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