Every Monday, Ghettoblaster is looking back to new albums released the previous week. Below you’ll find several albums released on Friday March 4th that we believe are definitely worth a listen.
Nada Surf – You Know Who You Are (Barsuk)
Power pop veterans Nada Surf have returned with one of their finest albums to date. Back in 2012, former Guided by Voices guitarist Doug Gillard joined Nada Surf, which seems to have resulted in a continued re-energizing of the band. This batch of songs ranges from sweet ballads to 70s inspired folk rock and beyond, all sung to perfection by Matthew Caws. If you’re in the mood for incredibly enjoyable pop songs with a nice edge then look no further.
Kendrick Lamar – untitled unmastered (Aftermath)
Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar released arguably one of the best hip hop albums of all time last year with To Pimp a Butterfly. He continues on in 2016 with his new release untitled unmastered, eight tracks not used for To Pimp a Butterfly. Kendrick has already performed several of these untitled tracks live, including on the final episode of the Colbert Report and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. These are dense, complicated, jazz heavy songs with unpredictable, master class rapping by Lamar. This may end up being the best hip hop release of 2016, which is impressive for something that could’ve easily just been a throwaway.
Muncie Girls – From Caplan to Belsize (Animal Style Records)
English trio Muncie Girls make incredibly catchy and lyrically challenging feminist pop-punk music. Over the course of just 30 minutes they take on misogyny, praise suffragette heroes, and give a searing indictment of a culture that seems content to forget about it all. Musically speaking this is a tight and technical set of songs with intricate verses and soaring choruses, which reminds us just how enjoyable really well executed pop-punk can be. From Caplan to Belsize is a truly special debut album from a talent that will be fun to watch in the future.
Big Ups – Before a Million Universes (Exploding in Sound)
Big Ups thrive on creating a dichotomous relationship between verse and chorus. Early on in Before a Million Universes their trend of stumbling through half-sung / half-mumbled verses to get to exploding choruses is well established, yet never becomes tiresome. Over the course of the album the comparisons pile up from Fugazi to Pavement, Melvins to the Pixies, and many others in between. Press play, turn it up to 11, and get ready to reminisce about the good old days when you were still young enough to throw down in a mosh pit.
Adult Books – Running from the Blows (Lolipop Records)
Running from the Blows is the sort of debut album that could only have been made by a band with a true and established point of view. Adult Books have come out of the gate steeped in 80s post-punk and have brought forth an album that sounds like the product of a one night stand between New Order and the Ramones. The highlights are many and sprinkled throughout, which make this album a truly wonderful discovery.
Thao and the Get Down Stay Down – A Man Alive (Ribbon Music)
Over the last several years Thao Nguyen has proven to be adept at writing off-kilter pop songs. For A Man Alive Thao handed over the producing reins to Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs, and the result is an even more fractured and muscular sound throughout. Several styles are taken on, including an incredibly successful attempt at quasi-rapping by Thao on “Meticulous Bird”. From start to finish, this is what expertly crafted quirky pop music can be at its highest form.
Wussy – Forever Sounds (Damnably)
Forever Sounds, the perfectly titled sixth studio album from Cincinnati band Wussy, presents an endlessly interesting collection of sounds. These songs operate as mosaic pieces of sonic layers, combining country rock with heavy shoegaze, all while sounding like a transmission from outer space. All that said, what really shines here is the often shimmering, always fascinating guitar work. This could all combine for an overly dense listen, but Wussy ground their songs with expert songwriting that tell engaging stories.