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    1. 20 February 2014

      Upset with Potty Mouth, Psychic Teens and The Pretty Greens - Kung Fu Necktie (Philadelphia) - February 9, 2014

      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.

      Read more...

      16 February 2014

      Mission of Burma with Bleeding Rainbow - First Unitarian Church (Philadelphia) - Saturday, February 8, 2014

      It was a clever trick and though one wouldn’t automatically think that Mission of Burma covering The Beatles would work, they managed to pull it off.

      Read more...

      1 February 2014

      Dum Dum Girls - Too True (Sub Pop)

      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.

      Read more...

      9 January 2014

      No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes: An Oral History of The Legendary City Gardens by Amy Yates Wuelfing and Steven DiLodovico

      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.

      Read more...

      31 December 2013

      Taggart and The Successful Failures - Snow Day Take It Easy (FDR/Bitby.TV)

      In summary, I have a feeling I’ll be listening to this one year-round as this is not just a holiday novelty record.

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      19 December 2013

      Upset - She's Gone (Don Giovanni)

      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.

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      21 October 2013

      Those Darlins - Boot and Saddle (Philadelphia) - Wednesday, October 16, 2013

      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.

      Read more...

      26 September 2013

      Superchunk with Spider Bags - Union Transfer (Philadelphia) - Tuesday, September 24, 2013

      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.

      Read more...

      28 July 2013

      Derek See - She Came This Way EP (Psychedelphonic Sounds)

      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.

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      20 June 2013

      Rogue Wave with The Boxer Rebellion - Union Transfer (Philadelphia) - Tuesday, June 18, 2013

      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.

      Read more...

      20 April 2013

      Best Coast - "Fear of My Identity" EP (Mexican Summer)

      Though the A-side is terrific, the B-side “Who Have I Become” might the best song that Best Coast has ever recorded.

      Read more...

      5 April 2013

      Bleeding Rainbow with Wrong World - Johnny Brenda's (Philadelphia) - Thursday, April 4, 2013

      Even when Everton and Garcia switched instruments, there was no let-down in the intensity level at all!

      Read more...

      31 March 2013

      The New Mendicants - Australian 2013 EP (Ashmont)

      The New Mendicants is the new project of Joe Pernice and Norman Blake.

      Read more...

      29 March 2013

      Billy Bragg - Tooth and Nail (Cooking Vinyl)

      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.

      Read more...

      15 March 2013

      Veronica Falls with Cold Showers - Johnny Brenda's (Philadelphia) - Thursday, March 7, 2013

      Sure enough, the set was an excellent mix of both Lps, not favoring one or the other, and the band was in sync.

      Read more...

      15 March 2013

      The Big Boys - Where's My Towel/Industry Standard (Modern Classic Recordings)

      So what about the actual music? Well, if you’ve never heard The Big Boys, this might be a good place to start.

      Read more...

      9 March 2013

      Giggle the Ozone - Dreamjob (Lazer Seizure Music)

      Despite the liberal genre-hopping, this is a cohesive effort that really works and there’s little confusing it for anyone else’s vision.

      Read more...

      The Night Marchers @ Underground Arts 2/28/13
      5 March 2013

      The Night Marchers, Dan Sartain and Mrs. Magician - Underground Arts (Philadelphia) - Thursday, February 27, 2013

      The bottom line is that if you ever have a chance to see The Night Marchers, don’t miss them!

      Read more...

      Bob Mould @ Bowery Ballroom 2/27/13
      2 March 2013

      Bob Mould with Now Now - Bowery Ballroom (New York) - Wednesday, February 27, 2013

      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!

      Read more...

      12 January 2013

      Yo La Tengo with Bat for Lashes - World Cafe Live (Philadelphia) - Friday, January 11, 2013

      It’s rare that two artists of such quality share a Free at Noon bill.

      Read more...

      Government Issue @ Black Cat 12/29/12
      1 January 2013

      Scream, Government Issue and Youth Brigade - Black Cat (Washington, DC) - Saturday, December 29, 2012

      For this go-round and perhaps to stick to theme of the documentary, Stabb and company were intent on replicating a 1982 style set.

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      Brian Baker of Dag Nasty @ Black Cat 12/28/12
      1 January 2013

      Black Market Baby with Dag Nasty and Kingface - Black Cat (Washington, DC) - Friday, December 28, 2012

      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.

      Read more...

      setlist from Scream's show at Kung Fu Necktie
      26 December 2012

      Scream with Laffing Life - Kung Fu Necktie (Philadelphia) - April 16, 2012

      The musicianship is just off the charts and I love the 3-4 part harmonies in some of the songs as well.

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      3 November 2012

      Rodriguez - World Cafe Live (Philadelphia) - Sunday, October 28, 2012

      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.

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      3 November 2012

      Those Darlins with Heavy Cream and Slutever - Johnny Brenda's (Philadelphia) - Saturday, October 27, 2012

      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”.

      Read more...

      3 November 2012

      A.C. Newman with The Mynabirds - First Unitarian Church (Philadelphia) - Thursday, October 25, 2012

      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”.

      Read more...

      20 October 2012

      OFF! with The Spits and Double Negative - First Unitarian Church (Philadelphia) - Friday, October 19, 2012

      Keith Morris was in fine form, hounding the stage like a screaming banshee and living up to his verbose and confrontational reputation.

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      12 October 2012

      The Raveonettes with Melody's Echo Chamber - Union Transfer (Philadelphia) - Thursday, October 4, 2012

      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!

      Read more...

      28 September 2012

      Dum Dum Girls - End of Daze EP (Sub Pop)

      All in all, I think this may be Dum Dum Girls’ finest moment up to this point.

      Read more...

      15 September 2012

      Maximo Park with Zambi and Stagnant Pools - World Cafe Live (Philadelphia) - September 12, 2012

      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.

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      15 September 2012

      Bob Mould with Cymbals Eat Guitars - Union Transfer (Philadelphia) - September 11, 2012

      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.

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      The Left Banke @ World Cafe Live 8/8/12
      18 August 2012

      The Left Banke - World Cafe Live (Philadelphia) - Wednesday, August 8, 2012

      They opened up with “She May Call You Up Tonight” and followed it with “I’ve Got Something on My Mind” and “Pretty Ballerina”.

      Read more...

      18 August 2012

      The Dicks - Kill from the Heart (Alternative Tentacles)

      Finally! This is what Alternative Tentacles should’ve done all along with this material.

      Read more...

      18 August 2012

      Sebadoh with Lou Barlow and Circle of Buzzards - Union Transfer (Philadelphia) - Tuesday, August 7, 2012

      Oh well. I’ll stick to their records and hope for a better, tighter show next time.

      Read more...

      Yo La Tengo Big Day Coming cover
      4 August 2012

      Jesse Jarnow - Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo and the Rise of Indie Rock (Gotham)

      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.

      Read more...

      Best Coast @ Union Transfer 7/16/12
      28 July 2012

      Best Coast with Those Darlins and DIIV - Union Transfer (Philadelphia) - Monday July 16, 2012

      The set culminated with what I think is their greatest song to date, the stunning “Up All Night”, the closing track on The Only Place.

      Read more...

      4 July 2012

      Neneh Cherry and The Thing - The Cherry Thing (Smalltown Supersound)

      It’s fitting that Swedish free jazzers The Thing, a band named after a composition by Don Cherry, have now collaborated with his stepdaugher Neneh Cherry.

      Read more...

      16 June 2012

      Radiohead with Caribou - Susquehanna Bank Center (Camden, NJ) - June 13, 2012

      This was the Radiohead of the 2001 Amnesiac tour and the 2003 tour for Hail to the Thief, turning insular, jotty compositions into jaw-droppingly tight and powerful arena rock and it was a thrill to have them back!

      Read more...

      9 June 2012

      The Clean with Times New Viking - Johnny Brenda's (Philadelphia) - June 6, 2012

      What a difference four and a half years makes, or does it?

      Read more...

      Cheap Girls @ Trocadero 6/8/12
      9 June 2012

      Cheap Girls with Static Radio - Trocadero (Philadelphia) - Friday, June 8, 2012

      If Graham can just be as expressive on stage is he is on record and with proper sound, this band could be as dangerous and exciting live as they are on record.

      Read more...

      9 June 2012

      The dB's - Falling Off the Sky (Bar/None)

      Stamey’s interestingly-titled “Collide-oOo-Scope” and Holsapple’s moving “She Won’t Drive in the Rain Anymore” end the album on a huge high note before going into the finale title track.

      Read more...

      La Sera @ Cameo Gallery 5/19/12
      27 May 2012

      La Sera with Life Size Maps and The New Lines - Cameo Gallery (Brooklyn, NY) - Saturday, May 19, 2012

      When Barbato broke a string on B-side “Behind Your Eyes”, for example, they used the occasion to turn the song (only a little over two minutes on record) into an extended, impromptu, droning jam.

      Read more...

      26 May 2012

      Kam Kama - The Tiled House EP (Sister Cylinder)

      Still, that’s half of the four song demo and it as well as the four newer songs sound MUCH better than said demo.

      Read more...

      5 May 2012

      Best Coast - The Only Place (Mexican Summer)

      She could sing the phone book and frankly I’d be OK with it, but thankfully the songs here are rich, melodically developed, rewarding and very soulful.

      Read more...

      13 April 2012

      Screaming Females - Ugly (Don Giovanni)

      This feels like a natural progression from Castle Talk and is the band’s best album to date.

      Read more...

      12 April 2012

      Frankie Rose with DIVE and East Hundred - North Star Bar (Philadelphia) - Thursday, April 5, 2012

      Nevertheless, we got a very short, 35-minute set that concentrated mostly on Interstellar with a few tunes from her 1st album thrown in.

      Read more...

      12 April 2012

      Real Estate with The Twerps and Belgrade - First Unitarian Church (Philadelphia) - Tuesday, April 3, 2012

      Real Estate is a band with a very particular, mannered sound and they have to sound right to be fully effective.

      Read more...

      Swervedriver's Adam Franklin @ Bowery Ballroom
      9 April 2012

      Swervedriver with Heaven - Bowery Ballroom (New York) - Saturday, March 31, 2012

      If the rest of their proposed new album will be as good as this tune, then I’m already looking forward to it!

      Read more...

      30 March 2012

      The Joy Formidable with A Place to Bury Strangers and Exitmusic - Union Transfer (Philadelphia) - Thursday, March 29, 2012

      Audience members sung every word and there wasn’t one song that stood out in that regard that everyone was waiting for.

      Read more...

      24 March 2012

      La Sera - Sees the Light (Hardly Art)

      Stylistically, “Please Be My Third Eye” is a bit of a red herring as it’s much more up tempo than most of the material here.

      Read more...

      24 March 2012

      Frankie Rose - Interstellar (Slumberland)

      This will be one of my favorite albums of 2012 and heralds the emergence of a brilliant talent in her own right,

      Read more...

      10 March 2012

      Tommy Stinson - World Cafe Live (Philadelphia) - Friday, March 9, 2012

      Stinson projects a rock star aura that looks, breaths, feels and sounds just like the The Rolling Stones, The Faces and others of that ilk.

      Read more...

      10 March 2012

      BELLS≥ with Travels and HIRS - Pi Lam (Philadelphia) - Saturday, March 3, 2012

      Although I’ve lived close to it for almost 6 years, this was my first visit to the venerable University of Pennsylvania frat house and venue.

      Read more...

      11 February 2012

      Sharon Van Etten with Shearwater - Johnny Brenda's (Philadelphia) - Friday, February 10, 2012

      Anyway, she more than lived up to the accolades with an hour long set that was focused almost exclusively on material from Tramp.

      Read more...

      4 February 2012

      Sharon Van Etten - Tramp (Jagjaguwar)

      Despite the numerous guest stars, make no mistake. This is very much a Sharon Van Etten album.

      Read more...

      27 January 2012

      Pete Donnelly - When You Come Home (self-released)

      Though there are light r’n‘b touches on a few of these songs, this is ultimately a singer-songwriter album and a great one at that.

      Read more...

      27 January 2012

      The Dead Milkmen - The King in Yellow (self-released)

      Clearly this is an album made by 40 somethings instead of 20 somethings.

      Read more...

      21 January 2012

      Guided by Voices - Let's Go Eat the Factory (Guided by Voices, Inc./Fire)

      Though others may disagree, I think that this album is a mix of good and not so good.

      Read more...

      21 January 2012

      Will Hermes - Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Five Years in New York That Changed Music Forever (Faber and Faber, 2011)

      Hermes’ lengthy and detailed tome reads a bit like the proto-punk diary From the Velvets to the Voidoids except that it covers virtually all of New York City’s then burgeoning musical styles between 1973 and 1977.

      Read more...

      21 January 2012

      Gordon Withers - The Joy Formidable on Cello (self-released)

      This is exactly what it says it is.

      Read more...

      14 January 2012

      The Left Banke - Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina (Sundazed)

      This album belongs in the same conversation as other classics of the genre and time period like Love’s Forever Changes and The Zombies’ Odessey and Oracle.

      Read more...

      14 January 2012

      John Henry West - Door Bolted Shut (Ebullition)

      This collection is like manna from heaven for fans of this amazing, chaotic, passionate post-hardcore band.

      Read more...

      14 January 2012

      The Raveonettes - Rarities/B-Sides (Columbia/Vice)

      An embarrassment of riches, this limited-edition collection plays not only a great outtakes album, but like one of their best albums period.

      Read more...

      Bedroom Problems @ Paley Library 11/16/11
      20 November 2011

      Turning Violet Violet with Bedroom Problems - Paley Library (Philadelphia) - Wednesday, November 16, 2011

      Honestly, it was my first time seeing them and I thought they were great from the first few notes.

      Read more...

      20 November 2011

      John Wesley Harding and The King Charles Trio with The Minus Five - World Cafe Live (Philadelphia) - November 15, 2011

      Instead of a “normal” show with a headliner and an opener, this was something altogether quite different.

      Read more...

      19 November 2011

      Office of Future Plans with The Young and Bells - Kung Fu Necktie (Philadelphia) - Sunday, November 13, 2011

      Bells were the surprise of the night and honestly stole the show for me.

      Read more...

      13 November 2011

      The Sonics with The Young - Maxwell's (Hoboken) - Saturday, November 12, 2011

      Thankfully, this performance more than justified the $30 ticket price.

      Read more...

      11 November 2011

      Giggle the Ozone - Charge (Laser Seizure Music)

      A concise description of the third track, the cleverly titled “Cyst and Decease”, would be “Captain Beefheart in Space”.

      Read more...

      11 November 2011

      TV Casualty - TV Casualty EP (Matador)

      An idea that started a few years ago has led to a 7” on Matador.

      Read more...

      11 November 2011

      Zounds - The Curse of Zounds (Broken Rekids)

      This Lp pulls no punches and sounds as good in 2011 as I imagine that it must have in 1982.

      Read more...

      4 November 2011

      The Faith - Subject to Change Plus First Demo (Dischord)

      All this would be enough, but as a bonus we get the first official version of The Faith’s 1981 demo.

      Read more...

      29 October 2011

      Void - Sessions 1981-83 (Dischord)

      With all that said, what about the music on here? Well, it’s amazing.

      Read more...

      Wild Flag @ Union Transfer 10/19/11
      27 October 2011

      Wild Flag with Eleanor Friedberger - Union Transfer (Philadelphia) - Wednesday, October 19, 2011

      So how did Wild Flag fit into this context? Quite splendidly.

      Read more...

      Chris Taylor
      25 October 2011

      Chris Taylor on his new project CANT, Grizzly Bear and other musings

      Just from a creative stand point, to put myself out there like that was the scariest thing I’ve probably ever had to do and then to play it.

      Read more...

      14 October 2011

      Dum Dum Girls - Only in Dreams (Sub Pop)

      When I started listening to this album, I couldn’t stop playing it. Weeks later, I STILL can’t stop playing it. It’s that good.

      Read more...

      14 October 2011

      ALL with Naked Raygun - TLA (Philadelphia) - September 24, 2011

      ALL, on the other hand, were amazing.

      Read more...

      4 October 2011

      Ted Leo and the Pharmacists with Dry Feet - Johnny Brenda's (Philadelphia) - Saturday, September 24, 2011

      Of the many times I’ve seen Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, I’d never had the chance to see them in such a great-sounding and intimate room.

      Read more...

      4 October 2011

      Sharon Van Etten with Marissa Nadler and Hezekiah Jones - World Cafe Live (Philadelphia) - Friday, September 23, 2011

      This more stripped-down iteration fit in perfectly with the gentle, quiet vibe of this seated show

      Read more...

      22 September 2011

      Nick Lowe - The Old Magic (Yep Roc)

      In fact, one could argue that he just keeps getting better and better.

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      20 September 2011

      Sheer Terror - Spite EP (Reaper)

      This is really the recording debut of a new incarnation of the band.

      Read more...

      9 September 2011

      Vivian Girls with Widowspeak and Ninjessa - Johnny Brenda's (Philadelphia) - Tuesday, September 6, 2011

      Improved songwriting, musicianship and stage presence contributed to what was by far the best Vivian Girls live set I’ve ever seen.

      Read more...

      3 September 2011

      Thurston Moore with Meg Baird - First Unitarian Church (Philadelphia) - Tuesday, August 30, 2011

      Thurston’s set in the beautiful but very poorly ventilated church sanctuary drew heavily upon his recently released solo Lp Demolished Thoughts.

      Read more...

      23 August 2011

      Marginal Man with Strike Anywhere and Damnation A.D. - Black Cat (Washington, DC) - Saturday, August 20, 2011

      Singer Steve Polcari acted as if almost a quarter of a century hadn’t passed, jumping around all over the stage and showing off the energy of a frontman half of his age.

      Read more...

      14 August 2011

      Yung Wu with Wild Carnation - Maxwells (Hoboken) - Saturday, August 13, 2011

      Still, this had the feel of a band playing to a bunch of friends and family and that’s basically what it was. It was an afternoon show to boot, so that made it even more family-friendly.

      Read more...

      14 August 2011

      Sonic Youth with Wild Flag and Kurt Vile - Williamsburg Waterfront (Brooklyn) - Friday, August 12, 2011

      Opening with Bad Moon Rising‘s “Brave Men Run (in My Family)”, the first five tracks were a flurry of ’80s highlights.

      Read more...

      11 August 2011

      DYS: More Than Fashion

      There’s an old saying. It’s a cliché, but a true one. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. If you think about it in a different way, in the early ‘80s for a hardcore band and especially for a straight-edge band facing additional pressure in terms of not conforming to society’s standards on that level, it was unbelievable in terms of the odds.

      Read more...

      6 August 2011

      Scott Reynolds with The Gerunds - Tritone (Philadelphia) - Friday, August 5, 2011

      At the end of his set, opening band The Gerunds came on stage and they proceeded to crank out two highlights of Reynolds’ tenure with ALL.

      Read more...

      14 July 2011

      Wild Nothing with Twin Sister - Johnny Brenda's (Philadelphia) - Monday, July 11, 2011

      Wild Nothing played to a sold-out and jam-packed room at Johnny Brenda’s

      Read more...

      14 July 2011

      Bob Mould - See A Little Light (Little, Brown and Company, 2011)

      Mainly, much of the book deals with Mould’s struggles to come to grips with who he really is.

      Read more...

      7 July 2011

      Mirrors and Wires - "Mercitron" EP (Headcount)

      This is surf-punk mixed with some psych and even new wave influences.

      Read more...

      2 July 2011

      The Smithereens - World Cafe Live (Philadelphia) - Friday, July 1, 2011

      In other words, the new songs fit in so perfectly with the old stuff that The Smithereens should be commended.

      Read more...

      2 July 2011

      Fucked Up with Jeff the Brotherhood and Dry Feet - First Unitarian Church (Philadelphia) - Sunday, June 26, 2011

      For starters, this was the fourth time I’d seen them at the First Unitarian Church since early 2007.

      Read more...

      25 June 2011

      Dinosaur Jr with Henry Rollins and OFF! - Electric Factory (Philadelphia) - Friday, June 24, 2011

      All in all, there seemed to be a lot of love between artists on this evening as OFF! were specifically selected to open the tour by Dinosaur Jr and the mutual admiration and respect is always comforting to see.

      Read more...

      22 June 2011

      Joe Jackson Trio - Live Music (Razor and Tie)

      The track list pulls more from Joe Jackson‘s past as opposed to Rain (the only album recorded with this lineup).

      Read more...

      18 June 2011

      The Feelies - World Cafe Live (Philadelphia, PA) - Friday, June 17, 2011

      So what, might you ask, differentiated this year’s visit to World Cafe Live from their two previous Philadelphia appearances since their 2008 reunion?

      Read more...

      18 June 2011

      Jack Grisham - An American Demon (ECW Press, 2011)

      Everything you’ve heard about this book, and for that matter, about Jack Grisham himself in his younger years, is absolutely true.

      Read more...

      11 June 2011

      T.S.O.L. with Shot Baker and F.O.D. - Barbary (Philadelphia) - June 5, 2011

      Frontman Jack Grisham had a maniacal, almost demonic grin on his face the whole time and was clearly enjoying himself on this evening.

      Read more...

    2. Matthew Berlyant’s Top 10

      Week of March 30

      1. Dum Dum Girls with Blouse – Johnny Brenda’s (Philadelphia) – March 23, 2014

      2. NothingGuilty of Everything (Relapse)

      3. Perfect PussySay Yes to Love (Captured Tracks)

      4. Real EstateAtlas (Domino)

      5. La Sera – “Losing to the Dark”

      6. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – “Simple and Sure”

      7. Beverly – “Honey Do”

      8. Super Wild Horses – “Alligator”

      9. Mitch FriedlandThe Bandstand (Brian)

      10. Charles Bradley: Soul of America (Not Rated)

      About Matthew Berlyant

      Matthew Berlyant has been writing for The Big Takeover since 2003. He has written numerous live show reviews and has interviewed many different musicians over the years, sometimes with the help of his wife Anne Leavitt-Gruberger. Perhaps most notably, 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 Philadelphia and while not working or at home, he can be found at shows, record stores, porch sales, farmers markets or riding his bike.