The Big Takeover

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Below are reviews of new releases that, due to exotic reasons we can't reveal, didn't make it into the latest issue of The Big Takeover.

absinthe blind music for security
ryan adams heartbreaker
alchemysts and simeon simeon and the alchemysts
aloha that's your fire
amber asylum songs of sex and death
barnes and barnes yeah, the best of...
bedhead/macha macha loved bedhead loved macha split CD
beulah emma blowgun's last stand EP
bevel turn the furnace on (Jagjaguwar)
blek ink blek ink
blur the best of
boy sets fire boy sets fire
bright full negative (or) breaks
richard buckner the hill
buffalo tom asides from buffalo tom (1988-99)
clem snide your favorite music
coldplay parachutes
damon & naomi with ghost
the drum (f/k/a china drum) diskin
echoboy volume 2
elf power vainly clutching at phantom limbs
em electramagic
the explosion flash flash flash
sue p. fox light matches, spark lives
fucking champs iv
m. gira the somniloquist
goldfrapp felt mountain
david grubbs the spectrum between
hepcat push 'n shove
dan hicks and hot licks beatin' the heat
ian hunter once bitten twice shy
the icarus line "fuck the scene" 7"
the incredible leroy moses growing up clean in america ep
international airport nothing we can control
japancakes self titled ep
jayhawks smile
king black acid loves a long song
jess klein draw them near
knotworking knotworking
lancaster county prison death waltz 2000
susan langille and loren mazzacane connors 1987-1989
leatherface horsebox
like wow burn, world, burn
loose lips talkin' trash
the mabels the closest people
mandible chatter measuring the marigolds
mascott follow the sound
mates of state my solo project
matt pond pa measure
the mendoza line we're all in this alone
the mermen the amazing california health and happiness road show
mint 400 intercomfort
monroe mustang deavonden091099
noonday underground self-assembly
the no-wto combo live from the battle in seattle
phineas gage reconsidered
pinetop seven bringing home the last great strike
plena libre mas libre
pram the museum of imaginary animals
proudentall what's happening here
radio 4 the new song and dance
rancid rancid
royal trux pound for pound
satanic surfers going nowhere fast
senor coconut y su conjunto el baile aleman
anoushka shankar anourag
shelter when 20 summers pass
silkworm lifestyle
sixteen deluxe vision take me, make me, never forsake me
16 horsepower secret south
the softies holiday in rhode island
speedbuggy usa cowboys and aliens
starling sustainer
starmarket four hours light
superdrag in the valley of the dying stars
superjaded an inch below e
sybarite music for a film
tabla beat science tala matrix
terry scott taylor avocado faultline
tension war cry
tom tom club the good the bad and the funky
tracker ames
12 rods separation anxieties
t.m. walsh we spend our days
wiskey biscuit santa ana river delta blues
richard youngs sapphie
v. majestic dynamic alloy
various blue haze (songs of jimi hendrix)
various burnt marshmallows & teeny bikinis
various take me home; a tribute to john denver
volcano the bear the one burned ma
vostock 6 swinghammer

mandible chatter measuring the marigolds (Russell)
(by Greg Weeks) Atop this CD was slapped a post-it note with the following shorthand: "Hope you like what happens when an ambient-industrial duo decide to return to their pop & folk roots!" Really, the new Mandible Chatter is a shockingly formal travelogue through the innocence of late-'60s, pop-besmirched folk-psych. That the duo of Neville Harson and Grant Miller cover a Mimi and Richard Farina track ("Children Of Darkness") is a clear indication that the recent shift towards all things folk in today's music culture has impacted even those acts furthest from folk's axis on the sonic spectrum. MC do the form no disservice, exerting a firm grasp on the milkier aspects of the genre, while showing a bit more edge on stranger, more baroque numbers like "Signposts On The Sea." Mostly charming, the 15 songs included here are lovely evocations of a bygone era whose musical legacy, thankfully, lives on in the hearts of many. (542 Filbert St., S.F., CA 94133;

mascott follow the sound (Le Grand Magistery)
(by Arye Dworken) Follow the Sound is a pleasant enough album, but not in a satisfactory sense. For instance, a doctor told a friend of mine that she was pleasantly plump; Follow the Sound isn't pleasant like that. On the contrary, I would call this album emaciated. The music is so hushed that I wondered how Kendall Meade (aka Mascott) stayed awake while recording it. She reportedly said that producer Jim O'Rourke asked her to sing more casually and avoid "vocal Olympics" -- it doesn't mean she should lay supine in the training room! Five songs in, I was disinterested, until "Costume Ball" showed signs of true effort. This is perfect music if you're looking for vulnerable non-threatening/non-challenging tunes. Meade has such a precious ethereal voice when she chooses to use it. When she does, maybe then I will be willing to follow...

mates of state my solo project (Omnibus)
(by Kerwin So) It takes a lot of guts to open your debut LP with a teenage girl singing the "Cheers" TV theme song with all the gusto her off-key pipes can muster. Does this San Francisco-by-way-of-Lawrence, KS duo pull it off? Not quite. This cute couple wraps sweet pop melodies in boy/girl vocals, an old analog Yamaha organ, and ambitious drumming in much the same vein as new-wave emo pals The Anniversary. But unlike that group, the Mates' vocals aren't smooth like butter; rather, they tend to blare and occasionally even conflict. The song structures are solid though, and a couple of songs even take me back to the heyday of the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System. Next time, Mates of State might want to think about turning the vocal tracks down a little. (P.O. Box 330513, S.F., CA 94133;

matt pond pa measure (File 13)
(by Paul Regelbrugge) The pervasive presence of cello and a male voice that perpetually teeters on but never tips over the brink of weeping guarantees the melancholic vibe in which I always find solace. Gratefully, the mood is never overwrought, and the songs boast just enough of a structured pop sensibility that Matt Pond PA scores well on its second record. In fact, I liken this in scope and effect to -- though not quite on a par with -- two of my favorite American pop records of the past few years: The Ropers' fantastic Revolver and Dwindle's Days Away. There are some wonderful guitar melodies, often speaking instead of giving actual voice to sobering effect, and when Pond elevates the energy on "The Hollows" and "It's Over," you'll realize that you have a damn fine autumnal record. (P.O. Box 2302, Philadelphia, PA 19103)

the mendoza line we're all in this alone (Bar/None/Mizra)
(by Tucker Petertil) Hailing from Athens, Georgia, Mendoza Line is made up of three women and four men, and they've come up with a record that's almost a rock opera built around the relations between the sexes. Their words would have you believe that there are all sorts of backbiting and name-calling going on within the band, but I get the distinct feeling that it's all a concept. Indie-pop music this well thought out and superbly performed can't be come from conflict, even if it's only rock 'n' roll. The group's previous two albums and EP have been sleepers -- the kind of music that creeps up on you and lodges itself in your subconscious before it makes its way to your heart. "We're All in This Alone" is full of the kind of clever wordplay, tasty melodies, and subtle irresistibility that puts the band in the same league as Belle and Sebastian and Yo La Tengo. (P.O. Box 1704, Hoboken, NJ 07030)

the mermen the amazing california health and happiness road show (Mesa/Bluemoon)
(by Tucker Petertil) Led by guitarist and surfer Jim Thomas and billed as a cross between Dick Dale and punk rock, The Mermen are actually a lot more progressive. The group's latest release finds the San Francisco trio wisely distancing itself from the whole surf/punk genre and setting off on a path more lush and ambient. While there is still some surf essence to be found, The Mermen take up a position somewhere nearer Calexico and The Friends of Dean Martinez. A lot of this latest disc throws in influences from all over. There're eastern-sounding jams that sound a bit like Paul Butterfield's second album, back when Mike Bloomfield was alive and well. Then there're some dreamy slow instrumentals. But all in all, this is a great piece of instrumental guitar rock unconstrained by labels and borders. (23 W. 53rd St., 11th Fl., N.Y., NY 10010)

mint 400 intercomfort (Vile Beat)
(by Tucker Petertil) Named after an auto race that takes place in Las Vegas, England's Mint 400 plays around with a variety of rock styles, from noisy, burning scorchers in a generic metal-pop style to Pink Floyd-like velvety songscapes. The CD starts off with one of the weakest songs, a nondescript piece of screaming life that echoes the worst excesses of British rock (think Pop Will Eat Itself or Gaye Bikers On Acid). Mint 400 has better up-tempo songs, but the best tunes are the slower, vast, Floydian ones that show off a contemplative side. Unfortunately, this is too uneven an effort, sandwiching luxuriant moody pieces next to Ministry like onslaughts that you just want to skip over. They'd be a better band if they just dropped their thrash side and concentrated on the lusher atmospherics. (P. O. Box 42462, Washington, DC 20015;