Every Monday (in this case Tuesday because of the holiday), Ghettoblaster is looking back to new albums released the previous week. Below you’ll find several albums released on Friday July 1st that we believe are definitely worth a listen.
Maxwell – blackSUMMERS’night (Columbia)
blackSUMMERS’night, the first album from Maxwell in the past seven years, is an elegant and challenging soulful R&B album of epic proportions. Maxwell’s voice soars and croons, sometimes beautifully soft and sometimes grainy, building both comfort and conflict over the course of the album. Musically, the album mirrors what Maxwell does with his voice. Intricately placed puzzle pieces of sound are perfectly combined to create these moments of beauty and conflict. Most songs find incredible live drums and bass settling into fantastic grooves, with different movements of horns or strings or guitar. Some songs are hypnotic in their complexity, while some revel in simplicity. It really is a very special album, which has been seven years in the making. Obviously, it was time well spent for Maxwell and company.
Stephen Steinbrink – Anagrams (Melodic Records)
Anagrams is Stephen Steinbrink’s seventh full length album and it finds the songwriter producing some of the lushest songs of his career. Lyrically, the album is incredibly personal, focusing on struggles with addiction and mental illness. Steinbrink says of working on this album “Lately writing songs almost makes me feel like I’m losing it, like I keep digging up and reburying the same old bone;” while this sounds like it could result in a depressing album the effect is actually the opposite. These are wonderfully joyous songs, upbeat and poppy in the best possible way. There are shades of Lindsey Buckingham in Steinbrink’s vocal delivery, which mixes with the music beautifully. The songs kind of sound like Jon Brion producing a Real Estate album, which means these songs are beautiful and bright and jangle along. Stephen Steinbrink has pushed through the maddening monotony to produce one of the most enjoyable albums of the year thus far.
Blood Orange – Freetown Sound (Domino)
Dev Hynes music as Blood Orange is, for better or worse, stuck in the 80s. Amongst all of the 80s nostalgia happening in music these days none of it sounds like it actually belongs in the 80s like Blood Orange does. Again, this is for better or worse. At times the music soars and is made modern by different vocal deliveries, while at other times it embraces the cheese maybe a little too heavy handedly. This is all subjective, of course and really depends on the listeners sensibilities. Objectively speaking, the music he puts together is expertly crafted. Smooth synths and intricate beats mix with breathy vocals and take you back in time in a mesmerizing way. Freetown Sound is the most ambitious album that Blood Orange has produced and really is impossible to ignore.
Martha – Blisters in the Pit of My Heart (Dirtnap Records)
Blisters in the Pit of My Heart is the sophomore album from English pop-punk quartet Martha and it finds them honing in on their sound, which results a more cohesive and even better album than their debut. The songs on Blisters in the Pit of My Heart are aggressive and punchy, with incredibly poppy, soaring choruses. Martha has both male and female vocalists, which is a nice mix and keeps the album even more interesting throughout. All of these elements work wonderfully together and are anchored by Martha’s best weapon: the guitar riffs. Blisters in the Pit of My Heart is chock full of powerful and just awesome guitar riffs, making this a true joy for fans of ‘guitar albums.’ Overall, if you’re in the mood for some real solid pop-punk with riffs galore, Martha has the album for you.
Other Notable Releases:
Terry – Terry HQ (Upset the Rhythm)
Broken Beak – Some Nerve (Near Mint Records)