Tag Archive: “Joyful Noise Recordings”

Another Friday Roll Out(!) and what else is there? Hectic week, annoyances, and running into people I don’t want to see which is just plain ol’ happenstance. But I think about Thaione Davis and a line he spit where he said “Music is my salvation, it’s the minimum, it’s how I cope. It’s how I raise my folk.” So yeah, sometimes there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve engrossed myself in music but sometimes life takes over and detracts from the tasks I’ve tried to place in front of me. Politics are raging around me and I’ll tune it all out with a handful of albums that have been released this week because, well, it is the Friday Roll Out(!) after all.

Why? Um no, it ain’t a question, it’s a band. There’s a bit of insanity that comes to mind when anyone brings up Why? who is (a.) an anomaly, (b.) was an individual rapper, and (c.) now, is a band.  I think back to the Why?’s early 2000 releases, whose style I gravitated to when he rapped. And then things changed. Jonathan “Yoni” Wolf enlisted his brother Josiah , Doug McDiarmid, and Matt Meldon and boom, the band was formed. I read somewhere on social media recently one post that read “whiny indie rock.” Now while that description probably isn’t that far-fetched, what Why? accomplishes here is also done better than most other bands that are reaching for that gold ring. So now after releasing a handful of albums and 5 years since the release of the Mumps, Etc., the wait is finally over. The band has released its 10-song long player, Moh Lhean (Joyful Noise Recordings.) While the group doesn’t change much from its style of writing, it’s Yoni who’s changed things up a bit. Mumps, Etc. had that Hip-Hop flavoring with his raps throughout and singing on occasion where it fit, on the new album you won’t find any of that. It’s actually quite fitting though, The album opener “This Ole King” begins oddly enough with a guitar and Latin rhythms that slowly morphs into this grandiose track filled with softly filtered melodies and harmonies and from this point things seem to so much better.

WHY? - Moh Lhean
WHY? – Moh Lhean

“Proactive Evolution” has the group sounding almost orchestral. The expansive sound they’ve pieced together is generated by wind instruments, harmonies and lots of great percussion. It all done well, pushing the envelope without forcing it. Guitars, although they’re left at mid-level shouldn’t be ignored. A repetitive line midway through is captivating. But where the band seems to come into its own is with “George Washington,” as they leave space around Yoni’s vocals until the chorus comes into play and takes the some to another level. Once Moh Lhean ends you’re left with thoughts of “Is that it? It’s over?” You of course will be forced to play it again. And again. And yet again. There’s a charm to this album that shouldn’t escape any listener.

I keep thinking about how I never find myself curled into a ball of hopelessness after listening to Cursive releases but when it comes to the solo releases of lead singer Tim Kasher, he’s usually a Debbie Downer leaving me to wallow in my own misery. With a new album out today, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Fortunately, it seems as if No Resolution (15 Passenger) has broken that particular streak for me. While lyrically Kasher usually travels on darker roads, it seems with the new album….not much has changed. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. To many fans, including myself, his way with words borders on genius and while his imagery remains steadfast, this time around the tone of the music changes things. On “Runts,” with his character description, it seems close to the brink of ending it all, grasping onto the edge of that rope. And while you may feel for his pangs of yearning, it’s all ok! That’s because the music takes a different turn altogether. Catchy rhythms, lovely strings and keys, all the while singing “‘Fuck my life’ she said / pop in half a Xanax with a little wine / she can settle down…” It’s misery wrapped in some tasty chocolate. Or pharmaceuticals. Kasher is masterfully descriptive, and after every subsequent listen it gets better. “Break Me Open” bounces nicely before reeling in a bit of dissonance midway through but Kasher’s heart is open here cleverly using metaphors to get his point across. Again, this is where the strings come in and capture another feeling of beauty and despair. “No Secret” journeys on a different path though. Musically it’s angry, evocative, taking control both musically and lyrically. It’s a song that could be fitting with his main endeavor but it fits in fine on the collection of songs here, literally giving the “sweetness” of the songs more to chew on.

Tim Kasher - No Resolution
Tim Kasher – No Resolution

But there’s something about Tim Kasher and how he does things that I sometimes find refreshing, like on the repetitive “Hollow.” The rhythm softly creeps in and then barrels down through the track before eventually dissipating. It might be repetitive but it’s not repetitious. You’ll find horns and strings along with the prerequisite instruments he normally uses (I guess those horns/strings are part of what he’s accustomed to using now as well) but the shifting crescendos keep me enthralled. Occasionally I feel that Kasher wants us all to think he’s a mess of musician when fitting in so many different aspects of his psyche but he’s not fooling me here. He knows what he’s doing to keep me coming back. Tim Kasher’s lyrical prowess casts shadows over his contemporaries and musically, he’s become masterful with arrangements. No Resolution is just that good.

So this Joel Porter, he released a new EP today entitled Mountain Twin. It’s only four songs so I thought it couldn’t hurt to listen to it. If it were good, then it’s a win but if turned out to be bad, well, that’s also a win since there are only four songs. To my dismay though, it’s the former rather than the latter. Fortunately it’s fortunate and I’m the one that comes out winning in this scenario. Herein lies the conundrum though: for any singer/songwriter that straps on an acoustic guitar, he – or she – will endlessly be compared to those that came before them in the past 20 years or so. Porter does things a bit differently though, incorporating ambient sounds and other instrumentation to fill out his songs. The title track is a soft, sleepy, dreamy affair where he sings and coos over an underlying keyboard while those soft vocals try to lull you to sleep over his guitar. When that beat drops it doesn’t take anything away from the rest of the instruments. The track is just perfectly soothing. But this is where my previous comparative efforts come into play. Oh goodness, “St. Anthony” will trap everyone that comes into contact with it into a wallowing cell of despair. The track’s timbre is saddening the way a track from Elliot Smith or Sufjan Stevens can push everyone into utter despondency. I don’t mind it though and neither should you when it’s this captivating. “We Are Giants” draws you out a bit though, quietly leading you out and then enthusiastically builds to a crescendo. Joel Porter has a lot to offer up and with this look into the Mountain Twin EP I’m left wanting to explore some more.

Mountain Twin EP
Joel Porter – Mountain Twin EP

 

Tim KasherFacebook / Twitter Instagram
WHY?Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Joel PorterFacebook / Twitter / Instagram

The One With Great Storytellers

On this episode of Best Song Ever, Brian introduces a new segment that allows him to get some things off of his chest, Luke and Brian discuss whether or not nerds need to know more about sports, Luke defends shy white boys from Brian and Brian dips into the past and sings some N’Sync.  Also, there are eight incredible songs and some interesting discussions on hope and fear in politics and how music can bridge the gap between people who don’t see eye to eye.

Every week Ghettoblaster feature writers (and dear cousins!) Brian LaBenne and Luke LaBenne bring you fresh new songs with the hopes of introducing you to some that you may consider to be the best song ever.  Both Brian and Luke have no idea what songs the other has picked, so what you are hearing is their genuine reaction to listening to the songs together.  Also, if you enjoy this episode, head to ITunes to subscribe and rate our podcast with the highest rating available to you.

ITUNES LINK


Songs Played on The One With Great Storytellers

Jens Lekman – “What’s That Perfume That You Wear” from Life Will See You Now out February 17th on Secretly Canadian

Fred Thomas – “Mallwalkers” from Changer out January 27th on Polyvinyl Records

Craig Finn – “Preludes” from We All Want the Same Things out March 24th on Partisan Records

Austra – “Utopia” from Future Politics out January 20th on Domino Recording Company

Brandon Can’t Dance – “Smoke & Drive Around” from Graveyard of Good Times out now on Lucky Number Records

Porter Ray – “Sacred Geometry [Constellation Mix]” feat Palaceer, Shabazz Palaces and Cashtro from Watercolor out March 10th on Sub Pop Records

Tall Tall Trees – “Backroads” from Freedays out February 17th on Joyful Noise Recordings

Priests – “Nothing Feels Natural” from Nothing Feels Natural out January 27th on Sister Polygon Records

The One With Awkward Boys and Punk Girls

This week on Best Song Ever Luke and Brian kick 2017 off in style with a song about dreading the upcoming year.  They talk about channeling your inner Julia Stiles, the Kirk Cameron classic film “Fireproof,” engage in another episode of Thor Talk and also introduce Tech Talk.  Of course, the music is always great and this episode may feature the strongest batch of songs yet.

Every week Ghettoblaster feature writers (and dear cousins!) Brian LaBenne and Luke LaBenne bring you fresh new songs with the hopes of introducing you to some that you may consider to be the best song ever.  Both Brian and Luke have no idea what songs the other has picked, so what you are hearing is their genuine reaction to listening to the songs together.  Also, if you enjoy this episode, head to ITunes to subscribe and rate our podcast with the highest rating available to you.

ITUNES LINK


Songs Played on The One With Awkward Boys and Punk Girls

Mac McCaughan – “Happy New Year (Prince Can’t Die Again)” available for download at Mac’s bandcamp

Stef Chura – “Spotted Gold” off of her debut album Messes out January 27th on Urinal Cake Records

Nnamdi Ogbonnaya – “let gO Of my egO” from Drool out March 3rd from Sooper Records and Father/Daughter Records

WHY? – “This Ole King” from their forthcoming sixth album Moh Lhean out March 3rd on Joyful Noise Recordings

Elliott Smith – “I Figured You Out” from Either/Or Expanded Edition out March 10th on Kill Rock Stars

Pinegrove – “Aphasia” from Cardinal out now on Run for Cover Records

P.O.S. – “Wearing a Bear” from Chill, dummy out January 27th on Doomtree Records

Clap Your Heads Say Yeah – “Fireproof” from The Tourist out February 24th

The One About the Best of 2016

Brian and Luke take you on a journey through some of their favorite albums of 2016.   Also, be sure to check out their individual top 20 albums of the year list on the Ghettoblaster Magazine website!

Every week Ghettoblaster feature writers (and dear cousins!) Brian LaBenne and Luke LaBenne will be bringing you fresh new songs with the hopes of introducing you to some that you may consider to be the best song ever.  Both Brian and Luke have no idea what songs the other has picked, so what you are hearing is their genuine reaction to listening to the songs together.  Also, if you enjoy this episode, head to ITunes to subscribe and rate our podcast with the highest rating available to you.

ITUNES LINK


Songs Played on The One About the Best of 2016

Outer Spaces – “Words” from A Shedding Snake on Don Giovanni Records

AJJ – “Cody’s Theme” from The Bible 2 on Side One Dummy Records

DOGBRETH – “Do You Really Want Me” from Second Home on Asian Man Records

Lambchop – “Relatives #2” from FLOTUS on Merge Records

Twin Peaks – “Getting Better” from Down in Heaven on Grand Jury Music

Mutual Benefit – “Not for Nothing” from Skip a Sinking Stone on Mom+Pop

PUP – “Doubts” from The Dream is Over on Side One Dummy Records

Frightened Rabbit – “I Wish I Was Sober” from Painting of a Panic Attack on Atlantic Records

Eric Bachmann – “Carolina” from Eric Bachmann on Merge Records

Kishi Bashi – “Honeybody” from Sonderlust on Joyful Noise Recordings

The One That Opens With a Bang

Every week Ghettoblaster feature writers (and dear cousins!) Brian LaBenne and Luke LaBenne will be bringing you fresh new songs with the hopes of introducing you to some that you may consider to be the best song ever.  Both Brian and Luke have no idea what songs the other has picked, so what you are hearing is their genuine reaction to listening to the songs together.  Also, if you enjoy this episode, head to ITunes to subscribe and rate our podcast with the highest rating available to you.  Thanks for checking this out, we hope you enjoy the show!

ITUNES LINK


Songs Played on The One That Opens With a Bang

Cool Kids – “Connect Four” from Special Edition Grand Master Deluxe LP out soon on CAKE, LLC

Sinkane – “U’Huh” from Life & Livin’ It out February 10, 2017 on City Slang

Camp Cope – “Keep Growing” out now on Poison City Records

Joan of Arc – “This Must Be the Placenta” from He’s Got the Whole This Land is Your Land In His Hands out January 20, 2017 on Joyful Noise Recordings

Jay Daniel – “Paradise Valley” from Broken Nose out now on Technicolour

The Molochs – “You and Me” from America’s Velvet Glory out January 13, 2017 on Innovative Leisure

Grandaddy – “Way We Won’t” from Last Place out March 3, 2017 on 30th Century Records

Lite – “D” from Cubit out now on Topshelf Records

 

Music Videos Featured in Episode

 

 

 


The One About Australia

Welcome to the very first episode of Ghettoblaster Magazine’s Best Song Ever podcast!  Every episode Ghettoblaster feature writers (and dear cousins!) Brian LaBenne and Luke LaBenne will be bringing you fresh new songs with the hopes of introducing you to some that you may consider to be the best song ever.  Both Brian and Luke have no idea what songs the other has picked, so what you are hearing is their genuine reaction to listening to the songs together.  Also, if you enjoy this episode, head to ITunes to subscribe and rate our podcast with the highest rating available to you.  Thanks for checking this out, we hope you enjoy the show!


 

Songs Played on “The One About Australia”

Crying – “Wool in the Wash” from Beyond the Fleeting Gales out now on Run for Cover Records

Lizzo – “Good as Hell” from Coconut Oil EP out now on Atlantic Records

D.D. Dumbo – “Satan” from Utopia Defeated out now on 4AD Records

Dirty Projectors – “Keep Your Name” on Domino Recording

Julia Jacklin – “Coming of Age” from Don’t Let the Kids Win out now on Polyvinyl Records

Rafter – “You Are the Last of Your Kind” from the upcoming album XYZ out this Friday, October 28th on Joyful Noise Recordings

Personal Space – “Offering” from Ecstatic Burbs out now on Tiny Engines

Pavo Pavo – “Ran Ran Run” from the upcoming album Young Narrator in the Breakers out on November 11th on Bella Union Records

Special thanks to the band Congress for allowing us to use their song “Pond Fight” from their debut album Ugly Eye for our opening song!


 

 

Lou Barlow (Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh, the Folk Implosion) has announced a new solo EP, Apocalypse Fetish, to be released October 28th on Joyful Noise Recordings. It comes as a follow-up to last year’s critically acclaimed Brace The Wave – Barlow’s first solo release in six years – and features five new tracks.

Apocalypse Fetish is a 5 song extended play release from, me, Lou Barlow. The cover features a newborn child peering warily over the edge of her mother’s sling into 2016, the year that conspiracy theorists became experts and anger went [even more] mainstream. The song “Apocalypse Fetish” proposes that, perhaps, many of us have been disappointed that the end of the world has taken too long to come after we’ve spent most of our lives predicting it. And, perhaps, we’ve decided to take matters in our own hands and “bring it on” because, if it doesn’t come soon, then didn’t we all seem foolish talking about it all. the. time.

According to Barlow, “There are 4 other songs on the EP, none of which are political in nature but are similarly “fired up.” The melodic inspirations for the record came from my day in the back stairways and basement of the enormous Eagles Ballroom in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Dinosaur Jr. were there opening for Primus in August 2015.) I was alone and playing my ukulele in the cavernous spaces and tiled showers there. The unique reverberations brought the beginnings of these songs. The hall is reputed to be haunted and I’m not so sure it isn’t.

I wasn’t able to fully draw the songs out until I recorded, once again, with Justin Pizzoferrato at Sonelab in Easthampton Massachusetts (May 2016.) I recorded my last full length record (Brace The Wave) there in 2015. I’m happy to consider this EP a follow up to that album, though, this time, every song is played on ukulele (strung with heavy strings and tuned much lower than a standard uke.) Actually, it sounds nothing like a ukulele. For all intents and purposes it is a 4-string acoustic guitar utilizing the strumming styles and lower toned soundscapes I’ve been pursuing since my first released ukulele recording: “Poledo” (on Dinosaur Jr’s 2nd LP You’re Living All Over Me.) Yes, I’ve been doing this for a long time. I’d be proud to have Apocalypse Fetish be my final record.”

 

Jad Fair is back! As the driving force behind the art-rock of Half Japanese since 1975, Fair has had a revolving cast of musicians, including his brother David, Don Fleming, Jay Spiegel, Kramer, Velvet Underground member Moe Tucker and many more.

Half Japanese returned in 2014 with Overjoyed, their first studio album in thirteen years. The uncharacteristically-accessible album was widely praised for its mix of upbeat positivity with the band’s signature off-kilter subject matter. They followed it with a surprise EP, Bingo Ringo, in July 2015. Here Half Japanese shares “Hold On” is the first single release for the new album Perfect set to drop on January 22, 2016 on Joyful Noise Recordings. Pre-order your copy here.

HalfJapanese

Half Japanese has announced a new LP, Perfect, to be released January 22 via Joyful Noise Recordings. A collection of songs that feature otherworldly sounds, chaotic rhythms, and weird time signatures — topped off with Jad Fair’s brash vocals and oddball lyrics — it’s currently available for pre-order, with 500 VIP copies available on baby blue & clear vinyl with cyan splatter. The VIP edition also comes with an exclusive art print signed by Jad.

For a first taste of the new album, you can hear lead single “That Is That” — set to a backdrop of visuals created by Jad — via YouTube.

Half Japanese is one of the most influential bands in rock history, having influenced everyone from Sonic Youth and Neutral Milk Hotel to Daniel Johnston and Kurt Cobain (who asked the band to open some of the dates on Nirvana’s In Utero tour.) Known for dismissing conventional music basics like melody, song structure and chords (and for Jad’s famous line “the only chord I know is the one that connects the guitar to the amp”), Half Japanese operated under the premise that rock music should be accessible to anyone who wanted to play.

Having released over two dozen EPs, LPs, and live albums between 1977 and 2001, the band returned in 2014 with Overjoyed, their first studio album in thirteen years and their debut release for Joyful Noise. That was followed by surprise EP Bingo Ringo in July 2015. Perfect’s tracks run the gamut from sweet love songs with overtly sincere lyrics to manic, almost abrasive tracks that seem to end before you can fully wrap your head around them. Once again, Half Japanese manages to combine elements of every genre imaginable into one strange, unpredictable, and undeniably-catchy package.

Half Japanese European Dates:

11/21: Brest, France @ Festival Invisible

11/24: Madrid, Spain @ El Sol

11/25: Hamburg, Germany @ Monkeys Club

11/26: Oberhausen, Germany @ Druckluft

11/27: Antwerp, Belgium @ Het Bos

11/28: Boulogne-Billancourt, France @ BB Mix Festival

The Unspeakable Practices is a new project led by Kid Millions (Oneida, People of the North, Man Forever, etc.) and celebrated writer Rick Moody, a founding member of The Wingdale Community Singers and an avid music fan & essayist. The two rounded up a handful of diverse and talented musicians to round out their band: experimental trumpet player Nate Wooley, bassists Brad Truax (ex-Spiritualized, Interpol) and Richard Hoffman (Sightings), guitarist Shahin Motia (Ex Models, Oneida), organ player David Grubbs (Squirrel Bait, Gastr Del Sol), and saxophone player Michael Foster.

Due out November 6 via Joyful Noise Recordings, The Unspeakable Practices’ debut S/T LP was born of improvised rehearsals captured on a Zoom recorder and later fleshed out into fully-formed songs. The album is currently available for pre-order on limited blue & white or yellow & black vinyl, and you can stream lead single “A Steadying Effect” — which Stereogum calls “an abrasive yet ethereal improv racket” — via Soundcloud.

Although Moody’s lyrics — which were derived from his poetical practice — are a significant element of the project, he also felt it crucial that he be an active part of the band, and not just the lyricist: “it was really important to me to be reactive with respect to the amazing musicians I was working with. It was, in fact, important for me to be IN the band, not separate from the band. Another instrument in the orchestra, rather than something fused onto the music. Not lyrics in front, and music behind, but all one instrument.”

The Unspeakable Practices celebrate the release of their debut album with a show at Brooklyn’s Secret Project Robot on November 6.