Tag Archive: “Barsuk Records”

Since the year 2000, Ghettoblaster has been putting out a quarterly print magazine.  For Ghettoblast from the Past, we look back at the bands and artists that were showcased within these pages.

From Issue 43, Barsuk Records by Laura Gibson by Tommy Johnson. Photo by Toni Skotcher.

Also from Issue 43, Joseph Airport Records Joseph Airport by Mark Toerner.  Photo by Jennifer Taylor.

Laura Gibson

To subscribe to Ghettoblaster Magazine or to pick up this issue, head over to our In Print page.

Every Monday, Ghettoblaster is looking back to new albums released the previous week.  Below you’ll find several albums released on Friday March 4th that we believe are definitely worth a listen.

Nada Surf – You Know Who You Are (Barsuk)
Power pop veterans Nada Surf have returned with one of their finest albums to date.  Back in 2012, former Guided by Voices guitarist Doug Gillard joined Nada Surf, which seems to have resulted in a continued re-energizing of the band.  This batch of songs ranges from sweet ballads to 70s inspired folk rock and beyond, all sung to perfection by Matthew Caws.  If you’re in the mood for incredibly enjoyable pop songs with a nice edge then look no further.

Kendrick Lamar – untitled unmastered (Aftermath)
Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar released arguably one of the best hip hop albums of all time last year with To Pimp a Butterfly.  He continues on in 2016 with his new release untitled unmastered, eight tracks not used for To Pimp a Butterfly.  Kendrick has already performed several of these untitled tracks live, including on the final episode of the Colbert Report and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.  These are dense, complicated, jazz heavy songs with unpredictable, master class rapping by Lamar.  This may end up being the best hip hop release of 2016, which is impressive for something that could’ve easily just been a throwaway.

Muncie Girls – From Caplan to Belsize (Animal Style Records)
English trio Muncie Girls make incredibly catchy and lyrically challenging feminist pop-punk music.  Over the course of just 30 minutes they take on misogyny, praise suffragette heroes, and give a searing indictment of a culture that seems content to forget about it all.  Musically speaking this is a tight and technical set of songs with intricate verses and soaring choruses, which reminds us just how enjoyable really well executed pop-punk can be.  From Caplan to Belsize is a truly special debut album from a talent that will be fun to watch in the future.

Big Ups – Before a Million Universes (Exploding in Sound)
Big Ups thrive on creating a dichotomous relationship between verse and chorus.  Early on in Before a Million Universes their trend of stumbling through half-sung / half-mumbled verses to get to exploding choruses is well established, yet never becomes tiresome.  Over the course of the album the comparisons pile up from Fugazi to Pavement, Melvins to the Pixies, and many others in between.  Press play, turn it up to 11, and get ready to reminisce about the good old days when you were still young enough to throw down in a mosh pit.

Adult Books – Running from the Blows (Lolipop Records)
Running from the Blows is the sort of debut album that could only have been made by a band with a true and established point of view.  Adult Books have come out of the gate steeped in 80s post-punk and have brought forth an album that sounds like the product of a one night stand between New Order and the Ramones.  The highlights are many and sprinkled throughout, which make this album a truly wonderful discovery.

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down – A Man Alive (Ribbon Music)
Over the last several years Thao Nguyen has proven to be adept at writing off-kilter pop songs.  For A Man Alive Thao handed over the producing reins to Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs, and the result is an even more fractured and muscular sound throughout.  Several styles are taken on, including an incredibly successful attempt at quasi-rapping by Thao on “Meticulous Bird”.  From start to finish, this is what expertly crafted quirky pop music can be at its highest form.

Wussy – Forever Sounds (Damnably)
Forever Sounds, the perfectly titled sixth studio album from Cincinnati band Wussy, presents an endlessly interesting collection of sounds.  These songs operate as mosaic pieces of sonic layers, combining country rock with heavy shoegaze, all while sounding like a transmission from outer space.  All that said, what really shines here is the often shimmering, always fascinating guitar work.  This could all combine for an overly dense listen, but Wussy ground their songs with expert songwriting that tell engaging stories.

It’s quite possible no one saw this coming. After the astounding success of the 1996 Rick Ocasik produced High/Low and the constant rotation of “Popular,” Nada Surf has withstood the sands of time with a career filled with pop songs unlike many other bands. 7 proper albums later, and 20 years down the road, the group returns with the first single off You Know Who You Are dropping on March 4, 2016.

These New York City boys have come a long way from that first single “The Plan/Telescope” they first sent me back in ’94 I think it was.  They stick to the formula they’ve cleverly perfected, catching those waves perfectly.


12 – Chicago, IL – Thalia Hall
13 – Minneapolis, MN – Fine Line
14 – Omaha, NE – Waiting Room
17 – Vancouver, BC – Venue
18 – Seattle, WA – Neptune Theatre
19 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
20 – San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall
21 – Los Angeles, CA – Teragram
22 – San Diego, CA – Irenic
24 – Denver, CO – Bluebird
25 – Kansas City, MO – Crossroads
27 – Austin, TX – Parish
28 – Dallas, TX – Granada
29 – Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall
1 – Washington, DC – 930 Club
2 – Philadelphia, PA – World Café Live
3 – Toronto, ON – Lee’s Palace
4 – Boston, MA – Paradise

Laura Gibson has announced her forthcoming new album Empire Builder, slated for release on April 1 via Barsuk, her second record for the label and fourth LP.   Gibson has confirmed a U.S. and European Spring tour in support of Empire Builder that kicks off March 16 in Pittsburg, PA (supporting Shearwater) and includes a stop at New York City’s Joe’s Pub where she headlines on April 9. The full tour is listed below.

Pre-order Empire Builder here:



March 16 – Pittsburgh, PA – Club Cafe*

March 17- Toronto, ON – Horseshoe Tavern *

March 18 – Ferndale, MI –The Loving Touch *

March 19 – Chicago, IL – Schubas *

March 31 –  – Atlanta, GA – Red Light Cafe

April  1- Raleigh, NC – Kings Barcade

April 2 – Washington, DC – Iota Club & Cafe

April 3 – Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s

April  8 – Providence, RI – Columbus Theatre

April  9 – New York City, NY – Joe’s Pub

April 14 – Portland, OR –The Old Church

April 15 – Seattle, WA – Fremont Abbey

April 22 – Brussels, BE – Huis 23@AB  (special solo performance)

April 23 – Utrecht, NL – Tivoli Vredenburg Cloud

April  25 – Manchester, UK – Soup Kitchen

April 26 – London, UK – Hoxton Bar & Kitchen

April 27 – Paris, FR – Point Ephemere (co-headline with Grant Lee Phillips)

April 28 – Amsterdam, NL – Tuinzaal

April 29 – Marienburg Church, NL – Nijmegen

April 30 – Gent, BE – Trefpunt

May 1 – Lessines, BE – Roots and Roses Festival

May 2 – Berlin, DE – Kantine am Berghain

May 3- Leipzig, DE – Werk 2

May 5 – Graz, AUT – Postgarage

May 6 – Vienna, AUT- Haus Der Musik


* solo dates supporting Shearwater

Ra Ra Riot have revealed the video for “Water,” from their recently announced forthcoming album, Need Your Light out February 19, 2016 on Barsuk Records.  “Water” premiered last month to rave reviews and was spun immediately by Zane Lowe on Beats1, as well as on KCRW’s “Morning Become’s Eclectic”, Sirius XMU, KEXP, WFPK and WXPN. The single also charted on Spotify’s Viral Chart and was quickly picked up by many press outlets including NME, which named it one of it’s Best New Tracks. Vampire Weekend’s Rostam, who conceived of the video, co-directed “Water” with Josh Goleman (Alabama Shakes, Skrillex, Gary Clark Jr).

“It was shot anamorphic in one day in Joshua Tree and L.A.,” says lead-singer Wes Miles.  “The concept came from Rostam, co-writer and producer of the song. We actually started talking about this video as we were still imagining and writing the story in the song. The concept of a weary hitchhiker coming out of the desert toward Los Angeles informed the final lyrics, so it really feels like an extension of the song.”

Ra Ra Riot have confirmed the first tour in support of Need Your Light.  The dates kick off March 2 at The Hollow in Albany, NY and conclude 6 weeks later in Geneva, NY at the Cracker Factory.   The band will play New York City’s Webster Hall on March 4 and The Teragram Ballroom in Los Angeles on March 24.  The full tour is listed below.  Tickets for the tour are available now.

Ra Ra Riot Tour

3/02 – Albany, NY – The Hollow

3/03 – Boston, MA – Paradise

3/04 – New York, NY – Webster Hall

3/05 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer

3/06 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club

3/08 – Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle

3/10 – Savannah, GA – Savannah Stopover Festival

3/11 – Atlanta, GA – Aisle 5

3/12 – Birmingham, AL – Saturn

3/13 – Nashville, TN – Exit In

3/15 – Houston, TX – Walter’s Downtown

3/16-18 – Austin, TX- SXSW

3/21- Phoenix, AZ – Valley Bar

3/22 – San Diego, CA – The Irenic

3/24 – Los Angeles, CA – Teragram Ballroom

3/25 – Santa Barbara, CA – Soho Restaurant & Music Club

3/27 – San Francisco, CA – The Independent

3/30 – Seattle, WA – Neumos

3/31 – Vancouver, BC – The Biltmore Cabaret

4/01 – Portland, OR – Revolution Hall

4/03 – Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge

4/04 – Denver, CO – Bluebird Theatre

4/06 – Kansas City, MO – The Riot Room

4/07 – Minneapolis, MN – Triple Rock Social Club

4/08 – Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall

4/11 – Columbus, OH – A&R Music Bar

4/12 – Millvale, PA – Mr. Small’s Theatre

4/14 – Toronto, ON – Lee’s Palace

4/15 – Montreal, QC – Bar Le Ritz

4/16 – Geneva, NY – The Cracker Factory

To commemorate his current tour with Big Freedia, Peter Michel of Hibou crafted a remix of the bounce queen’s “Excuse,” reimagining the original club banger into a gauzy pop dreamscape. The Fader premiered the track, stating, “Hibou’s addition to the track gives ‘Excuse’ a second life. It takes the heavy, bass-oriented original and makes it softer and brighter, with lush synth and airy vocals while maintaining that signature bounce sound.” 

Hibou’s tour with Big Freedia kicked off yesterday at New Orleans’ House of Blues. Following those nine dates, Hibou will continue to tour, including supports dates with EL VY, Metric, and Phantogram.

Hibou is touring in support of its self-titled debut album, out now on Barsuk Records. (Purchase on iTunes).

Hibou Fall 2015 Tour

* w/ Big Freedia

^ w/ EL VY

# w/ Metric

% w/ Phantogram

10/21 – House of Blues – Bronze Peacock – Houston, TX*

10/22 – Cambridge Room – Dallas, TX*

10/23 – The Spanish Moon – Baton Rouge, LA*

10/25 – Revolution – Ft. Lauderdale, FL*

10/26 – Jack Rabbits – Jacksonville, FL*

10/27 – The Orange Peel – Asheville, NC*

10/29 – Theatre of Living Arts – Philadelphia, PA*

10/30 – Irving Plaza – New York City, NY*

11/3 – Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR^

11/4 – Neumos – Seattle, WA^

11/6 – The Independent – San Francisco, CA^

11/8 – Troubadour – Los Angeles, CA^

11/9 – Pub Rock – Phoenix, AZ 11/12 – Limelight – San Antonio, TX 11/13 – Sidewinder – Austin, TX

11/17 – Cain’s Ballroom – Tulsa, OK#

11/18 – Marathon Music Works – Nashville, TN# 11/19 – Minglewood Music Hall – Memphis, TN#

11/20 – Bomb Factory – Dallas, TX#

11/22 – Subterranean – Chicago, IL

11/23 – Club Garibaldi – Milwaukee, WI

12/4 – Sunshine Theatre – Albuquerque, NM%

12/8 – Knitting Factory – Boise, ID%

12/9 – Knitting Factory – Spokane, WA%

12/10 – The Crocodile – Seattle, WA

1/29 – The Neptune Theatre – Seattle, WA

Hibou, the Seattle-based project of 21-year-old Peter Michel, has signed to Barsuk Records and the label will be releasing band’s self-titled debut album on September 18.

Today Stereogum debuted the album’s lead track “Dissolve,” saying “Hibou (is) a dreamy new Seattle post-punk project … (‘Dissolve’) starts out as an especially warm and friendly spin on the C86 sound – all steady pulse, luminescent guitar, and mystical whispers – before exploding into a wonderfully florid prog-rock finish that feels like an entire woodland scene bursting into a celebratory dance routine, possibly with aliens present. It’s a surprising turn that marks the song as more than just an excellent genre exercise and Hibou as more than torchbearers in a storied tradition.”

The album is the follow-up to the band’s 2013 EP Dunes.  Written, recorded and played by Peter at home in Seattle, the self-titled debut LP will feature 11 songs (including four new versions of songs from the Dunes EP) and is a lush, driving mix of ’80s inspired pop, fueled by twisting reverbed-out guitar melodies, elegant arrangements, and a love of soda, summertime nostalgia, and trips to Peter’s inspirational point in Seattle: the fittingly-named Discovery Park.

Michel got his start in the noted San Francisco indie band Craft Spells as its drummer while still in high school after ditching the traditional brick and mortar institution for an online education. He ended up spending the better part of a year touring throughout the U.S. and Europe, playing shows at night while finishing his studies during the day. He was 18 when he realized he needed to start focusing more attention on his own songs. Peter returned to Seattle and began to experiment with soundscapes and varying musical genres, all of which eventually led to the release of Dunes, his first recordings as Hibou. The EP was recorded in the walk-in closet of his apartment. Peter wrote the music, played every instrument, mixed, and self-released the EP. He then set upon self-booking a west coast tour with a loose band he assembled. More touring followed as well as press recognition from the likes of NMEPitchfork and Noisey.

Hibou will be touring across North America throughout July and August this summer, opening for Cayucas.

7/14 – Casbah – San Diego, CA

7/15 – Constellation Room – Santa Ana, CA

7/16 – Bunk House – Las Vegas, NV

7/18 – Kilby Court – Salt Lake City, UT

7/20 – Larimer Lounge – Denver, CO

7/22 – Riot Room – Kansas City, MO

7/23 – 7th Street Entry – Minneapolis, MN

7/24 – Lincoln Hall – Chicago, IL

7/25 – Loving Touch – Detroit, MI

7/26 – The Garrison – Toronto, ON

7/28 – The Hollow – Albany, NY

7/29 – Brighton Music Hall – Boston, MA

7/31 – Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY

8/01 – Boot & Saddle – Philadelphia, PA

8/03 – Rock & Roll Hotel – Washington, DC

8/05 – The Earl – Atlanta, GA

8/06 – Gasa Gasa – New Orleans, LA

8/07 – Fitzgerald’s – Houston, TX

8/08 – Three Links – Dallas, TX

8/09 – The Parish – Austin, TX

8/14 – El Rey – Los Angeles, CA

8/15 – Soho – Santa Barbara, CA

8/16 – Catalyst – Santa Cruz, CA

8/17 – The Independent – San Francisco, CA

8/20 – Electric Owl – Vancouver, BC

8/21 – Barboza – Seattle, WA


LISTEN to “Dissolve” here:

Chris Staples‘ first album for Barsuk RecordsAmerican Soft is out now and, yesterday, NPR debuted the beautifully strange video “Hold Onto Something” directed by Spencer Gentz. Gentz asked the three stars of the “Hold Onto Something” video to memorize and recite the song’s lyrics at triple speed to create a trance-like delivery of the song’s beautiful hook.

Catch Staples on tour with Manchester Orchestra in late fall.

10/31/14 – Memphis, TN – New Daisy Theatre

11/04/14 – Austin, TX – Scoot Inn

11/06/14 – Mesa, AZ – Mesa Arts Center

11/07/14 – Los Angeles, CA – Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever

11/08/14 – West Hollywood, CA – Troubadour

12/03/14 – Chicago, IL – Irish American Heritage Center

12/06/14 – Philadelphia, PA – Temple Performing Arts Center

12/07/14 – New Haven, CT – Center Church on the Green

12/08/14 – Somerville, MA – Arts At The Armory

12/09/14 – Brooklyn, NY – The Bell House

12/11/14 – Charleston, SC – Memminger Auditorium

12/12/14 – Durham, NC – Hayti Heritage Center

12/13/14 – McMinnville, TN – Volcano Room of Cumberland Cavern

**All Dates With Manchester Orchestra