Tag Archive: “Kishi Bashi”

Savannah Stopover Music Festival this year played host to 87 bands for the festival’s seventh anniversary, taking place March 9-11 in Savannah, GA’s beautiful and historic downtown district. Ghettoblaster’s David Altherr was there to capture some of the action.

AJ Davila at The Jinx:

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Chain Of Flowers at The Jinx:

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Christopher Paul Stelling at Trinity United Church:

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Crocodiles at The Jinx:

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Daddy Issues at The Jinx:

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JEFF The Brotherhood at The Jinx:

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Julien Baker at Trinity United Church:

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Kishi Bashi at Ships Of The Sea, North Garden:

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Tall Tall Trees at The Jinx:

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Wreckless Eric at The Jinx:

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Hey folks, it’s Luke LaBenne here, writer and host of Ghettoblaster’s Best Song Ever podcast. 2016 was a crazy year, full of surprises, so many musical icons released albums and some of them served as farewells. We saw so many amazing albums from veteran artists and some newcomers who grabbed our attention and quickly became beloved favorites. There were so many great albums that I had the honor of listening to and writing about this year thanks to Ghettoblaster. Some of them really stood out so here they are, my Top 20 Albums of 2016.


 

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20. Okkervil River – Away

The ghost album from the band that no longer exists. After the breakup of Okkervil River, frontman Will Sheff went through a period of uncertainty in which his Grandfather and personal hero passed away. Sheff teamed up with jazz musicians, including yMusic’s C.J. Camarieri who used his grandfather’s old trumpet, fusing jazz with their existing folk rock sound. This album that almost didn’t happen turned out to be a warm and beautiful expression with the emotional weight we’ve come to expect from the rock veteran.

Watch: Okkervil River –  Okkervil River R.I.P

 

 

 


 

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19. Kyle Craft – Dolls of Highland

Former GASHCAT frontman Kyle Craft made his SubPop debut with the right amount of retro and modern influences, from Velvet Underground to Neutral Milk Hotel. Kyle tells vivid, sprawling tales of love and loss akin to Bob Dylan, with his powerful, one of a kind voice and big, Springsteen-esque instrumentals. Whether he’s serenading a lady or lamenting his friend who committed suicide, these songs feel very personal and lived-in, with Kyle’s 27 years of life informing each tune.

Listen: Kyle Craft – Pentecost

 

 

 

 


 

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18. Michael Kiwanuka – Love & Hate

I remember a week where I felt like no albums had come out that grabbed my attention and then later in the week I heard this album and was blown away. British singer/songwriter Michael Kiwanuka combines the building jams of Pink Floyd, with the vocal force and social relevance of Marvin Gaye. Joining soul, folk, and rock to explore the meaning of love & hate, and express the triumphs and trials of a “black man in a white world.” Much of this album is featured in the Netflix’s The Get Down giving a fitting canvas for Michael’s epic, emotional, and uplifting music.

Watch: Michael Kiwanuka – Black Man In A White World

 

 

 


 

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17. Conor Oberst – Ruminations

Last year, Conor Oberst released an album and did a tour with his punk band Desaparecidos. Afterwards, he was exhausted and ill, so he returned to his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska to recover. While there, inspiration struck and he wrote a recorded an album in 48 hours. We see a different Conor then we’re used to, stripped down to just guitar or piano with an occasional harmonica solo. Lyrically, these songs are thick with cultural and literary references that drive home the Americana vibe of this album as Conor looks back over his life and career and considers what lies ahead. What began as a sort of pit stop to regroup turned into some of his most personal and powerful work yet.

Watch: Conor Oberst – A Little Uncanny

 

 


 

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16. Frightened Rabbit – Painting Of A Panic Attack

Scotish indie-rock veterans Frightened Rabbit really came into their own with their 2012 album Pedestrian Verse, completing the gradual transition from rougher folkier sound to a more polished indie-rock sound. The National’s Aaron Dessner helped them perfect that sound on this album. Resembling The National and the sound Dessner helped Mumford and Sons achieve last year, these songs are much brighter and catchier than you would assume based on the cover art and title. Lyrically, this album deals with death, addiction, and depression though it has it’s fair share of self-deprecation hope permeates each track. Under the tutelage of Dessner, these guys join the ranks of indie-rock greats and continue to grow with each new album.

Watch: Frightened Rabbit – I Wish I Was Sober

 

 


 

a3501043119_1015. Mutual Benefit – Skip A Sinking Stone

Jordan Lee has made music under the name Mutual Benefit since 2009, but this year he reached new heights with Skip A Sinking Stone. While touring, Lee contemplated life and love during long car trips, putting his questions and realizations into words gives this album it’s lyrical power. Backing up his insightful lyrics are grand compositions akin to Sufjan Stevens, that can shift quickly into bare, intimate folk. This album is grand yet isolated, using nostalgia as a means to move forward.

Watch: Mutual Benefit – Not For Nothing

 

 

 


 

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14. Vince Staples – Prima Donna

Last year, Vince Staples established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the world of Hip Hop with his album Summertime ’06. This year, Vince let us know just how fame was treating him with a mini-album full of 7 heavy-hitting songs about his disillusionment with fame, but his strength and relevance despite it, effortlessly weaving social topics into his personal narrative. Not only is Vince at the top of his game lyrically (with more lyrics that can make Christian moms cry), but he has some production help from the great James Blake, appearances by A$AP Rock and Kilo Kish, and heavy nods to OutKast, even with a sample of Andre’s verse from ATLiens. Every song on this album is fantastic and it comes with a short film to compliment each track.

Watch: Vince Staples – Prima Donna

 

 


 

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13. Lambchop – FLOTUS

For Love Often Turns Us Still. The veteran folk-rock band turned a page with their latest album, ditching their folk sound for electronic elements and airy, funky grooves. Kurt Wagner has experimented with electronics in the past, but on FLOTUS he seamlessly rolls them in with traditional instruments, primarily bass and piano, to make a smooth, hazy, and beautiful album. Ending, with an 18-minute “love” song. This album can pull at your heart strings just by the mood and feeling the music creates.

Watch: Lambchop – NIV

 

 

 


 

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12. El Perro Del Mar – KoKoro

After 8 months of “maternity leave” indie-pop artist Sarah Assbring returned with her 5th album as El Perro Del Mar. After visiting a museum with eastern instruments and listening to japanese, chinese, thai, and indian pop Assbring added this eastern influence into her existing style of melancholy pop. This new style emerges on each song always in a new and interesting way. Something about motherhood enabled Assbring to tap into primal truths of humanity make this album very deep and insightful.

Watch: El Perro Del Mar – Breadandbutter

 

 

 


 

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11. Beyonce – Lemonade 

Lemonade was more than an album. It was a film, it was couples therapy, and it was a cultural phenomenon. Never before had a superstar given such an intimate look at their lives on such a large scale. Not only did Jay-Z’s infidelity bring out some of Beyonce’s most powerful work exploring the nature of love, blackness, and womanhood, but she is also joined by an all-star cast of collaborators like Jack White, Kendrick Lamar, and the aforementioned James Blake. Queen B is at the height of her power and vulnerability making this album dynamic and addictive.

Watch: Beyonce – Sorry

 

 

 


 

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10. Red Pill – Instinctive Drowning

If you’ve read my posts or listened to my podcast then it’s no surprise that Detroit rapper Red Pill ended up this high on my list. Red Pill was one of my greatest discoveries this year and  just in time for him to drop his innovative second album for Mello Music Group. With the help of producer Ill-Poetic, he creates an eclectic journey through the life and mind of Chris Orrick a.k.a. Red Pill. Shedding the old school style of dusty samples and venturing into more expansive and experimental instrumentals, so much ground is covered on this album. Whether it’s grand speculation about the universe or small insights into his personal life, we hear a deep thinker whose thoughts and intentions go deeper than his actions. This record is a weighty and philosophical listen with stunning instrumentals and dynamic production, reflecting the complex contradictions in all of us.

Watch: Red Pill – Instinctive Drowning

 


 

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9. Childish Gambino – “Awaken, My Love!”

I was anxiously awaiting a rap album from Childish Gambino but he delivered was even better. Venturing into funk and not spitting a single rhyme on the album, Donald Glover has defied our expectations of what he’s capable of. With the success of his FX series Atlanta we can see Glover really coming into his own as an artist. This album feels completely genuine and as a result is his best record to date. With sprawling guitar solos, extensive jams, and call and response vocals reminiscent of old school funk. Glover tackles social issues in a way we haven’t seen him do before, he calls it, “a shared vibration for human progress.”  No album released this year sounds remotely like this one.

Listen: Childish Gambino – Me and Your Mama

 

 


 

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8. Kishi Bashi – Sonderlust

Sonderlust is the idea that each random passerby has a life as rich and complex as your own. That elusive concept it what K. Ishibashi attempted to capture on his third album. This album had a rocky start, with K. being underwhelmed by the songs he was writing. Meanwhile, family problems occurred and he threw himself into the music. The result is an examination of love, an album that plays like a movie. Produced by Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor and featuring a full backing band, string quartet, and some contributions from of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes. This album is the grandest instrumentation and most experimentation that we’ve seen from Ishibashi yet. I recently got the vinyl and put it on and it’s impossible to turn off, each song is so engaging and plays into the next song perfectly.

Watch: Kishi Bashi – Hey, Big Star

 

 


 

weezer_white_album7. Weezer – Weezer (White Album)

2014 saw the comeback of Weezer, one of the greatest rock bands who seemed to have lost their way a bit. Fans of Weezer’s early work had shut out their pop punk sound when it went in strange directions while still permeating the mainstream. Everything Will Be Alright in the end won back many Weezer fans (including myself) and they quickly followed it up with the fourth installment of their self-titled color albums with what will forever be called The White Album. This is the greatest summer album you could ask for, channeling The Beach Boys with nautical themed rock songs as warm as the California sun. Every song is beautiful while being relentlessly catchy and fun. They may have won back their fans in 2014 but in 2016 they’ve assured us that they won’t be straying from our favor any time soon.

Watch: Weezer – LA Girlz

 

 


 

life-of-pablo6. Kanye West – The Life of Pablo

Where does the art end and the artist begin? Can you separate the two? Kanye makes us ask this question all the time. How can I adore someone’s music but disagree with most of their actions in their life? Everybody has to draw their own line, all I know is that ever since 2004 when I listen to Kanye’s music I’m blown away. Though his styles have changed and there’s so much controversy surrounding him constantly, he has a true talent for music. There are moments of shocking vulnerability on this album as well as your typical Kanye ego and braggadocios attitude. The collaborators here are insane from Chance to Frank Ocean, Rihanna to Kid Cudi; so many amazing artist line up to work with Kanye despite all his issues and there is a reason for that. I don’t let the news or blogs or reality shows or even the artist’s actions shape my opinion, I let the music speak for itself.

Listen: Kanye West – Ultralight Beam

 


 

09e256ce885fe6b3cf181239c3b3231c-1000x1000x15. A Tribe Called Quest – We got if from here… Thank you 4 your service

The legendary hip-hop group’s first album in 18 years was everything you would hope. Including the late Phife Dawg’s final verses, and an all-star list of contributors including Kendrick Lamar, Jack White, Andre 3000, Anderson Paak, and Elton John. Q-Tip masterfully comments on all the major political and social topics over beats that feel completely current while evoking the groups earlier work. From start to finish this album has you hooked, the music is so engaging while leaving room for some experimentation and the lyrics just speak so perfectly to the emotions many people are feeling. Dave Chappelle hosted SNL with ATCQ as the musical guest and he said it’s always scary to make a comeback so it’s nice to know you’re not doing it alone. This is one of the greatest comeback records you could ask for, while adding to the legacy of one of hip-hop’s greatest contributors.

Watch: A Tribe Called Quest – We The People…

 


 

a2344894986_104. AJJ – The Bible 2

Formerly Andrew Jackson Jihad the Arizona folk-punk band has been making music since the mid 2000s. Their sound was mostly acoustic with folk instruments like guitar, banjo, and standup bass and Sean Bonnet’s wild, cracking voice and unpredictable lyrics. On 2014’s Christmas Island they unveiled a new sound, with the help of one of my favorite rock producers John Congleton. On The Bible 2 we see Bonnet’s lyrics more refined, and the folk punk style perfected. This is the most dynamic album the band has delivered. Congleton likes music that makes him feel a range of emotions, and helps bring out the individual personalities of each song. Weather it’s crunchy punk tracks like “Cody’s Theme” and “My Brain Is a Human Body,” resembling Neutral Milk Hotel, or intimate ballads like “Junkie Church” and the song that brings the album’s core mantra, “No More Shame, No More Fear, No More Dread.” For those of us who feel uncertain in our skin sometimes, these weirdo anthems have relatable lyrics that hit hard. Though they’ve been around for years this album quickly made them one of my new indie favorites.

Watch: AJJ – Goodbye, Oh Goodbye

 


 

c5e308973. Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book

Forget Blonde. Forget Pablo. Forget Lemonade. Coloring Book was my most anticipated album of the year (and then it was exclusively on Apple Music FML). With 2014’s Acidrap I fell in love with the music of Chance Bennett. I began to respect him a lot after I watched him get a beer bottle thrown at him and tell the person who threw it that he loved them (he did walk off stage after someone threw a second bottle but can you blame him?). After the release of Angels, the birth of his daughter, and his phenomenal appearance on Kanye’s Ultralight Beam it was clear that Chance is growing and maturing. On this album we see Chance on top on the world, yet he remains grounded. In a world where mainstream hip-hop keeps getting darker with melodies drained, Chance injects warmth and brightness into the genre. Tapping into nostalgia in a more productive way than Donald Trump. This album has everything, ballsy hip-hop swagger, brooding trap, and glorious gospel. Not to mention this album redefined what independent mixtapes are capable of accomplishing. Chance has ascended to super stardom with Nike and Kit-Kat commercials, and features on numerous albums including The Hamilton Mixtape. It’s hard not to be a stereotypical hipster and say I’ve loved Chance for years and condemn the bandwagon jumpers, but instead i’ll just say it’s about damn time.

Watch: Chance The Rapper – No Problem

 


 

a1767464498_102. John K. Samson – Winter Wheat

The former frontman of The Weakerthans trades out his rocking for restraint and the result is one of the most beautiful, powerful folk albums of the 21st century. Whether he’s speaking about internet trolls, a departed loved one, or a rehab center he so perfectly captures the humanity in any situation. John is a master of melody so you have some incredible lyrics paired with the most infectious melodies. The lyrics walk the line of being cryptic enough that you don’t understand his specific references, but specific enough that you grasp the mood and the story being told. The albums title refers to a crop that endures the winter and rises in the spring and this metaphor extends to many of the stories on this album. He is great at capturing low points and the clarity that follows. This album just hits you in the heart with every new song, they’re masterfully performed and produced emotional wrecking balls, delivered with a warm and comforting voice.

Watch: John K. Samson – Postdoc Blues

 


 

heavn_front-1000x10001. Jamila Woods – HEAVN

This album was off of my radar because it wasn’t on Spotify, and it is responsible for 90% of my Soundcloud visits this year. This album did for me what Solange’s Seat At The Table did for many others, perfectly put into words and music the life and struggles of black females. It shows how music can be the most powerful tool to connect with someone who’s life is different than yours, while highlighting the shared aspects of humanity that connect us all. Whether she’s singing a love song, lamenting her departed grandfather, or sounding a battle hymn, she does it with such a warm and steady voice. The music is just so beautiful with production by the likes of Saba and Kweku Collins, combining jazz, folk, and r&b. Much like her Chicago buddies Noname and Chance (who both appear on the album) she taps into the nostalgia of 90’s kids, altering playground rhymes and the Mr. Rogers theme. This album is a smooth and tender tale of love, family, pain, power and resilience.

Watch: Jamila Woods – Blk Girl Soldier

 


 

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

Every Monday Ghettoblaster is looking back to new albums released the previous week.  Below you’ll find several albums released on Friday, September 16th that we believe are definitely worth a listen.

Touché Amoré – Stage Four (Epitaph Records)


Music doesn’t get much more powerful than this album, both the sonic brawn and emotional content continuously floor the listener. The fourth album of the California post-hardcore band follows frontman Jeremy Bolm’s mother’s death and battle with cancer. This album explores the depths of human emotion: whether it’s Jeremy’s struggle with belief on “Displacement” the regret of not being there when she passed on “Eight Seconds” or the questions he wished he’d asked on “Palm Dreams” we hear Jeremy working through these feelings throughout the album. He ultimately finds some sort of peace and clarity on “Skyscraper” joined by Julien Baker, The National influenced track signifies Jeremy’s closure, ending with the last voicemail left by his mother, which he states on the first track that he hasn’t brought himself to listen to it. The post-hardcore genre magnifies Bolm’s catharsis as he screams through the pain, expressing all the questions and realizations that he’s had during the whole tragic ordeal. Not only is this album a stunning personal expression and a companion for anyone navigating loss, but it redefines what this genre is capable of accomplishing.


El Perro Del Mar – Kokoro (Ging Ging Recordings)


For over a decade, Swedish singer and multi-instrumentalist Sarah Assbring has made indie-pop under the name El Perro Del Mar. During the making of her last record, she welcomed her first child into the world and the baby even joined her on tour. She then took time off to focus on motherhood, but after 8 months she had the itch to get back to work. She had been, “listening to only Japanese, Chinese, Thai, and Indian pop music for the last three years,” and a visit to a musical instrument museum in Sweden, she was taken with instruments and sounds from other cultures and recorded sounds that she sampled on the record.  She then outfitted her mysterious electro-pop sound with sounds from all over the world, with rhythms inspired by Indonesian Gamelan music, Asian string and woodwind instruments, and all manner of exotic percussion. On this record Assbring examines what it means to be human,  perhaps due to maturity or motherhood, or the multi-cultural influence. On “Breadandbutter” she reminds us, “We all come from the very bottom,” and on “Clean Your Window” she warns, “Share some light because Ignorance grows in the dark.” This album is both rhytmic and melodic, which was Assbring’s intention when borrowing from these different styles. This is eclectic and exotic pop unlike you’ve heard before, with every song bringing a new element to the table, this is her best album yet.


Kishi Bashi – Sonderlust (Joyful Noise Recordings)


The third album from multi-instrumentalist K. Ishibashi is an obvious departure from his past work. Following a bout of writer’s block, and marital struggles, he threw himself into his music. He worked in Ableton, a different recording software than he usually uses, and began to create exciting loops and electronic sounds. While his orchestral pop roots are still present, the album is primarily synth and keyboard driven. This record is steeped in 70’s influence, from Pink Floyd and ELO, to George Duke and other Brazilian jazz fusion players. Produced by Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor, there are many supporting instrumentalists, making the compositions fuller and more rich than past records. This is Ishibashi’s most accomplished and most personal album. Playing out like the soundtrack to a movie, this album focuses on love and the crazy journey it can take you on. On Sonderlust, you hear an artist bravely enter new territory, with enough connection to his early work to make any die hard fan get on board.


 Cymbals Eat Guitars – Pretty Years (Sinderlyn)


In 2013, Staten Island rock band Cymbals Eat Guitars released their third album, which was very well recieved and was follower with a year long tour. Afterwards, frontman Joseph D’Agostino was in a self described “funk” not really inspired to make more music. The song “4th of July” tells the story of the night that brought him back. Hanging out with fellow musician Alex G on 4th of July, he witnessed a violent encounter and escaped unscathed.  He began to write about what it means to be alive and to make your life matter. This album is equal parts pragmatism and existentialism, as Joe grows older and looks at everyday situations through a more cosmic lens, “How many universes am I alive and dead in?”. The sound on this album is bright and hazy, with fuzzy guitars, the occasional shimmering synth, and sometimes even a booming sax; Joe’s gravelly voice and vivid storytelling make it sound like The Clash meets Springsteen. On this album Joe confronts his inevitable death and celebrates his immediate life.


Kool Keith – Feature Magnetic (Mello Music Group)


Kool Keith is the wonderfully talented, terribly hilarious rapper also known as Dr. Octagon, Rhythm X, Dr. Doom and Mr. Gerbek. Yes, he is a truly eccentric talent who has been around since the late 80s when he took the rap world by storm as a member of the Ultramagnetic MCs. For the past several years it seemed that the world may not see another solid Kool Keith album again, but that has been proven false with the release of his newest album Feature Magnetic. Keith also has assumed the role of producer for most of the album under the name Number One Producer, which gives it a very cohesive sound. Musically the songs are strange, yet pretty minimalistic at the same time often built around big looping drums and synth lines. These serve Keith’s signature rapping incredibly well, allowing the focus to be on his very funny lyricism and breathtaking, wholly original deliver. Feature Magnetic is perfect for old school and newer hip-hop fans alike and it’s a joy to hear Kool Keith back in the saddle again. – Words by Brian LaBenne


The Glazzies – Kill Me Kindly (Old Flame Records) 


The Glazzies are a criminally under-heard Long Island rock band. Their new album, Kill Me Kindly, recalls the heyday of nineties grunge, while at the same time taking it in their own direction. Pop-Grung is not really a subgenre of music, but hopefully it will be as The Glazzies demonstrate how awesome it can sound. These are seriously great pop songs clothed in heavy grungey guitars and aggressive drumming perfect for blasting and bobbing you head along to. Psychedelic shades also permeate Kill Me Kindly in both the music and lyricism as most of these songs are straight up about aliens. Overall,  this is a fun album worth your time, especially if you are interested in heavy, catchy and fantastic grunge. – Words by Brian LaBenne


AlunaGeorge – I Remember (Island Records) 


AlunaGeorge have been getting progressively more and more into the mainstream pop world ever since they burst on the scene in 2012 with the stellar single “You Know You Like It,” which was in turn re-mixed by DJ Snake in 2014 resulting in it becoming certified platinum. This is all to say that it should be no surprise that AlunaGeorge’s new album, I Remember, is a swing for the fences, huge sounding modern pop album. A lot of the reviews of the new album seem to not understand the trajectory that AlunaGeorge has been on for the past several years, which really does not make sense. This is an absolutely solid pop album with songs that would fit in with modern pop radio and definitely be the best song playing in any given cycle. I Remember is a breezt affair with mostly up-tempo synth pop songs that have nice subtle verses and shimmering chrosues. I Remember progresses AlunaGeorge closer to their pop music takeover, which was promised all those years ago. – Words by Brian LaBenne


Preoccupations – Preoccupations (Jagjaguwar)


Preoccupations, the band formerly known as Viet Cong, is back with a new self-titled album that is absolutely brutal and punishing in the best way possible. Preoccupations is an album full of awesome post-punk songs that are at time monotonous and at others incredibly varied and catchy. Preoccupations sounds entirely like Viet Cong, yet at the same time absolutely different. They have expanded their sound palate a bit, even evoking Echo and the Bunnymen at times. Lyrically these are songs mostly about falling apart, breaking down and ultimately building back up. The band describes their new album in the following way: “What’s punishing can also be soothing, everything can change without disrupting your compass. Your best year can be your worst year at the same time. Whatever sends you flying can also help you land.” – Words by Brian LaBenne


 

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.

Kishi Bashi – Hey Big Star (Joyful Noise Recordings)


 

After a bout of writers block, multi-instrumentalist Kishi Bashi worked with programs like Ableton Live and experimented with new sounds and production techniques. The result was his existing orchestral pop sound rolled in with 70’s and 80’s influences. This is clear on Hey Big Star (presumably a nod to the band Big Star) which begins with a slide on a violin string looped until sharp shimmering 80’s synths make an appearance and drive the song, with a myriad of musical layers coming and going throughout. Kishi is great at making complex compositions and infectious vocal hooks that turn his songs into indie-pop juggernauts. This is a bright, explosive love song that is unfairly catchy and I’ve been addicted to it ever since I heard it. His album Sonderlust is out Sept.16 via Joyful Noise, and not only will it have great jams like this one, but it will see Kishi’s sound in it’s new evolved state.


 

Pfarmers – Red Vermin (Joyful Noise Recordings)


Last year members of The National and Menomena announced a side project (no, not EL VY) this National member was Bryan Devendorf (no not LNZNDRF) and the band is Pfarmers. Bryan, Menomena frontman Danny Seim, and composer/multi-instrumentalist Dave Nelson. “Red Vermin” starts of soft and subtle, with each line of the verse punctuated with a brief musical rest and then a burst from all instruments, like a quick breath in followed by a violent exhale. The song gradually builds and ultimately erupts into a dense crescendo with horns, synths, and guitars burying the melody in a chaotic blanket of sound.  While, this band started off experimental it is much more accessible than LNZNDRF. Each band members contributions are unmistakable, this album will see them all bringing their different talents to the table to make some different than we’ve heard from them in the past.


Mac Miller feat. Anderson Paak – Dang! (Warner Bros. Records)


Following in the footsteps of Domo Genesis, Chance the Rapper, Schoolboy Q, Macklemore, KAYTRANDA, and The Game; Mac Miller has joined forces with the multi-talented Anderson Paak (I’m beginning to think it’s a prerequisite of making a rap album in 2016). I can’t complain though, Paak released a great album early in the year and his infectious, smokey vocals add a layer of production value to any track where they appear (and they’ve made a lot of appearances). This is the case with this cut from Mac Miller’s forthcoming album, The Divine Feminine, out Sept. 16 via Warner Bros. Records. Though Anderson doesn’t get all the credit, Miller’s expression of love, while often crude and misguided which is to be expected, is entertaining with some clever wordplay and an undeniable flow. Mac showed some artistic growth with last year’s GO:OD AM and now it seems he’s going off in some sort of “romantic” direction. Regardless this song is a well composed, smooth summer jam with a funky beat. It comes complete with this colorful video, where the guys are stuck in a loop of “losing” their respective lovers.


Goat – Try My Robe (Sub Pop Records)


 

Swedish psych-rock outfit Goat are known for their exciting live shows, their masked faces, and their eclectic blend of influences. This is the case with their new single “Try My Robe” from their album Requiem out Oct. 7 via Sub Pop. This song is driven by various stringed instruments (maybe sitar) harmonizing to make a driving folk-twang, backed by earthy percussion including handclaps, there is a Mediterannean vibe. While this song is super catchy there is an ominous undertone, especially when viewing the masked participants on the cover art, this group feels like the middle ground between The Polyphonic Spree and Slipknot. Their music gives off the air of a band of nomads and troubadours travelling around and sharing their music. This album should not be missed it will no doubt be one of the most interesting albums of 2016.


 

 

Kishi Bashi recently announced his third LP, String Quartet Live!, out November 13 via Joyful Noise Recordings. Currently available for pre-order, the album features songs from K’s previous two releases, 151a and Lighght, performed live by himself and an accompanying string ensemble.

Today, he shares a first taste of the album with a cover of Talking Heads’ “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody),” which Consequence of Sound calls “an energetic revival of a familiar tune.” The track is now available to stream and share via Soundcloud

Having recorded, toured, and collaborated with artists like Regina Spektor, Sondre Lerche, and of Montreal, Kishi Bashi launched his successful and celebrated solo career in 2011. Though he studied classical composition and considers the violin his primary muse, his songs feature a diverse mix of instrumentation and unconventional songwriting, resulting in a unique and experimental sound that defies genre.

Where his first two releases incorporated an array of percussion and electronic elements, the new live album finds K’s familiar songs reimagined, allowing his soaring vocals to take center stage above a foundation of interweaving strings. The string ensemble gives new life to these tracks, with updated arrangements and the infectious energy that can only come from Kishi Bashi’s amazing live performances.

K will perform live with an augmented version of his string quartet at NYC’s McKittrick Hotel next Wednesday, November 4.

Multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter Kishi Bashi has released the first official music video for “Philosophize In It! Chemicalize With It!,” the first single taken from his soon-to-be-released sophomore album titled Lighght. (Joyful Noise Recordings, May 13). Premiering today on Stereogum, the video for the song was directed by Geoff Hoskinson and features a gorgeously whimsical array of animation complimentary to Kishi Bashi’s artistic sensibility. Watch the video over at Stereogum HERE.

Additionally, Kishi Bashi has announced his Spring North American headlining tour. Touring in support of the release of Lighght, which is now available for pre-order through Joyful Noise Recordings, the tour will kick off with a performance this weekend at Slingshot Festival in Athens, GA and will extend through the second week of June.

MARCH
22 – Slingshot Festival – Georgia Theatre – Athens, GA

APRIL
01 – The Grey Eagle – Asheville, NC
02 – Zanzabar – Louisville, KY
03 – Radio Radio – Indianapolis, IN
04 – Mission Creek Festival – The Mill – Iowa City, IA
05 – Middle of the Map Festival – Kansas City, MO

MAY
07 – Spanish Moon – Baton Rouge, LA
08 – Gasa Gasa – New Orleans, LA
09 – Mohawk – Austin, TX
10 – Fitzgerald’s Upstairs – Houston, TX
11 – Club Dada – Dallas, TX
13 – The Crescent Ballroom – Phoenix, AZ
14 – 191 Toole – Tucson, AZ
15 – The Irenic – San Diego, CA
16 – The Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles, CA
17 – The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA
19 – Wonder Ballroom – Portland, OR
20 – The Showbox at the Market – Seattle, WA
21 – Fortune Sound Club – Vancouver, BC
23 – Urban Lounge – Salt Lake City, UT
24 – Gothic Theatre – Englewood, CO
25 – Bricktown Music Hall – Oklahoma City, OK
26 – The Waiting Room – Omaha, NE
27 – Ready Room – St. Louis, MO
29 – Memorial Union Terrace – Madison, WI
30 – Fine Line Music Cafe – Minneapolis, MN
31 – Metro – Chicago, IL

JUNE
01 – Grog Shop – Cleveland, OH
02 – Virgin Mobile Mod Club – Toronto, ON
03 – The Sinclair – Cambridge, MA
04 – Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY
05 – Music Hall of Williamsburg – Brooklyn, NY
06 – Theatre of Living Arts – Philadelphia, PA
08 – 9:30 Club – Washington, DC
09 – The NorVa – Norfolk, VA
10 – Motorco Music Hall – Durham, NC
11 – Terminal West – Atlanta, GA

JULY
12 – Bunbury Music Festival – Cincinnati, OH