Every Monday Ghettoblaster is looking back to new albums released the previous week. Below you’ll find several albums released on Friday, October 14th that we believe are definitely worth a listen.
Crying – Beyond The Fleeting Gates (Run For Cover Records)
The debut full length the New York rock band is an unexpected pairing of smooth synth-pop and larger than life progressive rock. Songs erupt into arena rock crescendos with screeching guitar solos, brassy synths, and elaborate drum fills. This album was preceded by two EPs that were more punk focused until guitarist Ryan Galloway channeled his love for bands like Rush into their existing sound. The result is a showcase of the technical talent of Galloway and drummer Nick Corbo, while serving as an unlikely yet effective companion to Elaiza Santos’ light and airy vocals. There are sounds present on this album that would ordinarily be considered over the top and cheesy, yet when they’re presented alongside of Elaiza’s vocals they come across as daring and innovative. Every musician is a collection of influences and here we see a pairing of dissimilar styles to make a completely fresh and original pop sound.
Conor Oberst – Ruminations (Nonesuch Records)
Bob Dylan recently won a Nobel Prize for Literature demonstrate the power of storytelling in folk music. In the same week Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst released his seventh solo album, Ruminations, which follows in this same tradition. After last year’s tour with his political punk band Desaparecidos, Oberst became ill and exhausted so he returned to his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. He holed up to recover and ended up making this album. Folk music’s power lies in it’s lyrics and these songs truly are literature. Thick with references to historical and cultural figures, like Jane Fonda, Ronald Reagan, even Robin Williams, and talks about meeting Lou Reed and Patti Smith, this album is true americana. On the track above he uses Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture and life (the titular Borthwick was Wright’s wife) to examine his own legacy and what it means, “to build something that’s sacred ’til the end.” The music is very simple and bare, Oberst singing over either piano or guitar with the occasional harmonica solo, reminiscent of Dylan and at times akin to Elton John’s more intimate tracks. At this point, Oberst has had a long career in music, and on this record we see him removed from all of that, as he reflects and considers what’s next. This record is leagues above his previous solo work, with many simple yet powerful folk tunes.
The Game – 1992 (Entertainment One Music)
A couple weeks ago I talked about how on All Songs Considered Danny Brown said he was in the Nas lineage of lyricists, and The Game is definitely a branch on that family tree. Not only does his voice actually resemble Nas’, but his music is an intersection of incredible wordplay, vocal stamina, and vivid storytelling. On his eighth studio album, the Compton rapper reflects of the LA riots of 1992, his childhood in the hood, his partnership with Dr. Dre, and his departure from G-Unit. This album is heavy with references to early hip-hop, not just the cover art that resembles Snoop’s albums in the 90’s. The song “I Grew Up on Wu-Tang” samples Wu Tang’s “C.R.E.A.M.”, “True Colors” uses Ice-T’s “Colors” and “F**K Orange Juice” samples Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s classic “The Message.” On “92 Bars” you guessed it, he literally spits 92 Bars and disses Meek Mill and a laundry list of other rappers, “I’m gonna be beefing with Cole, Drizzy, or Cornrow Kenny. Pick your favorite rapper you gon’ be pourin’ out Henny.” This is the final track on the album and the most impressive, though the rest of the album has it’s merit. This album feels very personal, as he tells stories from growing up, we get to know him better and see the influences and experiences that lead him to hip-hop. The Game has never been on my list of favorite rappers, but with this album he’s definitely making his way toward the top of the list.
Swet Shop Boys – Cashmere (Custom Records)
HBO’s The Night Of star Riz Ahmed and Das Racist’s Heems have joined forces as Swet Shop Boys, follows in the footsteps of Heems former project, using comedy and clever wordplay to tackle important issues. Heems has always had skills and he delivers he quirky, signature style of rhymes, but on this album Riz establishes that he is more than an actor he is an impressive lyricist. This is an album that is both culturally relevant and super cool and catchy.
From Indian Lakes – Everything Is Alright Now (Triple Crown Records)
The California indie-rock bands fourth studio album is moody yet surprisingly catchy. As the title implies this album deals with depression in all aspect whether in relationship or friendships. This album is an interesting blend of polished rock and earthy influence, kind of like Local Natives meets Midlake. There is just the right amount of early emo influence with delayed guitars, frontman Joey Vannucchi’s breathy vocals, and drummer Tohm Ifergan’s relentlessly impressive beats. I kept waiting for this album to bore me, but it kept finding ways to keep me interested while staying true to it’s hazy nature.
Jonny Fritz – Sweet Creep (ATO Records)
On his new album the singer/songwriter references country tradition with updated production techniques. This album could easily exist like Conor Oberst’s with minimal instrumentation, but Fritz adds interesting elements throughout. Whether it’s guitar effects, unique percussion, or country classics like fiddle these little touches really make the songs stand out. Fritz’s songwriting is like the folk/country version of John Grant, with songs often being comical and powerful at the same time. On this album Jonny talks about the life and times of a Sweet Creep, talking about ladies and being certainly uncertain about life and what comes next. This album is fun, with a lot of great wordplay and moments of surprising vulnerability.