Matthew Berlyant has been writing for The Big Takeover since 2003. He started out written numerous live show reviews and has interviewed many different musicians over the years for feature and short articles, sometimes with the help of his wife Anne Leavitt-Gruberger. Perhaps most notably, he interviewed Dee Dee Penny and wrote the cover story on Dum Dum Girls in the current 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 just outside of Philadelphia with his wife and their son and while not working or hanging out at home, he can be found at shows, record stores, porch sales, farmers markets or riding his bike.
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.
The New Mendicants is the new project of Joe Pernice and Norman Blake.
Billy Bragg’s first album since 2008’s Mr. Love and Justice is a mesmerizing masterwork from one of the finest songwriters of the best three decades.
Sure enough, the set was an excellent mix of both Lps, not favoring one or the other, and the band was in sync.
So what about the actual music? Well, if you’ve never heard The Big Boys, this might be a good place to start.
Despite the liberal genre-hopping, this is a cohesive effort that really works and there’s little confusing it for anyone else’s vision.
The bottom line is that if you ever have a chance to see The Night Marchers, don’t miss them!
What a show, what a night and what a testament to Mould and his band that they still kick so much butt after all these years!
It’s rare that two artists of such quality share a Free at Noon bill.
For this go-round and perhaps to stick to theme of the documentary, Stabb and company were intent on replicating a 1982 style set.
Starting with the instrumental “Mango” and playing a set that mostly comprised material from their earliest days, Dag Nasty was just on for the entirety of their short but incredible set.
The musicianship is just off the charts and I love the 3-4 part harmonies in some of the songs as well.
Imagine a mild-mannered, 70-year old singer-songwriter in dark black sunglasses and a leather vest saying this stuff and you’ll get an idea of the weird, but cozy vibe of the show.
I took out my earplugs so I could hear their set in all of its glory and turned to a friend afterwards and said “wow”.
Newman was in fine spirits, joking with the crowd on numerous occasions between songs and even giving detailed (and very personal) explanations for the lyrics on songs like “Come Crash” and the aforementioned “The Heartbreak Rides”.
Keith Morris was in fine form, hounding the stage like a screaming banshee and living up to his verbose and confrontational reputation.
I think the speakers are still smoking from the heat generated by the version of “Aly Walk with Me” that was played and it’s over a week later!
All in all, I think this may be Dum Dum Girls’ finest moment up to this point.
Maximo Park played a fantastic set spanning their four albums, wisely focusing heavily on just-released new album The National Health (perhaps their career best) and their debut A Certain Trigger, by some measure their best records.
As the encore ended with the classic “Makes No Sense At All”, we left exhausted but utterly blown away by the absolutely great show we had just seen.
They opened up with “She May Call You Up Tonight” and followed it with “I’ve Got Something on My Mind” and “Pretty Ballerina”.
Finally! This is what Alternative Tentacles should’ve done all along with this material.
Oh well. I’ll stick to their records and hope for a better, tighter show next time.
This is a tome well worth reading not just for Yo La Tengo’s fans but anyone interested in indie rock’s travails from the late ’70s beginnings to today.