Saturday, November 26th, 2005

Music With Heart

I want to take this opportunity to congratulate one of my very favourite publications, The Big Takeover, on (finally) giving their website the overhaul it so richly deserved and desperately needed. What had been little more than a holding page and pointer to their online subscription form is now an impressive blog hub, with journals from almost a dozen magazine contributors. They’ve only been online for a week or so, but it looks like there’ll be a steady stream of reviews, editorials and features as well as, hopefully, content from the magazine. There’s also a weekly top 10 feature that should provide no shortage of worthy listening reccomendations.

Since I first picked up BTO about five years ago and was immediately struck by how different it was from most everything else on the newsstand. First, it was about five times the thickness and secondly, their coverage seemed immune to trend-following – they covered what they liked, fashion be damned, using their tagline (and this post’s title) as a manifesto. The enthusiasm and passion of the writers is evident on every page and it also translates in the interviews – the artists usually respond to to the sincere interest of their interviewers, resulting in insightful and candid conversations that can be light years away from the usual talking points you find in many music publications. It was inspiring to read journalism that didn’t feel influenced by PR or advertiser pressures, and I daresay that it’s been an inspiration to me as a music hack. All respect to EIC and founder Jack Rabid, who has been fighting the good fight for a quarter century now.

Their new issue should be out any week now, and features Death Cab For Cutie on the cover. Okay, that goes a little against what I was saying about them being immune to trends, but come on – any magazine that’d put a big ugly closeup of Bob Pollard on their cover deserves some credit for not pandering. And vote for The Big Takeover in the Plug Awards – they’re nominated in the “Zine Of The Year”.

Billboard talks to Jeff Tweedy about the latest incarnation of Wilco, Kicking Television and gives a progress report on the new album. also has a brief interview (Bugmenot).

Thanks go to Torr for directing me to this BBC broadcast, which features an interview with Rachel Goswell of Mojave 3 about 4AD’s 25th anniversary and a couple of more tracks from the forthcoming new album, due out next March (the M3 segment starts around 20:40). I will echo Torr’s sentiments that the new Mojave 3 record is at the very top of my most eagerly anticipated records for ’06.

And related – My Mean Magpie brings attention to Sarah Hepburn, formerly of Glorybox. Sarah’s Stars & Haze, which was produced by Neil Halstead and features performances from several Mojave 3-ers. He has a link to a video from the record – it’s interesting, not at all Mojave-like.

The story of Rogue Wave, as told to Chart. Rogue Wave are at the Horseshoe tomorrow night.

Rolling Stone enumerates the best DVD releases of the year.

Sony follows up their rootkit fiasco by invading San Francisco with bouncy balls. IS THERE NO DEPTH TO WHICH THESE PEOPLE WON’T SINK?!? Make sure to check out the making of clip as well.

np – David Bowie / Low

By : Frank Yang at 10:15 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. A Soundtrack for Everyone says:

    Good call on BTO, it’s such a good magazine… great for learning about interesting new music. The website should help keep the mag up with "trend" things, so the mag can keep it’s digest feel hopefully.

  2. matthew says:

    Hear hear on the big BTO ups! Hopefully the new web threads will ensnare more readers.

  3. Mark says:

    Much agreed about BTO’s new website. There’s been a very active BTO discussion list on Yahoogroups for 6-1/2 years now (started in Jan. ’99), but it’s great that Jack has finally decided to revive the rarely-updated website with new, fresh content. BTO really needed a stronger Web presence, and hopefully this is a start…

    And lest anyone suspects BTO of jumping on the Death Cab bandwagon with their latest cover, I will recount trudging 30 miles up the NJ Turnpike in a raging blizzard to join Jack (who himself trudged there from Manhattan) at a half-empty Maxwell’s in Hoboken to see Death Cab back in Feb. ’01…he’s no recent convert, that’s for sure!

    Finally, kudos to Chromewaves for having just about the best music taste of any blog out there! Always enjoy checking in…you sure have a killer record collection!

  4. claire says:

    ditto to everything said above–thanks for the heads-up. i am always grateful for the coverage the BTO gives under-the-radar favorites of mine, and exposed me to so many other bands i’d never hear of otherwise. it’s impressive how their interviews (esp. the rabid-led ones) detour into digressions about musical arcana, but it’s never snobby or show-offy. dude just loves music.
    also, hope that any other american readers of chromewaves had a good thanksgiving.

  5. Eric Grubbs says:

    I’m glad the BTO site got revamped. I was getting a little tired of reading about Jack’s favorite records of 2003 for years and years . . . :-)

    Seriously, this is one of the best mags you can find on music. It’s written by fans for fans. They know we’re out there and they know what hardcore fans and newcomers want to know.

  6. Thierry says:

    I agree with what everyone said about the Big Takeover – great mag, nice to see the website finally updated, probably the best interviews in the business. Who else in this day and age can devote nearly 20 pages over two issues to a single interview (the Jeff Tweedy pieces in the last two issues). Also, the Brian Wilson interview that got me hooked to the mag 5 or 6 years ago remains one of the best ones I’ve ever read. And while I don’t always agree with Jack’s Top 40, I trust his taste and his knowledge more than most current music writers…

  7. Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover says:

    To Frank
    A friend of mine pointed me to the kind words you posted about both me and our 25-year publication and our new website at It was really an honor to read that I/we in any way inspired you as a journalist, as I could want nothing more from working. Thank you so very much for being so incredibly kind and I want to in turn commend you for one heck of a web site and impeccable taste to boot. It’s doubly exciting to think that "fighting the good fight" as you said could in any way help lead to something so thorough and informative. Anyone plugging Rogue Wave and Slowdive in the same week is a man whose ears are as fine as his prose. Full speed on sir, and thank you again for making my week.
    Jack Rabid
    editor and publisher
    The Big Takeover

  8. Matthew Berlyant says:

    Thanks for making my week, too! I’m a writer for both the online and print version of The Big Takeover and it’s really great to read about all the love for the magazine from both you and all of the other commenters.

    Check out my column and Top 10 list here: