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The Big Takeover #84
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Tom Green - Liquid Laughs (Boise) – May 18, 2019

21 May 2019

In a sweet-and-sour set, the self-deprecating Tom Green revealed a soft exterior behind the crusty-looking iconic comedian of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Lord Sonny the Unifier - FINAL NOTICE! (Self-Released)

19 May 2019

FINAL NOTICE! isn’t revolutionary although it calls for revolution, but it’s a perfect listen for any fan of classic ’70s glam rock with a modern twist.

Simon Bonney - PastPresentFuture (Mute)

17 May 2019

What makes Bonney’s work special is his outsider take on Americana. Though his music works with familiar elements – acoustic guitars, violin, steel guitars, folk- and country-derived melodies – it maintains an exotic feel.

Lord Dying - Shredder (Boise) – May 11, 2019

16 May 2019

Maximum riffage from Portland, Oregon, tore apart the Shredder in Boise on Saturday night courtesy of Lord Dying, a four-piece progressive-sludge unit.

Johnny Marr - The Vic Theatre (Chicago, IL) – May 13, 2019

15 May 2019

Former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr and his sharp three-piece band returned to Chicago’s Vic Theatre to play material from 2018’s Call the Comet, other solo gems, breakout side project Electronica, and heavyweight hits from the Smiths. The seamless blend of old and new songs was a potent reminder of Marr’s role as the principal architect of the Smiths’ sound.

Dig Two Graves - Deathwish (Self-Released)

14 May 2019

As the epic seven-minute closer “So Below” proves, the band is full of the desire and innovation necessary to push the boundaries of their genre.

Ashrr - Oscillator (self-released)

13 May 2019

Like an undiscovered artifact of the original new wave days, Oscillator sounds fresh and exciting, including signposts of its era while still coming off as iconoclastic.

StrangeJuice - Raising Cannibals (Self-Released)

12 May 2019

Raising Cannibals is not unlike the work of *The Magnetic Fields*—inextricably attached to the music traditions of the past and yet could only possibly be the product of one singular artist.

Outerfield - Pleasant Grove Hotel (Self-Released)

11 May 2019

For an album that has risen from the ashes, Pleasant Grove Hotel doesn’t sound like it at all and Outerfield have crafted a coherent, strong collection of songs.

Albert Ayler & Don Cherry - Vibrations/Cecil Taylor - Silent Tongues/Art Ensemble of Chicago - Tutankhamun (ORG Music)

10 May 2019

The source of some of the most daring and even intimidating sounds in popular music, free jazz flourished in the sixties thanks to the innovations of Ornette Coleman and the endorsement of John Coltrane, among others. While plenty of classics have stayed in the racks over the decades, there are great records that have also fallen out of print, as with any other genre. Fortunately, ORG Music has begun rescuing many of these gems, reissuing them in new vinyl editions that are facsimiles of the originals.

Brutus - Nest (Hassle/Sargent House)

8 May 2019

With its debut LP Burst, the mighty Brutus exploded out of Belgium two years ago to redefine the term power trio. Now the band returns with its much-anticipated follow-up Nest. To say that the young threesome meets and exceeds its promise is practically an understatement.

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.

Begin the Begin: R.E.M.’s Early Years (Verse Chorus Press)

7 May 2019

The beginnings of R.E.M are compelling told by Robert Dean Lurie.

Annamay - F*ck You (Self-Released)

4 May 2019

F*ck You_ is both subtle and surprising in its charms, and it bears repeated listening to fully uncover the meanings behind Annamay’s evocative lyrics.

Leon Seti - Cobalt (Self-Released)

3 May 2019

Cobalt has been an immediate success in the electronic charts in his home of Italy, and it certainly is strong enough to possibly be Seti’s breakthrough in the States and internationally.

Ray Charles - Modern Sounds in Country and Western (Concord Records)

1 May 2019

It’s difficult to understate the influence that Ray Charles’ Modern Sounds in Country and Western had upon its initial release during the Civil Rights Movement. This reissue welcomes fresh listening to an acknowledged treasure of American music.

Versal - Versal (Self-Released)

30 April 2019

Versal is a highly accomplished and original statement from an artist who clearly puts his entire soul and personality into his work.

Patrick Ames - All I Do Is Bleed (Self-Released)

29 April 2019

Prior to recording the EP, Ames visited Buenos Aires, and the songs have a strong Latin feel but rather than an opportunistic novelty as is often the case, it’s a natural and respectful incorporation.

Sundogs - Legends In Their Own Minds (Self-Released)

28 April 2019

Legends In Their Own Minds might not be a complete reinvention of Sundogs’ influences, but they created something which could have easily existed in the stacks of vinyl somewhere alongside Led Zeppelin and Eric Clapton.

Alya - Ten Years of Solitude (Self-Released)

27 April 2019

Ten Years of Solitude is a genre-bending, deeply personal one-of-a-kind statement from an artist with as much vision as individuality.

Imperial Wax - Gastwerk Saboteurs (Saustex)

25 April 2019

Guitarist Pete Greenway, bassist Dave Spurr and drummer Keiron Melling – AKA the longest-running version of The Fall – knew they couldn’t just replace Mark E. Smith when he died last year. The Fall without Smith would be a parody of itself. At the same time, the trio had developed a chemistry and rapport that couldn’t just be abandoned. So they did the smart thing: added vocalist/guitarist Sam Curran, reconstituted as Imperial Wax and didn’t even try to sound like their old band.

The Pearlfishers - Love & Other Hopeless Things (Marina)

19 April 2019
On Love & Other Hopeless Things, the band’s eighth album, Scott clearly draws inspiration from the Burt Bacharach/Zombies/Paul McCartney/Laura Nyro side of the pop world, but he doesn’t sound like he’s merely regurgitating bits of his favorite records.

Treefort Music Fest - Boise, ID - March 20-24, 2019

14 April 2019

Treefort Music Fest is intended both to draw rising national talent to Boise and showcase what the city’s own music scene has to offer. And, as it occurs just as brisk breezes replace patches of ice in the downtown area, the spring-timing couldn’t be better.

Joan Torres's All Is Fused - Revolution (Self-Released)

12 April 2019

Whether Revolution is a beginning of something new, an ending of the band’s old style, or a transition between the two, it certainly remains Torres’s most finely executed statement yet, and ends with the exciting open question of what will follow.

Mott the Hoople ’74 - Chicago Theatre (Chicago, IL) – April 3, 2019

6 April 2019

It was a rare opportunity to see Ian Hunter flanked by pianist Morgan Fisher and guitarist Ariel Bender, the players who stood together during the heyday of Mott the Hoople leading to 1974 albums The Hoople and Live.

D.G. Adams - Nest of Vipers (Self-Released)

5 April 2019

Adams proves himself capable of numerous styles here, and Nest of Vipers just might be one of his best albums yet.

Bitter's Kiss - The Divorce Party Soundtrack (Self-Released)

4 April 2019

The Divorce Party is a bit of a hodge-podge of an album, but it also includes some of Bitter’s Kiss’ finest work yet.

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

The Monkees – Mystic Lake - Shakopee, Minnesota - March 14, 2019

2 April 2019

In March 2019 (and less than a month after the death of Peter Tork), The Monkees presented “The Mike & Mickey Show” in the Minneapolis area, showcasing longtime reunion holdhout Michael Nesmith and the most constant member and main voice of The Monkees, Mickey Dolenz.

American Football - LP3

American Football - LP3 (Polyvinyl Records)

29 March 2019

LP3 excitedly shatters the notion of expectation in American Football, blurring their legacy into a foreign concept.

Murray A. Lightburn

Murray A. Lightburn - Hotel Café, Los Angeles – March 8, 2019

22 March 2019

Murray A. Lightburn from The Dears performed an intimate acoustic show at the Hotel Café in Los Angeles to promote his latest solo album Hear Me Out.

Sleaford Mods and Vulpynes - The Academy - Dublin, Ireland - Friday, February 7

17 March 2019

Jason Williamson and Andrew Fearn strip music to the barest of bones – a skeletal rhythm track and a forceful vocal attack.

Matmos - Plastic Anniversary

Matmos - Plastic Anniversary (Thrill Jockey)

15 March 2019

Matmos’s newest effort broadens their toolkit considerably, featuring all things plastic from silicone gel breast implants to PVC pipes.

Kevin Thomas Band - A New Heart (Self-Released)

15 March 2019

A New Heart doesn’t quite live up to the work of Thomas’ influences, but he certainly does a fantastic job following in their footsteps, creating a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

In Flames - album cover

In Flames - Knitting Factory, Boise – March 13, 2019

14 March 2019

Mere days after the Boise outpost of Michael Dorf’s dwindling Knitting Factory franchises reopened after a fire tore down most of the structure last fall, what heavy-metal band took the stage to help rechristen the venue? In Flames, of course.

Ivor Lane - Postplay (Self-Released)

13 March 2019

Postplay subverts the past, invents the future, and refuses to rest in the present, thus becoming something which stands to become a minor classic in its own right.

Kikagaku Moyo

Kikagaku Moyo with The Mattson 2 – The Regent - Los Angeles - March 6, 2019

10 March 2019

Tokyo psychedelic ensemble Kikagaku Moyo played to a capacity crowd at the Regent last Wednesday with support from The Mattson 2.

Post Death Soundtrack - It Will Come Out Of Nowhere (Self-Released)

8 March 2019

It Will Come Out of Nowhere is the inspired rejuvenation of a band whose vision and voice will always outlast any interpersonal changes.

Daggerplay - Subterranean Reality (Self-Released)

3 March 2019

Subterranean Reality isn’t groundbreaking, revolutionary punk, but nevertheless it’s punk at the highest caliber and of a quality that will even rival the band’s heroes.

Necrot - Ignacio Orellana

Necrot - Neurolux (Boise) – February 27, 2019

28 February 2019

Featuring heavily dissonant riffs laden with death-metal vocals, Necrot gave a blitzkrieg of a performance that alternately dizzied and tizzied the club crowd.

Andy Gill from Gang of Four

Gang of Four – The Roxy - Los Angeles - February 6, 2019

13 February 2019

Post-punk legends Gang of Four brought their influential blend of funk, disco and noise-rock to the Roxy last week. Founding guitarist Andy Gill led the band through a propulsive set that mixed newer material with classics from the band’s early years.

Michael Chapman - True North (Paradise of Bachelors)

8 February 2019
At 78, Chapman, in fact, has proven himself as influential as his better-known contemporaries, enjoying a recent reissue campaign and leaving a mark on recent folk rockers like Steve Gunn, Cian Nugent and Ryley Walker.

The J. & F. Band - From The Roots To The Sky (Long Song Records)

7 February 2019

From The Roots To The Sky is a challenging listen to say the least, but the high level of skill from the performers and the hidden depths it conceals also make it one of the most rewarding.

Ralph Alessi - Imaginary Friends (ECM)

6 February 2019

The brassman pulls off a neat trick on this record: being faithful to jazz tradition whilst not falling to the traditionalist trap.

Neon Music

Club FOXES Presents: Life on Mars - Fais Do-Do (L.A.) – Jan. 31, 2019

5 February 2019

The musical legacy of 1970s glam rock was celebrated last Thursday at the Fais Do-Do in Los Angeles, as guest singers performed classics from the era accompanied by a solid house band.

Heather Gruber - Dance Into The Desert (Self-Released)

5 February 2019

Dance Into The Desert is a remarkable debut album which encloses a large amount of craft and attention to detail within a deceivingly modest pop format.