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Big Takeover #81 Fall 2017
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They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us (Two Dollar Radio)

21 November 2017

The essays of Hanif Abdurraqib are masterful, even if you initially don’t care about the subject.

Harry Bertoia Sonambients: The Sound Sculpture Important

Harry Bertoia - Sonambients: The Sound Sculpture Of Harry Bertoia CD/DVD (Sonambient/Important)

19 November 2017

Four recently discovered archival recordings of furniture designer/sculptor Harry Bertoia join a fascinating documentary short made while the artist was still alive for an essential deluxe release.

The Great Escape - Universe in Bloom (Self-Released)

18 November 2017

It’s highly probably Universe in Bloom will win over a lot of new fans for The Great Escape, because the band’s spirit and this album’s charm is ultimately irresistible.

Caspar Babypants - Sleep Tight (Babypants Music)

16 November 2017

You may never hear the last part of this record of charming lullabies, because you will be asleep before you get there.

Night Herons - Relevant Noise (Self-Released)

15 November 2017

Regardless of whether it will prove to be a transitory record or the end of one individual chapter in the band’s history, Relevant Noise will stand as the testament of Night Herons truly coming into their own.

Patrick Grant - A Sequence of Waves (Peppergreen Media)

11 November 2017

A Sequence of Waves is no doubt a challenging listen that one can’t simply put on in the background, but it is a work of art that rewards the open-minded listener with close, repeated examinations.

Diamond Terrifer Cipher Chapel Master Styles Upon Styles

Diamond Terrifier Cipher - Chapel Master 12" (Styles Upon Styles)

11 November 2017

Between blowing minds with Zs albums, sax god Sam Hillmer devotes time to his solo noise/drone project Diamond Terrifier.

Lee Hazlewood Requiem for an Almost Lady Light in the Attic

Lee Hazlewood - Requiem for an Almost Lady (Light in the Attic)

10 November 2017

By mid-1970, singer/producer/songwriter Lee Hazlewood had broken up with his girlfriend and his label LHI Industries was floundering.

Rad Owl – Alladin’s Castle (Self-Released)

8 November 2017

Rad Owl has released their debut EP, Alladin’s Castle. The bad news is there are only three songs but the good news is all are solid post-hardcore/ punk gems.

Westward - The Empire of Deception (Self-Released)

8 November 2017

The Empire of Deception builds significantly on Westward’s debut album, and sets them up to be the latest torchbearers of the power trio tradition.

Nai Palm - Needle Paw

Nai Palm - Needle Paw (Sony Masterworks)

7 November 2017

Needle Paw fulfills any Hiatus Kaiyote fan’s dream of hearing an MTV Unplugged set from the foursome’s mastermind, accompanied by an autobiographical music diary.

For the Sake of Heaviness Book Cover

Brian Slagel with Mark Eglinton – For The Sake of Heaviness: The History of Metal Blade Records (BMG, 2017)

7 November 2017

For The Sake of Heaviness: The History of Metal Blade Records is a well written, enjoyable book, summarizing the history and impact the independent label had on establishing heavy metal across the US and globally.

Deradoorian - Eternal Recurrence (anticon.)

6 November 2017

The tortured self-searching gloom Deradoorian applies to this collection of meditative pieces prove too unsettling to be filed under “easy listening.”

Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble Return Innova

Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble - Return (Innova)

3 November 2017

For eleven years, Michigan’s Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble has received deserved accolades for their interpretations of Steve Reich and Terry Riley.

Michael P Cullen and the Soul Searchers - Live at Lazybones EP (Self-Released)

1 November 2017

Live at Lazybones captures something revelatory about Cullen, and it’s that as good as his studio albums may be, it’s very likely the best way to experience his music is live on stage.

Silverplanes - Gulfstream EP (Volume Unit)

29 October 2017

The five guitar-laden pop-rockers on Gulfstream are emotionally potent while still connecting at the gut level, offering a promising start for a series of releases that extends into 2018.

Lou Reed: A Life (Little, Brown)

28 October 2017

Lou Reed upended popular culture. Anthony DeCurtis gives us the life and times of the brilliant – yet maddening – genius.

album cover for Plum by LA band Wand

Wand - Plum (Drag City)

28 October 2017

“It isn’t exactly easy to pin a label on them, and maybe that’s the point. I suppose to start, it’s fair to say that they’re a psych influenced group. It’s the light and airy type, with dulcet harmonies and charming melodies winding around your ears. At other times, the group inhabits a similar art rock space to Radiohead.”

Circa Survive Amulet album cover

Circa Survive – The Amulet (Hopeless Records)

27 October 2017

With the Amulet, Circa Survive offer fans a slightly softer [even] more atmospheric take on their unique mash up of alternative / post-hardcore/ emo/ prog rock hybrid. It is difficult to pick a favorite, as listening to this over the past month, each day brings a different top track, most likely tied to the listeners current mood or cycle of the moon.

The Meters A Message from the Meters The Complete Josie, Reprise & Warner Bros. Singles 1968-1977 Real Gone

The Meters - A Message from the Meters: The Complete Josie, Reprise & Warner Bros. Singles 1968-1977 3x12" (Real Gone)

26 October 2017

New Orleans funk originators The Meters never saw mainstream success but are continually revered for their unique contributions to the genre.

Midnight Oil - Riverstage (Brisbane, Australia) - October 17, 2017

26 October 2017

With the extensive The Great Circle Tour 2017 barreling toward its final date in Sydney, the reactivated Midnight Oil showed no sign that it ought to return to retirement. The band’s activist posture and reinvigorated music are more potent and relevant than ever.

Patrick Cowley Afternooners Dark Entries

Patrick Cowley - Afternooners (Dark Entries/Honey Soundsystem)

25 October 2017

In celebration of what would have been his sixty-seventh birthday, a third volume of Patrick Cowley’s unreleased electronic compositions pairs his famed gay porn soundtracks with demos for his seminal 1982 album Mind Warp (Megatone), plus a few archival recordings, into what is probably his most coherent posthumous collection to date.

Noise Ratio - Songs on Fire (Self-Released)

25 October 2017

It’s undeniable that Songs on Fire is more or less the artist’s debut album, and at times this naivety bleeds through, but it also remains a remarkably well-constructed product that is as catchy as it is dramatically produced.

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.

Eric George - Not About Nightingales (Self-Released)

21 October 2017

Not About Nightingales has captured American folk music in a way that countless other musicians have failed to do, and with any luck, many of these songs will become standards in their own right.

Gundella The Hour of the Witch Modern Harmonic

Gundella - The Hour of the Witch (Modern Harmonic)

18 October 2017

Just in time for Samhain, Gundella’s classic obscure educational record about witchcraft sees its very first reissue for the millennium’s uninitiated.

Dylan Hicks - Ad Out

17 October 2017

Sophisticated lyrics and stylistic tunes.

Turn Me On Dead Man Heavymetal Mothership Heavy Psych

Turn Me On Dead Man - Heavymetal Mothership (Heavy Psych)

15 October 2017

San Francisco space cadets Turn Me On Dead Man return with their fifth offering of psychedelic interstellar metal.

The Luxembourg Signal Blue Field Shelflife

The Luxembourg Signal - Blue Field (Shelflife)

11 October 2017

Three years after their stellar eponymous debut, The Luxembourg Signal deliver a strong sophomore followup.

Protomartyr - Relatives in Descent

Protomartyr - Relatives in Descent (Domino)

10 October 2017

The Detroit post-punk quartet’s latest LP is largely indistinguishable from its predecessors for the best reasons.

The Clientele - Music for the Age of Miracles

The Clientele - Music for the Age of Miracles (Merge Records)

9 October 2017

The Clientele’s first record in seven years proves that they are still inarguably capable of elegance, but occasionally lapse into obscurity, or even worse, a retreading of old ground, playing into a law of diminishing returns.

Album cover for Same Century by The Morelings.

The Morelings - Same Century (Mostly Venus Records/Custom Made Music)

8 October 2017

“…savor their unique blend of trippy but dreamy sonic textures. They remind me in spots of Cocteau Twins and even Kate Bush, but in the end, they sound merely like themselves.”

Courtney Farren - Nothing Like It

Courtney Farren - Nothing Like It (Self-Released)

3 October 2017

If you’re sitting in a bar and the memories of a past love fill your head, Courtney Farren’s debut album Nothing Like It is a quiet voice that lets you know that you’re not alone. With straightforward lyrics, subtle arrangements, and gorgeous vocals she is the saint of the broken-hearted.

Shrek is Love - Vol 1: This Is My Swamp (Self-Released)

2 October 2017

If Wizard rock, and the proliferation of Harry Potter bands in recent years is anything to go by, one can only hope the successive Shrek-themed musical acts are at least as half as talented as Shrek is Love.

Mother Engine Hangar Heavy Psych

Mother Engine - Hangar (Heavy Psych)

30 September 2017

German trio Mother Engine return with their third full-length of sprawling prog-inspired instrumentals.

Stubborn Son - North

29 September 2017
Deadsmoke Mountain Legacy Heavy Psych

Deadsmoke - Mountain Legacy (Heavy Psych)

27 September 2017

Italy’s heaviest band delivers a sophomore monolith that makes them serious contenders in the global doom coliseum.

Lee Ranaldo - Electric Trim

Lee Ranaldo - Electric Trim (Mute Records)

27 September 2017

Save for a few moments of mastery, Electric Trim is a frustratingly uneven LP from modern guitar curator Lee Ranaldo.

Various Visions of Darkness in Iranian Contemporary Music

Various - Visions of Darkness in Iranian Contemporary Music 2xCD (Cold Spring)

26 September 2017

Historically, music has been an extraordinarily potent form of rebellion.

The Stangs - American Sessions EP (Self-Released)

25 September 2017

Only time will tell whether The Stangs are a band born in the wrong time or if they’ll lead the charg of a new revivalist movement, but American Sessions will nevertheless stand on its own merits.

Time Attendant Ruby Modifier Ancient Neughbour

Time Attendant - Ruby Modifier 12" (Ancient Neighbour)

24 September 2017

Paul Snowden, the brain behind London’s Time Attendant, returns with a new LP that successfully bridges the gap between glitch beats and Berlin school electronics.

Album cover for Kaiho from KAUAN

KAUAN - Kaiho (kauanmusic)

24 September 2017

“This is a sublime collection of post rock pieces, arranged meticulously and exquisitely rendered. Fans of post rock, ambient, and modern classical will greatly enjoy this release. “

Living Colour Shade album art

Living Colour – Shade (Megaforce Records)

23 September 2017

Living Colour has released Shade and, sorry for the cliché, it rocks. There is nothing unexpected here and that is not a complaint as the thirteen tracks have the riffs, grooves, hooks, and beats found in their early days. The production is pristine mixing hard rock blues, funk, jazz, and hip-hop. Bottom line, if you need some rock and roll, don’t mind some tough talk lyrics, Shade is not to be missed.

Giant Flying Turtles - Waltz to the World (Self-Released)

22 September 2017

Their second and latest album, Waltz to the World, is a strangely jazzy affair that combines various elements of both prog and left-of-center pop in a catchy yet artistic way slightly similar in vein to XTC.

Deerhoof - Mountain Moves

Deerhoof - Mountain Moves (Joyful Noise Recordings)

21 September 2017

If you’re willing – in a profoundly strange but fun way, Mountain Moves is the kind of album America needs now to begin the healing process, if that’s at all feasible.

Chad VanGaalen - Light Information

Chad VanGaalen - Light Information (Sub Pop)

21 September 2017

With his sixth solo outing, VanGaalen mines his haunting production values to yield the same goofy brand of surreal yarns we know him for.

Fvzz Popvli Fvzz Dei Heavy Psych

Fvzz Popvli - Fvzz Dei (Heavy Psych)

20 September 2017

Roman power trio Fvzz Popvli celebrate fuzz their own way on a debut full-length that will likely leave many scratching their heads.

Lochness Monster - Fables (Self-Released)

13 September 2017

To anyone, it is immediately clear that Weezer is a large influence on Lochness Monster, but the band’s slightly more progressive and serious than the pseudo-heavy metal pop punk lyricism of Rivers Cuomo.