Tag Archive: “Polyvinyl”

Another week has rolled by and as summer slowly creeps up, literally skipping a season I feel haunted with images of death all around me. These dreams I have, these insane world we live in, have me looking over my shoulder every 5 minutes expecting death’s tap on my shoulder which I’d follow up with an elbow to the face and a push kick. For some reason I’m reminded of the myth of Hercules & Alcestis, wondering if there’s anyone that would attempt to wrestle me from death’s grip. These are the things that go through my mind from time to time for no apparent rhyme or reason, which is why I have the distraction that is music. Whether it’s good or bad, it puts me in a different mood.

Photo: Ebru Yildiz
Photo: Ebru Yildiz
PWR BTTM: Pageant
PWR BTTM: Pageant

Sometimes there’s a band like PWR BTTM that’s capable of putting you in different mood. In 2016 you couldn’t help but hear about the duo, who performed throughout the year and whose live shows were always considered epic performances. The duo released their debut long-player Ugly Cherries back in September of 2015 and finally release their second album Pageant (Polyvinyl Records). The album is rife with songs wrapped around catchy melodies and hooks, all the while keeping true to who they are. Members Liv Bruce and Bruce Hopkins have their respective instruments but aren’t against sharing those guitar, drums, and vocal duties. The album opener “Silly”, misleads listeners with that opening guitar line repeating itself having you think this could be some glam-metal episode until the band circles around into a full-frontal assault handling instruments like weapons piecing together an outrageous dynamic explosion. But then “Answer My Text” rolls through with vocals and a guitar leading the way before it shifts with a fuller sound as other instruments are added. I’m willing to address the elephant in the room only because for me it’s only 8 inches tall. PWR BTTM may consider itself a “queer punk duo,” and it’s an easy tag for those quick to place the band under the heading of just another sub-genre but if I’m going to be real here, it just doesn’t matter. The band’s sweet lyricism revolves around love, the butterflies you feel at the bottom of your belly, heartbreak, and just a sheer joyful abandon. When the band sings “Answer my text you dick” over a cheerful melody, they’re cleverly confronting everyday courting issues with humor.

The more laid back “LOL” has a vocal delivery which I can’t help but draw a comparison to Shudder To Think’s Craig Wedren, holding those high notes you probably wouldn’t imagine. “Now Now” follows suit there as well. When you hear “I’m gonna beat myself up…” for the first time you might just hear it as well. The band is just as clever with its lyricism though, “I’m going to beat myself up for beating myself up / I’m going to take my lunch money for beating myself up.” The upbeat track cunningly juxtaposes the lyrics with its music. There’s a playful side to the band which is obviously bound at the proverbial hip with a serious one. “Kid’s Table” deals with that awkward stage between childhood and being an adult while “Oh Boy,” probably one of my favorite tracks, again deals with love. Did I say ‘my favorite’? I may have to retract that because the incendiary “Big Beautiful Day” has me dancing and jumping around like 12 year old. Again. And again. And again. PWR BTTM’s Pageant is a thoughtful release. They’ve avoided the sophomore slump, but for them it seems that was an easy task to accomplish.

From one duo to another, this time around we have Girlpool, a self described folk punk band from L.A. While the members Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad eschewed drums on its previous release (from what I’ve listened to) on their new album Powerplant,(Anti-), they’ve come to embrace it within the folds of this release. But percussion is not what they’re all about though, it’s the relentless harmonies between these two musicians that cut through every single track here. While what Girlpool can keep this listener’s attention, I can’t help but think if they’re haunted by those that came before them. Semblances of another L.A. band That Dog comes to mind. While they were big on rocking things out, Anna Waronker and the Haden girls were also big on the harmonies when they fit well. Not that this is a direct comparison, but it’s more of an observation. And you could recognize what may sound Lush(ful) not unlike Miki Berenyi’s vocal delivery. But regardless, on Powerplant, the band does have the songs. The sultriness of the opening “123” starts the song off before the belt out into mid-tempo summer night’s dream here. But it’s “Sleepless” that gives you the sugary sweetness of their voices, cutting through headphones or speakers that will leave you in a haze.

There’s no double-guessing what this band is doing here as they attempt to lure you in with beautiful melodies and harmonies, and their lyrics probably wouldn’t matter to the casual listener. I can’t help but think that on “It Gets More Blue” they use their voices as additional instruments the way most don’t. Singing along with instruments giving more emphasis on melody and notes. Powerplant may not change the world but it’s a welcomed reprieve from so much within it.

Girlpool
Photo: Molly Matalon
Powerplant
Girlpool: Powerplant

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PWR BTTMFacebook // Twitter // Instagram

The One With Happy Haircut

On this episode: Luke brings us some hot podcasting news, Brian and Luke talk about one of the best rap albums of the year, Loki the trickster tricks our hosts into an episode of Thor Talk, Brian wishes Chris Hemsworth a happy haircut, there’s a lot of talk about 7-11, Luke introduces a brand new segment and our hosts play you quite possibly the strongest set of eight songs in the history of the show.

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.

TWITTER: @BestSongEverPod

ITUNES LINK


Songs Played on The One With Happy Haircut

Joey Bada$$ feat. Schoolboy Q – Rockabye Baby from ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ out now on Pro Era

White Reaper – The Stack from The World’s Best American Band out now on Polyvinyl Records

Pet Symmetry – Stare Collection from Visions out May 26th on Polyvinyl Records

Michigander – Nineties new single Fears out April 21st

Shugo Tokumaru – Hikageno from Toss out April 28th on Polyvinyl Records

Mt. Wolf – Heavenbound from Aetherlight out May 26th on CRC Music

Cayetana – Certain for Miles from New Kind of Normal out May 5th on Plum Records

Deep State – Mountains from Thought Garden out April 14th on Friendship Fever

The One With God Talk

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 God Talk

Jay Som – Baybee from Everybody Works out now on Polyvinyl

Benjamin Booker feat. Mavis Staples – Witness from Witness out June 2nd on ATO Records

Bonny Doon – Relieved from Bonny Doon out now on Salinas Records

Dear Reader – Tie Me To The Ground from Day Fever out now on City Slang

Flasher – Winnie from an upcoming 7 inch on Sister Polygon Records

Portugal. The Man – Feel It Still from Woodstock out sometime this year

Michael Nau – Good Thing from Some Twist out June 16th on Suicide Squeeze

GRMLN – 27 Kids from Discovery EP out April 7th on KCRW

Welcome to Future Sounds vol. 6!

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.

Deerhoof – “Plastic Thrills”

Deerhoof has recently announced their next full length album titled The Magic, coming out 6-24 on Polyvinyl Records. The Magic is explained by drummer Greg as being “what we liked when we were kids – when music was magic – before you knew about the industry and before there were rules. Sometimes hair metal is the right choice.”  They have shared two tracks from the upcoming album, “Debut” and “Plastic Thrills,” and thus far the sound from the upcoming album is definitely in line with this idea of music being magical and having no rules.  “Plastic Thrills” comes right out of the gate with a solid guitar riff and cuts out abruptly about two minutes later.  There are awesome shades of Iggy and the Stooges on “Plastic Thrills” and overall is just a blast to listen to.  Deerhoof keeps finding new ways to remain unpredictable and so far The Magic sounds like a triumphant next step.


 

Yumi Zouma – “Barricade (Matter of Fact)”

“Barricade (Matter of Fact)” is a song that sneaks up on you and before you know it has its teeth sunk in deep. Dreamy synths mix with beautiful vocals singing such a subtly catchy melody that you’ll find yourself humming later and not quite be able to  place where you heard it.  Yumi Zouma has put out a couple EPs and the band members were scattered across the globe during the recording process for those.  Josh Burgess of the band explains: “’Barricade’ was the first song that was really collaborative for us. I remember sitting on the floor in Charlie’s apartment playing an unplugged bass, Charlie with an unplugged guitar and Christie humming out melodies. I hadn’t worked on a track like that since I was in college.” The cohesion that results from this new style of songwriting for Yumi Zouma makes their debut full length album Yoncalla, out 5-27 on Cascine, an album to look forward to.


 

Look Park – “Aeroplane”

Chris Collingwood has enjoyed success over the years with his band Fountains of Wayne, but was inspired to embark on a solo music project under the name of Look Park. “I don’t like the expression ‘solo record,’” Collingwood says. “It means you don’t have to pay attention to it, it’s really just a side project. It really felt important to me to give this a proper name.” It’s been three years since Fountains of Wayne’s last album and in that time Collingwood has made over 100 new songs, mainly with acoustic guitar, MIDI and a ton of percussion instruments. “Aeroplane” is a classic pop rock song with a fantastic chorus and super catchy melody. There are acoustic and electric guitars interplaying with a great piano line over lyrics focusing on being stuck in a plane on a long flight and the feelings of connectedness and isolation that brings.  Look Park’s debut self titled album is out 7-22 on Yep Roc.


 

FAWNN – “Galaxies”

“Galaxies,” the lead single from FAWNN’s upcoming album Ultimate Oceans, is an appropriately titled and spacey dream rock song.  FAWNN describes their sound on “Galaxies” in the perfect way: “signature hooky boy/girl harmonies, melodic guitar interplay and undeniable rhythm grooves.”  The song floats along in a most enjoyable manner and ultimately culminates in an epic crescendo involving a nice guitar solo and even some subtle saxophone thrown in for good measure. Ultimate Oceans is out 6/17 on Quite Scientific.


Full Playlist

 

For their sixth official full-length, Sonny & The Sunsets teamed up with producer Merrill Garbus (tUnE-yArDs) to create a new wave masterpiece called Moods Baby Moods. The album is due on May 27 on Polyvinyl, and today the band shares the first official music video from the album, for “Well But Strangely Hung Man” which features Merrill Garbus, Shannon Shaw (Shannon & The Clams), Kelley Stoltz and tells the back story of a man who is looking for acceptance.

The band has also announced a full U.S. tour in support of Moods Baby Moods:

04/23 – Emeryville, CA – Greetings from Scandinavia @ Midsummer Studios

06/04 – San Francisco, CA – The Chapel

06/15 – Vancouver, BC – Psych Night @ Baltimore Cabaret

06/16 – Seattle, WA – Tractor Tavern

06/17 – Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios

06/18 – Eugene, OR – Hi Fi Music Hall

06/19 – Guerneville, CA – Deathstock II

06/23 – Los Angeles, CA – The Echo

06/24 – San Diego, CA – Soda Bar

06/25 – Visalia, CA – Cellar Door

07/07 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle

07/08 – Cincinnati, OH – MOTR

07/09 – Cleveland, OH – Happy Dog

07/12 – Somerville, MA – ONCE Ballroom

07/13 – New Haven, CT – BAR

07/14 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie

07/15 – Brooklyn, NY – Baby’s All Right

07/17 – Carolina Beach, NC – Ocean Grill and Tiki Bar

07/19 – Knoxville, TN – Pilot Light

07/20 – Louisville, KY – Zanzibar

07/21 – Indianapolis, IN – The Hi Fi

07/22 – Grand Rapids, MI – The Tip Top

07/23 – Ferndale, MI – The Magic Bag

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)

 

La Sera shares the first music video from their forthcoming album, Music For Listening to Music to (out March 4 on Polyvinyl), with “High Notes.”

They’ve also announced their first batch of tour dates in support of the album, with dates in SF (Noise Pop) and then a quick run of shows from Chicago to New York. More dates will be announced soon!

02/24 – San Francisco, CA – Noise Pop / Rickshaw Stop

05/06 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle

05/07 – Detroit, MI – Marble Bar

05/08 – Toronto, ON – CMW

05/09 – Montreal, QC – Casa del Popolo

05/10 – Boston, MA – Great Scott

05/11 – New York, NY – Market Hotel

Painted Palms share new track “Tracers” from sophomore album Horizons, due Sept 4 via Polyvinyl.

Painted Palms’ second full-length album, Horizons, exudes a sense of confidence and purpose that is only present when two creators share a singular focus and absolute trust in each other’s talents. On Horizons, emotional states are suspended between light and dark, driven by the tension of efficient song structures.

This week the band shares the synth-laden “Tracers,” melding ’60s psych pop with heavy-footed ’80s drum machines. Stream the track over at Stereogum.

Though vocalist Chris Prudhomme and producer Reese Donohue chose to collaborate on their second full-length by sending song ideas back and forth over e-mail, just as they did when crafting their 2014 debut Forever, Horizons marks the first time the duo has expanded their sound beyond the bedroom by stepping into the studio. Mixed by former DFA house engineer Eric Broucek (LCD Soundsystem, Classixx), Horizons engages with a diverse sonic palette on each track: ’60s psych-pop, ’80s synths, hypnotic vibes of the kind induced by Bjork and early ’90s Creation Records bands, and the trunk-rattling minimalism of Southern hip-hop.

Horizons is a meditation on achieving balance in a place where things are always changing, and there are no real ends. As a result, Painted Palms refines and executes their best work to date.

Catch them live:

8/27 San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop*

9/4 Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right

 

* = w/ Antwon, Meat Market

Painted Palms gave listeners their first taste of Horizons today by releasing a track off the record via Nerdist.

“Painted Palms new single “Disintegrate” is an aptly named dance-floor-worthy jam that channels Zonoscope-era Cut Copy, mid aughts DFA Records, ’80s pop and beyond. The DFA connection is a little more tangible here though: former DFA house engineer Eric Broucek played a large role in mixing the duo’s forthcoming second album, Horizons. That is an extremely exciting prospect for the rest of the album, as Broucek played a crucial role in some of the best dance music that arose throughout the past ten year,” said Nerdist.

Over the course of two EP’s and their debut album, Painted Palms toured relentlessly, making their way through North America, Europe, and Japan in 2014. The band will hit the road again this fall with tour dates to be announced soon.

Pre-Order Horizons: polyvinylrecords.com/horizons

Painted Palms’ second full-length album, Horizons, exudes a sense of confidence and purpose that is only present when two creators share a singular focus and absolute trust in each other’s talents.

With Horizons, emotional states are suspended between light and dark, driven by the tension of efficient song structures. From the first ominous harmonies of lead single “Refractor,” it’s clear that Painted Palms’ panoramic pop sound has never been more fully realized.

Even though vocalist Chris Prudhomme and producer Reese Donohue chose to collaborate on their second full-length by sending song fragments back and forth over email, just as they did when crafting their 2014 debut Forever, Horizons marks the duo’s first time expanding their sound beyond the bedroom and stepping into the studio.

Mixed by former DFA house engineer Eric Broucek (LCD Soundsystem, Classixx) Horizons engages with a diverse sonic palette on each track: 60s psych-pop, ’80s synths, hypnotic vibes induced by Bjork and early ’90s Creation Records bands, and the trunk-rattling minimalism of Southern hip-hop.

Horizons is a meditation on achieving balance in a place where things are always changing, and there are no real ends. As a result, Painted Palms refines and executes their best work to date.

Like everything White Reaper does, the band’s trajectory from regional act renowned for its high-intensity shows to national touring group was accomplished at the speed of 0 to 60.

After signing to Polyvinyl in early 2014 and releasing a self-titled EP that blasts through six tracks in a breakneck 15 minutes, the Reapers – Esposito, keyboardist Ryan Hater, bassist Sam Wilkerson, and drummer Nick Wilkerson – soon began working on new material to fill out their set.

Enter White Reaper Does It Again: a raucous debut full-length from a bunch of barely 20-somethings who have more fun on a Tuesday night than you do on a Saturday.

Recorded in White Reaper’s hometown of Louisville, KY, with engineer Kevin Ratterman (Young Widows, Coliseum), WRDIA is a pure rock ‘n’ roll adrenaline shot: vicious guitar scratches, elastic bass, sugary keyboard leads, and a thudding drums that will inevitably give your heartbeat a new rhythm.

The band then held reign over Ratterman’s La La Land space for a little over a week, arriving at noon and staying late into the night – a schedule that left everyone as giddily exhausted as the crowd at, well, a White Reaper show.

See for yourself here:

6/04 – Newport, KY – Southgate House Revival

6/05 – Indianapolis, IN – The HI-FI

6/06 – Grand Rapids, MI – The Stache at The Intersection

6/07 – St. Louis, MO – The Firebird

6/08 – Kansas City, MO – The Riot Room

6/11 – Sacramento, CA – Harlow’s

6/12 – Portland, OR – Dante’s

6/13 – Seattle, WA – Neumo’s

6/14 – Boise, ID – Neurolux

6/15 – Salt Lake City, UT – Bar Deluxe

6/16 – Denver, CO – Larimer Lounge

6/17 – Omaha, NE – The Waiting Room

6/18 – Des Moines, IA – Vaudeville Mews

6/19 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue

6/20 – Milwaukee, WI – Mad Planet

7/17-7/19 – Louisville, KY – Forecastle Music Festival