Tag Archive: “Columbia”

This is Past Sounds. Every Friday Ghettoblaster Magazine is looking back and finding great music from various eras. Below are songs that sound great no matter what decade they’re played in. So strap in as we take a musical journey, back in time.

Billy Bragg – “Levi Stubbs’ Tears” (Talking With the Taxman About Poetry, Elektra Records) 1986

From the opening, slowly strummed guitar chords of “Levi Stubbs’ Tears” it is apparent the listener is in for a sad and beautifully told tale from Billy Bragg. The next few minutes are just that: beautiful and emotional, culminating in the line “he puts a hole in her body where no hole should be”. This song is taken from Bragg’s exquisite album Talking With the Taxman About Poetry, which finds him at peak performance throughout. As is the case with “Levi Stubbs’ Tears” the album focuses largely on just clean straightforward and expertly played guitar and poetic, political and wonderfully sung lyricism.  Levi Stubbs was the lead singer of The Four Tops and in the song is the only constant comfort for the protagonist as they deal with abandonment, injury and abuse.  “Levi Stubbs’ Tears” actually features more varied instrumentation than most other songs on the album, while still remaining such a minimalistic, yet incredibly dynamic song. It’s an epic journey worth going on and the final act of the song, when the other instrumentation kicks in, is really breathtaking.

Lupe Fiasco – “Kick Push” (Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor, Atlantic Records) 2006

There’s nothing better than a hip hop song that features a single musical loop that you could listen to all day and never grow tired of. “Kick Push” by Lupe Fiasco is one such song and features one of the absolute best loops. It’s a pretty straightforward beat but when those magnificent horns and spacey keyboards kick in it is elevated to another level. Then that joy kicks in again, looping throughout a fantastic song about a skateboarder, which is not common material for a hip hop song. “Kick Push” tells the story of a skateboarder who has never felt that he’s belonged, except when he is skateboarding. He finds love, he gains a crew of skateboarding friends, yet the world is against him with security guards and police telling him that he doesn’t belong there. It’s a beautifully told and fantastically rapped story featuring some of the best music to be found.

Wavves – “King of the Beach” (King of the Beach, Fat Possum) 2010

It’s summer time in a year that is on pace to be the hottest year ever recorded, so how about an awesome summer jam? Wavves delivers this in spades with “King of the Beach”. It’s a raucous track just begging to be blasted out open windows and outdoor boomboxes. “King of the Beach” is also incredibly catchy and reminiscent of a rougher edged classic-era Weezer song. The vocals are strained and scratchy from a party the night before and the music is loud and unhinged ready to start the party again tonight. It’s just plain fun, which is something we could use a lot more of these days.

Paul McCartney – “Dear Boy” (RAM, Columbia) 1971

“Dear Boy” from Paul McCartney’s great solo album Ram is a really special song. McCartney begins by singing a nice melody over beautiful keyboards, slowly introducing some absolutely stunning vocal harmonies and a really nice instrumental breakdown. This song is real short and real sweet and deserves a write up that does the same. Just listen to it.

Big Boi – “Shine Blockas” feat Gucci Mane (Sir Lucious Left Foot: Son of Chico Dusty, Def Jam) 2010

Big Boi is one half of the stellar hip hop duo Outkast and is legendary for his lightning fast and smooth delivery, often times switching up speeds and rhythmic pattern several times throughout verses. Sir Lucious Left Foot: Son of Chico Dusty finds Big Boi in solo album territory and he delivers a solid onslaught of an album over 15 tracks and nearly an hour of soulful southern hip hop.  “Shine Blockas” comes toward the end of the album and feels like a triumphant victory lap.  There’s a soulful vocal sample, some awesome southern tinged organs and great keyboards all over a delightfully choppy beat and some great low end bass.  It’s a master’s level class in hip hop music and Big Boi does not disappoint when it comes to his vocal delivery, showing what really makes him a special rapper.  He is joined by Gucci Mane who fits right in with the music and adds a fun element to the track.  This is another great song for summer parties and it is so good and joyful that it never gets old.

Every Monday (in this case Tuesday because of the holiday), Ghettoblaster is looking back to new albums released the previous week.  Below you’ll find several albums released on Friday July 1st that we believe are definitely worth a listen.

Maxwell – blackSUMMERS’night (Columbia)

blackSUMMERS’night, the first album from Maxwell in the past seven years, is an elegant and challenging soulful R&B album of epic proportions. Maxwell’s voice soars and croons, sometimes beautifully soft and sometimes grainy, building both comfort and conflict over the course of the album.  Musically, the album mirrors what Maxwell does with his voice.  Intricately placed puzzle pieces of sound are perfectly combined to create these moments of beauty and conflict.  Most songs find incredible live drums and bass settling into fantastic grooves, with different movements of horns or strings or guitar.  Some songs are hypnotic in their complexity, while some revel in simplicity.  It really is a very special album, which has been seven years in the making.  Obviously, it was time well spent for Maxwell and company.


Stephen Steinbrink – Anagrams (Melodic Records)

Anagrams is Stephen Steinbrink’s seventh full length album and it finds the songwriter producing some of the lushest songs of his career. Lyrically, the album is incredibly personal, focusing on struggles with addiction and mental illness.  Steinbrink says of working on this album “Lately writing songs almost makes me feel like I’m losing it, like I keep digging up and reburying the same old bone;” while this sounds like it could result in a depressing album the effect is actually the opposite.  These are wonderfully joyous songs, upbeat and poppy in the best possible way.  There are shades of Lindsey Buckingham in Steinbrink’s vocal delivery, which mixes with the music beautifully.  The songs kind of sound like Jon Brion producing a Real Estate album, which means these songs are beautiful and bright and jangle along.  Stephen Steinbrink has pushed through the maddening monotony to produce one of the most enjoyable albums of the year thus far.


Blood Orange – Freetown Sound (Domino)

Dev Hynes music as Blood Orange is, for better or worse, stuck in the 80s. Amongst all of the 80s nostalgia happening in music these days none of it sounds like it actually belongs in the 80s like Blood Orange does.  Again, this is for better or worse.  At times the music soars and is made modern by different vocal deliveries, while at other times it embraces the cheese maybe a little too heavy handedly.  This is all subjective, of course and really depends on the listeners sensibilities.  Objectively speaking, the music he puts together is expertly crafted.  Smooth synths and intricate beats mix with breathy vocals and take you back in time in a mesmerizing way.  Freetown Sound is the most ambitious album that Blood Orange has produced and really is impossible to ignore.


Martha – Blisters in the Pit of My Heart (Dirtnap Records)

Blisters in the Pit of My Heart is the sophomore album from English pop-punk quartet Martha and it finds them honing in on their sound, which results a more cohesive and even better album than their debut. The songs on Blisters in the Pit of My Heart are aggressive and punchy, with incredibly poppy, soaring choruses.  Martha has both male and female vocalists, which is a nice mix and keeps the album even more interesting throughout.  All of these elements work wonderfully together and are anchored by Martha’s best weapon: the guitar riffs.  Blisters in the Pit of My Heart is chock full of powerful and just awesome guitar riffs, making this a true joy for fans of ‘guitar albums.’  Overall, if you’re in the mood for some real solid pop-punk with riffs galore, Martha has the album for you.

Other Notable Releases:

Terry – Terry HQ (Upset the Rhythm)


Broken Beak – Some Nerve (Near Mint Records)

Every Monday, Ghettoblaster is looking back to new albums released the previous week.  Below you’ll find several albums released on Friday April 1st that we believe are definitely worth a listen.


Elzhi – Lead Poison (GLOW365 LLC)

Detroit rapper Elzhi takes us back in time with his new album, Lead Poison, which is heavily inspired by 90s hip-hop. This makes sense as Elzhi made his start in the late 90s with rap group Slum Village. He’s been recording solo albums for several years now and Lead Poison is one of his finest. The beats are solid loops and the emphasis here is on fantastic lyricism and stellar flows. Overall, it’s a melancholy affair focusing on storytelling rap with occasional turns to the surreal.  Apparently this album was actually released on March 25th but it slipped under the radar and we wanted to cover it anyway.

Tancred – Out of the Garden (Polyvinyl)

From the beginning riff of opener “Bed Case” to the fading guitar distortion of closer “Pretty Girls,” Tancred brings us a hugely enjoyable power pop ride with Out of the Garden. Comparisons to Weezer and The Breeders abound in the best possible way. The choruses are catchy, the music is loud and each song is a joy to listen to.

Tacocat – Lost Time (Hardly Art)

Lost Time is a strange, yet super fun listen. The album opens with a track titled “Dana Katherine Scully,” an ode to the character from The X-Files, and the clever humor never wavers throughout. This is an album that inspires as much head bobbing as it does laughing as the music is very well executed power pop. There are some definite heavy parts, both musically and lyrically, but even in these moments Tacocat’s wonderful sense of wit is present.

Laura Gibson – Empire Builder (City Slang)

Empire Builder is a beautiful singer-songwriter album with pop song structures and occasional shades of country. Laura Gibson alternates largely between pop songs, which contain interesting percussion and perfectly produced string arrangements, and slow burning folk songs with introspective lyrics and country influences. The mix between these two styles makes for an unpredictable and endlessly interesting listen.  She is also featured in the most recent issue of Ghettoblaster, out now!

Other Noteworthy Albums

This week was so full of great albums we couldn’t cover them all!  Below you’ll find other noteworthy albums to check out.

Frankie Cosmos – Next Thing (Bayonet Records)


Black Mountain – IV (Jagjaguwar)


Mike and the Melvins – Three Men and a Baby (Sub Pop)


Autolux – Pussy’s Dead (Columbia)


Nine Inch Nails will debut their new single “Came Back Haunted” this Thursday, June 6. The track will impact at radio at 11:30am PST/2:30pm EST. It will be the first to surface from the bands coming new album, which will be released later this year on Columbia Records.