Every Monday, Ghettoblaster is looking back to new albums released the previous week. Below you’ll find albums released on Friday, July 29th that we believe are definitely worth a listen.
Owen – The King of Whys (Polyvinyl Records)
The King of Whys, the eighth album former American Football member Mike Kinsella has released under the name Owen, is a beautifully tense album from start to finish. “Empty Bottle” opens the album up with this tension on full display as a loud guitar chord is struck over and over again as Kinsella sings a melancholy melody over otherwise pretty music. This sense of duality is carried on throughout the album, which finds songs diving headfirst into beauty and aggression. There are several seemingly straightforward acoustic guitar led Emo singer songwriter songs, yet the instrumentation makes the tracks much more interesting than they could have been. Sometimes it is flourishing strings and sometimes fantastic drumming, yet the backbone of all the songs remains Kinsella and his ability to pull off melodramatic songwriting with ease. This is easily one of the most beautiful albums of the year, yet it still surprises and leaves you with a sense of unease at the same time. Words by Brian LaBenne
Trim – 1-800 DINOSAUR Presents Trim (1-800 DINOSAUR)
1-800 DINOSAUR Presents Trim is not your normal grime album; everything in Trim’s world is wonderfully off-kilter. There are staples of grime music here, the heavily accented British rapping and dirty sounding electronics, yet it’s like an alternate reality version of grime at the same time. The music sounds as if it could have been lifted straight off of an Aphex Twin album as the album is full of atmospheric and sometimes meandering electronic music. Trim raps and doesn’t rap at the same time, sometimes settling into a quasi-rap / quasi-spoken word delivery, which is incredibly poetic and fascinating. “Man Like Me,” the albums latest single, is by far the most “normal” or “accessible” song on the album, which means the listener is in for a heady listen. If this at all sounds interesting then this album full of art-house grime is definitely for you. Words by Brian LaBenne
HOO HAs – HOO HAs EP
The classic four person rock band setup has been done to death, so how do you breathe new life into this tired format? HOO HAs manage to do this with their self-titled debut EP, peppering in different influences, giving each of the 4 songs their own unique personality. Crunchy rock grooves spasm into squealing guitar solos and aggressive crescendos, while frontman Jamie’s stolid vocals, heavily resembling Damon Albarn, treat the listener to clever, biting anecdotes on all facets of modern life. The lead single This Is The New Me, is bright and bouncy, while still possessing some punk-rock grit. Giving an individual account of a universal problem: trying to break your bad habits, backsliding, and trying to make sense of the progress you’ve made. This album feels both foreign and relatable, though the stories are told in a new way the listener can see these scenes playing out while listening, partly because they’ve been there before.
NAO – For All We Know (Little Tokyo Recordings)
We are living in the age of the reference and the reboot, with old films and TV shows being resurrected and redone, and musicians from previous eras making comebacks and finding new success. 90’s references in particular are hot right now which makes this the perfect time for the music of British singer-songwriter NAO. She explores many genres, such as soul, funk, and jazz (the title of the album is a reference to an old jazz song of the same name). However, this album predominately emulates 90’s hip hop and R&B, combined with modern technology to revitalize this throwback style. Her high-pitched, airy coo leads both smooth party anthems and heartfelt ballads. This album was preceded by two EPs and a handful of singles, making her debut full length a much anticipated album release and it did not disappoint.