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The Los Angeles singer/songwriter/guitarist has made it to album #14 without causing much of a ripple on the surface of popular acclaim, and given the high quality of his work, that’s both a shame and a mystery.
Though not as focused as the Sonar records or as risky as the string quartet album, in some ways Thelen’s Fractal Guitar series represents his aesthetic at its most pure.
Alternative music legend Chris Connelly presents his new album Eulogy to Christa: A Tribute to the Music & Mystique of Nico, a colossal 24-track offering released by Shipwrecked Industries in the USA and Easy Action in the UK, paying tribute to Nico – the iconic muse of The Velvet Underground and one of the most unique, tragic and misunderstood female artists in the history of music.
As both men favor melodic construction over unrestricted blowing, together they create a program that, while technically impressive, is more purely musical than anything else.
Scotland’s Trashcan Sinatras released “Lay of the Land” over the summer as a digital-only release. A new physical-format EP (12” orange vinyl or CD) with three bonus b-sides is fresh off the press.
It’s hard to keep up, let alone find the brightest diamonds, so here’s a quick round-up of some of the best of their recent releases.
American indie rocker Rob Munk presents his new Phased Out album, 20 years after initially leaving the music scene. Alas, music takes on its own life, pushing Rob back into its realm with better and more personal songs than ever before. During the pandemic, he recorded this album with his good friend, actor-writer-artist Daniel London (Old Joy, Minority Report, Manhattan) and Tinsel drummer and writer-director Joe Ventura.
Art rock collective The Pull of Autumn presents their new single “Live Today”, a joint collaboration with Tokyo dreamgaze band Once Grace Forever. with a kaleidoscopic video created by Rosie Varela of acclaimed shoegaze band EEP.
Trumpeter/keyboardist Nicholas Payton is that rare musician who knows exactly how to balance two callings – reverence for the ancestors and the urge to move forward and keep the music’s evolution going.
NYC-based alternative rock / post-punk duo A Cloud of Ravens present their new single “Nature of Artifice”. Following lead track “The Blackest Mantra”, this is the second taste of their third full-length album Lost Hymns, to be released in early 2023 via Berlin-based Nexilis Records, a division of Schubert Music Europe.
NYC-based indie rock / powerpop outfit Gramercy Arms presents their Americana-tinged single “Yesterday’s Girl”, a bittersweet remembrance of love lost and friendship regained. This is the first taste of their Deleted Scene album, scheduled for release via the Magic Door Record Label in early 2023,
The quartet made three albums of punky, fuzz-banged power pop that deserved more than to be relegated to the dollar bins.
Jimi on the cusp of change, testing the boundaries of stardom.
Though probably best known for his work with Pharoah Sanders, Ravi Coltrane, Louis Hayes and Trey Anastasio, bassist/composer Dezron Douglas is a fine bandleader in his own right.
Guitarist Bruce Licher continues rolling out the reissues on his re-galvanized Independent Project Records label with the release of archival material from his much beloved band Savage Republic.
Filtering their sunny birthplace roots through the hard rocking urbanity of their current hometown, California-to-Detroit immigrants Hayley and the Crusher kick the appropriate jams out on fourth LP Modern Adult Kicks.
Fefer comes up with strong tunes that take advantage not only of his full-boded, almost creamy tone, but the special skills of his quartet.
Frenchy and the Punk is vocalist, percussionist and lyricist Samantha Stephenson and guitarist-composer Scott Helland, who was co-founder and bassist of Outpatients and also Deep Wound (along with Dinosaur Jr. founders J Mascis and Lou Barlow). Influenced by The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Blondie, Concrete Blonde and The B52’s, the duo thrive in their trademark blend of post-punk and dark folk music.
Dark electro-goth collective Dispel presents their sophomore release Inferno. A concept album based on Dante’s literary masterpiece, it features a song for each layer of sin existing in the infernal realm. In this album, Dispel follows Dante and his guide Virgil down each layer of the Nine Hells, dedicating a song to each level of mortal sin. Sprinkled with diabolical personalities from ancient mythology and fantasy literature, this undertaking took two years to complete.
Mata Atlântica is a rainforest on the coast of Brazil, and is one of the most species-rich biotopes on Earth – as well as one of the most endangered, with 90% of it already destroyed. Mata Atlântica is also a musical project assembled by co-producer and co-composers Mathias Derer and Markus Reuter.
New York-based garage rock purveyor Dmitry Wild has released his Electric Souls album, bringing us 11 tracks that showcase his trademark blend of 70’s vintage rock, garage rock and post-punk ethos.
Art pop band Elk City has released their new album Above the Water. A new chapter in the Montclair, New Jersey band’s evolutionary story, this album is vibrant, raw-edged and bold, showcasing a new guitar-rich lineup featuring members of Versus, Luna and the Psychedelic Furs side-project Feed.
His run with the Trio sadly came to a sudden end with his 2008 death via a scuba-diving accident, but it turns out his musical career wasn’t over yet. Discovered in the music he left behind was a fully recorded and mixed solo piano album.
“Sleep Paralysis” marks Big Bliss’ first new music in four years. The Brooklyn band has been biding their time through the depths of Covid and recently surfaced with their latest single. Expanding on their trademark edgy, angular post-punk exploration, I asked founder Tim Race to bring Big Takeover readers up to speed on the single and the upcoming second album.
Seattle-based psychedelic rock outfit Black Nite Crash present their new album Washed in the Sound with Black Nite Crash, released via American boutique label Neon Sigh, which was mixed by longtime collaborator Matt Brown (Trespassers William) and mastered by Adam Straney.
There can be something magical about stripping music down to just an instrument and a voice, without the enhancement (distraction?) of a full-blown arrangement.
Entropy is the Mainline to God is the first full-length album under the Veldt name since 1998. And it’s a doozy.
Never one to rest on his laurels, guitarist Bill Frisell follows up not just 2020’s excellent Valentine, but also his consistent work as a sideperson and bandmate, with the new quartet record Four.
Post-punk new romantics Candy Coffins present their new album Once Do It With Feeling, a loaded 10-track collection that arrives two years after their Somehow Misplaced EP. Showcasing solid songwriting, and relating the themes addressed both confidently and cohesively, this album is emotionally and sonically saturated. Their music boasts Cure*-esque textures and melody, as well as the thematic elements and visceral delivery of *The Afghan Whigs.
Though trained in jazz, with a master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music, guitarist Olli Hirvonen doesn’t confine himself solely to bebop on his fourth album Kielo.
Brooklyn-based Dubliner Ronan Conroy is gearing up to release his new album The Slow Death of the LoveMyth. Since 2013, Conroy has immersed himself in the ‘Lovemyth’ project, this work culminating in this collection, influenced both by the 80s/90s goth bands he grew up listening to and ethereal darkwave bands he would be introduced to later on.
Vocalist/songwriter Sarah Elizabeth Charles exists in a creative space in between genres on her solo album Blank Canvas.
UK indie rock veterans Vernons Future present their Aquaplaning album following the lead track “Call To Arms”, a plea to save the planet from a climate emergency by joining together in our efforts.
Montreal-based indie rock / post-punk quartet The Ember Glows has released their new EP Where Spirits Play, a 4-track offering recorded at Closet Studios in Montreal with elements of Simple Minds, The Cult, Echo and the Bunnymen, early U2, Nick Cave and The Mission at the fore.
Sort of a summit of jazz professors, Another Life puts pianists and composers Dan Cavanagh and James Miley together with drummer John Hollenback to see what happens.
The harmonious blend of Elliot Cole, Fiona Gillespie, and the Makaris ensemble present a fascinating audio-visual trip for the senses in “Tam Lin”, a Celtic-Baroque folktale rock opera set on All Hallow’s Eve. Produced by Kevin Eikenburg and Four Ten Media, this period video was filmed at St. Mary’s on Grand in NYC.
UK-based Black Market Karma and iconic vocalist Tess Parks present “The Sky Was All Diseased”, an international collaboration rooted in friendship and spontaneity. This is the first taste of the band’s eleventh full-length album Friends In Noise, which will be released in mid-January via London boutique label Flower Power Records.
Bassist and composer Timothy Norton doesn’t stint on ambition for his first album as a leader: Visions of Phaedrus is inspired by Plato’s Phaedrus.
LA-based alternative rock collective Beauty In Chaos presents their ‘Halloween Surprise’’ single – “Bloodletting”. This is a dark, spooky New Orleans-infused rendition of the Concrete Blonde track, featuring BIC vocalists Whitney Tai, Kat Leon and Tish Ciravolo in a nod to the original song.
Art rock collective The Pull of Autumn presents their new single ‘Outlaw Empire’ featuring Mark Stewart, founding member of the legendary UK band The Pop Group, and remixed by the esteemed Adrian Sherwood.
What’s the difference between a jazz band and a jam band?
Legendary drummer and bandleader Paul Motian cast a long, long shadow with his eclectic work over the course of his sixty-decade career.
Ireland’s Columbia Mills may not be widely known in the US, even among Big Takeover readers, but their post-punk—infused, indie-electronic music is a perfect fit. Bassist, Uisneagh Treacy, recently discussed the band and their outstanding new LP, “Heart of a Nation” with me.
Chicago-based dark alternative post-punk outfit The Bellwether Syndicate presents the single “Dystopian Mirror’” a powerful dark and lush taster of the band’s Vestige & Vigil album, which is scheduled for release in the first half of 2023 via Sett Records and Nexilis Records, a division of Schubert Music Europe.
LA-based alt-pop artist Faith Marie presents her new single “NVM (Remix)”, an infectious downtempo song about depression and the author’s personal struggles to move forward.
Folk-Pop trio The Burnt Pines, comprised of singer and lyricist, Kris Skovmand, instrumentalist and arranger Aaron Flanders on guitar and banjo, and piano, keyboard player and arranger Miguel Sá Pessoa, have announced the release of Don’t Look Down, their affecting sophomore album, via CEN/The Orchard.