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The Big Takeover Issue #88

Matthew Berlyant

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.

Josh Caterer - The Hideout Sessions (Pravda)

9 July 2021

He’s created something well worth hearing and not just for obsessive Smoking Popes fans.

Vitamin - Recordings 1981 (Don Giovanni)

28 June 2021

Included are 4 studio tracks and 9 live tracks, all among the best American no wave/post-punk material of the era.

Video Premiere: "Brilliance of a Language" by Lost Tapes

24 November 2020

Barcelona, Spain’s Lost Tapes unveils a video for a shimmering and delightful indie pop number from their upcoming EP via Sunday Records.

Robyn Hitchcock - Murmrr Theatre (Brooklyn) - November 21, 2019

27 November 2019

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.

Robert Forster - Bell House (Brooklyn) - November 16, 2019

21 November 2019

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.

ChameleonsVox with Theatre of Hate and Jay Aston - Saint Vitus (Brooklyn) - November 9, 2019

10 November 2019

By choosing to focus exclusively on Chameleons material, though, he made me and the rest of the crowd very happy!

Luna - Bowery Ballroom (New York) - October 20, 2019

5 November 2019

For the encore, we got another full set of covers (including an additional encore) and material from other Luna albums.

Vivian Girls - Warsaw (Brooklyn) - October 17, 2019

29 October 2019

If a welcome home reunion show could be more triumphant, I don’t really know how. I was blown away.

Graham Parker - City Winery (New York, NY) - May 6, 2019

7 May 2019

Far from a spent force, at 70, Parker is still an artist well worth your time, particularly in a live setting.

The Monochrome Set - Monty Hall (Jersey City, NJ) - Saturday March 2, 2019

4 April 2019

These legends are making vital new music every bit the equal of anything in their catalog.

Swervedriver - Warsaw (Brooklyn, NY) - Friday March 29, 2019

3 April 2019

Still, Swervedriver got a good crowd reaction and managed to play the best set I’ve ever seen them play

James White and the Blacks - Sax Maniac (Futurismo)

6 September 2018

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.

Neko Case - Hell-On (Anti)

27 June 2018

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.

The Trashcan Sinatras - Highline Ballroom (New York) - May 30th, 2018

1 June 2018

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.”

Nick Lowe - Nick the Knife & The Abominable Showman (Yep Roc)

24 October 2017

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.

Out of Body - "Evaporate" EP (self-released)

19 September 2016

This self-released, four-song 2015 EP, now over a year old, is simply stunning.

Seafang - "Motorcycle Song" EP (Elephant Stone)

12 July 2016

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.

The Notekillers - Songs and Jams Vol. 1 (American Bushmen)

21 June 2016

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.

RIP John Stabb

8 May 2016
I can’t believe that I’ll never see him at a show (or anywhere else) again, at least on this planet. I hope his soul is at peace. My heart goes out to his widow Mina. There will never be another one like him. Here’s to another one gone from us way too soon, this time at the tender age of 54. RIP John Stabb.

The Units - Digital Stimulation (Futurismo)

19 August 2015

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.

James Chance and the Contortions - Buy (Futurismo)

3 May 2015

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.

The Pretty Greens photo by Jason Blaket

EP premiere: Lonely Hearts Club/No Jerks Allowed by The Pretty Greens

23 April 2015

Philly’s own Pretty Greens are in fine form on their sophomore release

Johnny Marr - Playland

Johnny Marr - Playland (Sire)

20 October 2014

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.

Rowland S. Howard - Pop Crimes (Fat Possum)

17 August 2014

It all culminates with “The Golden Age of Bloodshed,” a track that is perhaps the finest in his entire discography.

Stiff Little Fingers - No Going Back (Rigid Digits)

16 July 2014

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

Bob Mould - Beauty and Ruin (Merge)

16 July 2014

Mould is in his mid 50s and at the very top of his game now.

Sound and Chaos: The Story of BC Studio

7 July 2014

However, the film instead chooses to focus on the music and on Bisi’s life story.

Ben Vendetta - From Wivenhoe Park to Los Angeles (and back)

14 June 2014

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!

La Sera - Hour of the Dawn (Hardly Art)

9 May 2014

In short, this is one of 2014’s best albums and perhaps La Sera’s best work yet.

Dum Dum Girls with Blouse - Johnny Brenda's (Philadelphia) - Sunday, March 23, 2014

31 March 2014

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!

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

20 February 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.

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

16 February 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.

Dum Dum Girls - Too True (Sub Pop)

1 February 2014

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.

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

9 January 2014

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.

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

31 December 2013

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

Upset - She's Gone (Don Giovanni)

19 December 2013

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.

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

21 October 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.

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

26 September 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.

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

28 July 2013

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.

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

20 June 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.

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

20 April 2013

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

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

5 April 2013
Even when Everton and Garcia switched instruments, there was no let-down in the intensity level at all!

The New Mendicants - Australian 2013 EP (Ashmont)

31 March 2013

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

Billy Bragg - Tooth and Nail (Cooking Vinyl)

29 March 2013

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.

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

15 March 2013

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

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

15 March 2013

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

Giggle the Ozone - Dreamjob (Lazer Seizure Music)

9 March 2013

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 Night Marchers @ Underground Arts 2/28/13

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

5 March 2013

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

Bob Mould @ Bowery Ballroom 2/27/13

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

2 March 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!