Tag Archive: “Don Giovanni”

Ithaca, NY rapper/producer Sammus releases her new album Pieces in Space on Don Giovanni Records debut LP October 28, 2016. Recorded at Ampliphonic Studios with Sosa – the audio engineer behind projects from Homeboy Sandman, Aesop Rock, and Kemba, among others – the album weaves raw confessions, pro-weirdo anthems, and clever musings on modern life into a unique story about black womanhood. The sound of Pieces is as eclectic as its story: Sammus’ production swings from laid-back and melodic to bright and bouncy. While her flow is just as varied, it’s her unrelenting urgency that ties Pieces together.

Armed with guest appearances from rap legends Jean Grae, Homeboy Sandman, and Open Mike Eagle, her Don Giovanni labelmate Izzy True, as well as Brooklyn up-and-comer Latasha Alcindor, this project aims to establish Sammus as one of the great MCs, beat makers, and thinkers of this politically charged moment.


Welcome to Future Sounds! Every Wednesday Ghettoblaster brings you a handful of singles from upcoming albums to excite and entice your ears. Below you’ll find songs that really stand out as essential listening. So please sit back, relax and treat yourself to some seriously great music.

Izzy True – “Total Body Erasure” (Don Giovanni)

From the moment the cowbell rings and the classic guitar line screeches to a start in the opening second of “Total Body Erasure” you know you’re in for a treat.  Izzy True  is fronted by Isabel Reidy, whose vocal performance propels this truly awesome classic rock n’ roll song.  There is desperation and confusion over the surreal lines in the song, including “You in your power, be my beautiful alien savior, let loose that beam, give me total body erasure.”  Even with the great vocal performance and standout lyricism, the music does not take a back seat.  Built around a classic guitar riff and upbeat propelling drums, the song soars along and really ends too soon.  Izzy True has their debut full length album, Nope, coming out 8-5 via Don Giovanni.  Mark your calendars.

Mallrat – “For Real”

Mallrat is a 16 year old girl from Australia who makes enjoyable pop music where she flows between singing and rapping effortlessly.  She has released her debut EP, Uninvited in Australia, but there are no details on an American release as of yet.  Her most recent single “For Real” finds her singing a catchy song about everyday love over a solid beat and a great 80s inspired keyboard line.  Mallrat has said she isn’t sure if this is a happy or sad song about love.  “For Real” contains the lyrics “When you smile for real, it makes me smile for real” and “Didn’t even want to die once this week,” which emphasize this struggle between feeling happy and sad when being in love.  This is the type of song from an up and coming artist that makes you want to pay attention.

Angel Olsen – “Shut Up Kiss Me” (Jagjaguwar)

Angel Olsen is one of the more interesting singer-songwriters currently making music.  She is an artist who exists in dualities.  There is her soft and contemplative side filled with beautiful passages of music.  “Shut Up Kiss Me” displays the other side of Angel Olsen, the more urgent and aggressive side.  This is the second single from her upcoming album My Woman, which comes out 9-2 on Jagjaguwar.  Fittingly, My Woman is split up into an A side and a B side, with the front half containing this song and other more rocking songs.  Olsen also directed the accompanying video, which finds her going from an insistent lover making demands of a partner to seemingly losing it a little bit, all while in a roller skating rink.  It’s a fun video of a really stand out track.

Golden Suits – “Is it Wrong” (Hit City U.S.A.)

Fred Nicolaus, one half of the indie pop duo Department of Eagles, is back with a new single from his solo project Golden Suits.  “Is it Wrong” finds Nicolaus going for a very classic, very poppy sound, which focuses on a big chorus and very uplifting folky feel overall.  Nicolaus has described the new direction of his songwriting for “Is it Wrong” in the following way: “I’ve spent so much time writing restrained mid-tempo folky ballads that I started to get bored of tiptoeing around the margins of good taste–I wanted to write a song that was big and direct and could potentially faceplant. Like a fastball-down-the-middle-of-the-plate, Bruce-Springsteen-waving-an-American-flag-on-a-mountain type of song.”  There is no word yet on a release date for a follow up album on Hit City U.S.A.


Jidenna – “Little Bit More” (Epic Records)

Mr. “Classic Man” himself Jidenna is back with another single off of his highly anticipated upcoming release Long Live the Chief, which is out sometime in the near future from Epic Records.  “Little Bit More” finds Jidenna in total Island mode, delivering a song with a classic smooth Jamaican beat and feel.  It’s got a definite steel drum sound to make this ideal for all your upcoming summer parties.  This is just a light and airy pop song where Jidenna is singing to a girl he is dancing with on the dance floor.  It’s not rocket science, but it sure results in a really enjoyable pop song.

After a few teaser tracks and an unhurried music video, Baltimore trio Outer Spaces are touring in support of A Shedding Snake.

Taking cues from Pavement, the expansive melody-driven choruses are perfectly grounded by Cara Beth Santalino’s sweetly sung yet biting lyrics, highlighted by minimalistic yet powerful harmonies a la Warpaint. Her strength as a songwriter is perfectly accompanied by bandmates Rob Dowler and Chester Gwazda, who also produced the record. “I Saw You” is a lush, catchy folk-pop song that rings true to the conflict of the desire for acceptance in a new place, while not leaving aspects of your true self behind. A lyrically biting love song gone wrong, “Words,” is set to brightly strummed guitar and poetic melody. The composition of bouncing keys, layered vocal harmonies and gritty guitar on “Eternally Fifteen” are simultaneously soothing and powerful.

Like a snake sheds its skin to grow and move forward, so has Satalino as a songwriter and performer. By taking the dynamic experiences she’s had musically, and teaming with versatile and capable collaborators, Satalino has hit a stride. Influenced by Murmur-era Michael Stipe and Peter Buck, Satalino bridges the gap from what’s in her rear view to her present. “Moving to a new place is a chance for a clean slate in a way, and I think that the songs on this record reflect that feeling,” she says. “It’s a record about moving on, moving past, moving forward, and moving toward.”

Outer Spaces Tour Dates:

5/25: Atlanta, GA @ 529

5/26: Athens, GA @ Caledonia

5/27: St. Augustine @ Follow The Sun Festival

5/28: Gainesville, FL @ The Atlantic

5/30: Pensacola, FL @ Sluggo’s

5/31: Birmingham, AL @ Desert Island Supply Co.

6/1: Oxford, MS @ The Shelter

6/2: New Orleans, LA @ Siberia

6/3: Houston, TX @ Satellite

6/4: Austin, TX @ Barracuda

6/6: Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf

6/7: Flagstaff, AZ @ Flagstaff Brewing Co.

6/10: Los Angeles, CA @ Pehrspace

6/12: San Diego, CA @ Whistlestop

6/14: San Francisco, CA @ house show

6/15: Portland, OR @ Kelly’s Olympian

6/16: Olympia, WA @ Westside Lanes

6/17: Vancouver, BC @ Horses Records

6/18: Seattle, WA @ TBA

6/20: Boise, ID @ Neurolux

6/21: Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court

6/23: Fort Collins, CO @ Surfside 7

6/24: Omaha, NE @ Milk Run

6/25: Minneapolis, MN @ Day Block Brewing Company

6/26: Chicago, IL @ Subterranean

6/27: Detroit, MI @ TBA

6/29: Toronto, ON @ Smiling Buddha (downstairs)

6/30: Montreal, QC @ Casa Del Popolo

7/1: Burlington, VT @ Arts Riot

7/2: Cambridge, MA @ Out of the Blue Too Art Gallery

7/3: New York, NY @ Shea Stadium

8/19-21: Darlington, MD @ Fields Festival

9/16-18: Asbury Park, NJ @ The New Alternative Music Festival

Welcome to Future Sounds vol. 5!

Every other week, Ghettoblaster brings you a playlist of singles from upcoming albums to excite and entice your ears.  Below you’ll find the entire playlist via Spotify as well as Playlist Highlights, which are songs that really stand out as essential listening.  So please sit back, relax and treat yourself to some seriously great music.


Outer Spaces – “I Saw You”

Outer Spaces is a new addition to the ever stellar Don Giovanni lineup, and it finds the label showcasing their softer side.  “I Saw You” is the first taste of the upcoming album A Shedding Snake and the appeal of Outer Spaces is abundantly clear over the course of this track.  This is nicely subtle but still intricate indie-rock with a wonderfully bright melodic chorus and an edge of darkness in the lyrics.  Outer Spaces cites Murmur-era Michael Stipe as an influence in songwriting and tone and the overall feel of the song is definitely reminiscent of this point of reference.  A Shedding Snake is out 5-27 via Don Giovanni.

Twin Peaks – “Holding Roses”

There is nothing quite like a great classic pop-rock song and straight out of the gate “Holding Roses” seems to be taken from a playlist of seminal classics.  Twin Peaks have crafted an immensely catchy gem with this song, combining smooth guitar riffs, clanking piano and a soaring chorus that will pop back into your head days later.  “Holding Roses” is the third taste they have provided from their upcoming album Down in Heaven, out on 5/13 via Grand Jury, and is definitely the best song of the bunch so far.


Islands – “The Joke”

Ever since Nick Diamonds appeared on the scene as a member of The Unicorns there has been something special about his songwriting ability.  He has been able to endure some big stylistic changes over the years, releasing albums in the band Islands as well as under the name Nick Diamonds.  Islands is now prepping two albums to be simultaneously released by Manque Music on 5/13.  The two albums find Islands showing off two different styles in which they thrive.  Taste will be the more synth driven pop-rock record, while Should I Remain Here at Sea? will focus on straightforward guitar driven pop-rock.  Islands has released several singles in pairs of twos over the course of the last couple months, but “The Joke” from Taste sticks out from the bunch.  This is a very catchy, very dance-able song with a synth line straight out of The Good the Bad and the Ugly.  All of the singles from both albums have been stellar thus far making this duo of albums a definite must listen in May.


Car Seat Headrest – “Fill in the Blank”

Teens of Denial is already set to send Car Seat Headrest into indie rock superstardom.  Critics from all over the map have been heaping immense praise on the album for weeks now.  Most noticeably the crew at NPR’s All Songs Considered, as well as the folks at Stereogum, have essentially said it is one of the best rock albums in a while, and thus far Car Seat Headrest has been proving them right with single after single of solid rock music.  “Fill in the Blank” is the opening track of Teens of Denial and is a wonderful start and stop catchy rock song that is most fun to listen to when turned up really loud.  Teens of Denial is out 5/20 via Matador.


KAYTRANADA – “Glowed Up” feat. Anderson Paak

KAYTRANADA has been collaborating on other artists’ songs for a long time and is finally set to drop his debut album 99.9% on 5/6 via XL.  “Glowed Up” finds KAYTRANADA tapping into the unstoppable force of energy of 2016, otherwise known as Anderson Paak, who has been collaborating on tracks with almost everyone and also released one of the best albums of the year thus far with Malibu.  Despite the already countless really good tracks Paak has been on, “Glowed Up” may be the best yet as it essentially two fantastic tracks in one.  The first part finds Paak rapping expertly over dreamy synth layers.  All of a sudden about halfway into the song, the music drastically changes and so does Paak’s delivery.  The synths now settle into a deep groove and Paak once again proves his double threat vocal status as he beautifully croons out the rest of the song.  This is an exciting song, which reveals more of itself with each repeated listen, and also makes the upcoming album from KAYTRANADA something to look forward to.


PAWS – “No Grace”

PAWS is a pop-punk trio from Scotland who are prepping their debut album No Grace, which is out 6/17 on FatCat Records.  The song “No Grace” is one of the catchiest and best examples of a top notch pop-punk song.  It’s loud and fast and the vocals fly along at a incredibly fast pace, culminating in a catchy, heavy chorus.  Perhaps the most fun tidbit about PAWS and their upcoming album is that it was produced by Blink 182’s Mark Hoppus, which is evident in the overall sound of the track.  This is seriously good pop-punk music arriving just in time for the sunny days of summer.


Full Playlist



California X (photo by Ricky Adam)
California X (photo by Ricky Adam)

Released January 13 via Don Giovanni Records, California X’s latest effort both delivers on the promises of their eponymous debut, and dives deeper into influences that draw from ’70s to ’90s guitar heroes. Scuzzy and growling with grunge rock chops, the more mature sophomore effort is heavy, lush, melodic and finds the band postured to turn the ear of even the most discerning indie rock fan.

Formed by Lemmy Gurtowsky and Dan Jones, and joined by guitarist Zach Brower and drummer Cole Lanier, the band has quickly been gaining steam in indie rock circles, including their noteable east coast locale.

“We are transplants to Amherst, Massachusetts,” Jones confessed. “Lemmy and I are originally from Connecticut and we grew up together. Lemmy is from New Jersey and Cole is from the Boston area.   We just found ourselves in Western Massachusetts in the last couple of years.”

But before the band could get off the ground, they had to catch the attention of some well-positioned champions.

“There was a label from the UK who sought us out and helped us to do a 7-inch and that’s how we originally got our music out there,” said Jones of the band’s first exposure. “Then we recorded our first full-length and sent it to Don Giovanni. We sort of knew the guys from Don Giovanni through our old drummer and playing punk shows in upstate New York, so they were a little bit familiar with us and were into it.”

“I think we were the first band on the label who weren’t from the New Jersey or New York areas,” said Brower. “It is always fun to go visit other bands from the label in those areas or Ohio on tour. We’ve really enjoyed that DIY, community atmosphere.”

Though expectations were high for the album, fears over a sophomore slump rode backseat to finding the actual time to make the album.

“We were in school and it was hard to find the time to do it,” Gurtowsky said. “But this band also had hype that was bigger than any band I’ve ever been in so we had an expectation to live up to. So we struggled to find the album that was work making and we eventually found it. It just took us longer to find out what we were going to go for.”

For any relatively young ’90s guitar rock disciple who pours heart and soul through their fingers into a fret board, comparisons to Dinosaur Jr’s J. Mascis are compliments of the highest regard and California X has received those in spades. Conversely, it allows the uninitiated, possible rock curmudgeon, to surmise ones credibility. But, without a record that delivers on the promise of that gnarly, full-tilt grind, all bets are quickly off

“We all really like Dinosaur Jr, but I’m not sure that’s the model were basing ourselves on,” Jones said.

“It’s definitely not the worst band in the world to be compared to and I think it’s an easy story to tell,” confessed Gurtowsky. “And we live in the same place and play guitar solos, so there you go. I really don’t think it is a specific influence as much as a general one. Every loud indie band isn’t trying to be Dinosaur Jr Were definitely not trying to be dismissive to those comparisons, but we like a lot of other stuff too.”

Despite well-intentioned protests, the band again enlisted the engineering expertise of Justin Pizzoferrato, who has worked with Dinosaur Jr and indie rock luminaries and noteables like Speedy Ortiz.

“We have worked with him for every recording we’ve done. We just really connected,” Jones admitted. “He has a huge influence on the quality and sound of the record.”

“I definitely went in with a hyper specific plan for the arrangements and songs our first time with him and he was great with streamlining that process,” Gurtowsky said. “But this time we allowed for more experimentation in the studio. That helped us to give the record and songs and expansiveness we didn’t find during our first recordings.”

With Pizzoferrato in their corner, the band retain the characteristic fuzzed out sound they’re recognized for, while pushing themselves to even loftier heights. And Nights In The Dark, delivers dizzying, anthemic guitar jams and power pop hooks in spades.

“I think we’ve always really wanted to do something with big loud guitars,” confessed Jones. “We wanted it to sound huge, but to also retain a pop element. It just came from that. I think for the last album we wrote a couple of songs that had an explicit vocal chorus. With this album we’ve written the songs to have big guitar melodies and choruses where the vocal melodies may have left off.

“Now we have two guitarists and we definitely make a point of connecting both guitars and interconnecting them with the vocals and melodic elements in the most seamless way possible.”