discography, however.

Caleb Nichols - Ramon (Kill Rock Stars)

22 June 2022

Is Ramon a thoughtful, intricate study of queer relationships in twenty-first century culture, or is it just an excellent pop record? The answer, unsurprisingly, is both.

NYO Jazz - We’re Still Here (Carnegie Hall Weill Music Institute)

21 June 2022

An outgrowth of the lauded National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, NYO Jazz is, obviously, the organization’s jazz outreach arm, recruiting hardworking and prodigious 16-19 year olds to keep the flame of one of America’s greatest contributions to culture burning.

Keith Hall - Made in Kalamazoo (Trios and Duos) (Zoom Out)

20 June 2022

Drummer Keith Hall has a diverse resumé: Betty Carter, Sir Roland Hanna, Kenny Wheeler, Janis Siegel, New York Voices, TRI-FI and several years with singer/saxophonist Curtis Stigers.

Wild Up - Julius Eastman, Vol. 2: Boy Joy (New Amsterdam)

17 June 2022

The second in a planned seven-volume series dedicated to Eastman’s compositions, particularly those not performed in his lifetime, Julius Eastman, Vol. 2: Boy Joy showcases the earmarks of the composer’s style.

Stephen Philip Harvey Jazz Orchestra - Smash! (Next Level)

16 June 2022

Though music eventually overtook his interest in superheroics, his childhood infatuation remains a creative inspiration.

Payton MacDonald, Billy Martin, Elliott Sharp & Colin Stetson - Void Patrol (Infrequent Seams)

15 June 2022

Void Patrol combines the talents of saxophonist Colin Stetson, guitarist/electronicist Elliott Sharp and Medeski Martin & Wood drummer Billy Martin, at the behest of Alarm Will Sound percussionist Payton MacDonald.

Vadim Neselovskyi - Odesa: A Musical Walk Through a Legendary City (Sunnyside)

14 June 2022

The Berklee-trained musician blends his two disciplines – jazz and classical – into a series of musical poems paying tribute to Odesa’s landmarks and historical occurrences alike.

Pasqualo Grasso - Be-Bop! (Sony Masterworks)

13 June 2022

Grasso continues his journey through pre-hard bop jazz with Be-Bop!, concentrating on the work of Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker.

Roxy Music - Siren/Manifesto (half-speed vinyl remasters) (Virgin)

10 June 2022

Four albums in, Roxy Music was about to enter its most commercially successful phase – but with a twist.

Billy Mohler - Anatomy (Contagious Music)

9 June 2022
Mohler and company make it all sound so easy – it’s clear that these musicians are comfortable with each other and trust their leader.