Every Monday, Ghettoblaster is looking back to new albums released the previous week. Below you’ll find albums released on Friday, July 8th that we believe are definitely worth a listen.
The Julie Ruin – Hit Reset (Hardly Art)
Riot grrrl pioneer Kathleen Hanna returns with The Julie Ruin’s second album, and, as the title implies, she has found a way to reset and breath new life into her unique sound. This album is the perfect blend of bouncy pop and crunchy punk, more restrained than her riot grrrl projects, yet holding onto the catchy, chant-able hooks. She explores new sounds on this album as well, from 80’s referencing tinny synths and slap bass, to the intimate piano ballad that ends the album. Hanna’s signature high-pitched vocals lead the songs, going from breathy to aggressive in an instant. These songs are ridiculously catchy with just the right amount of quirky attitude and punk rage, enough to reference her previous work while making new strides.
The Avalanches – Wildflower (XL Recordings)
Though it has been 16 years since The Avalanches put out their first record, Wildflower makes it feel as if they were never away. Their signature plunderphonics sound is alive and well on this album, packed with great vintage samples: whether it’s an old love song, a children’s choir singing The Beatles’ Come Together, or a goofy cereal commercial, tracks are outfitted with analog hisses and pops, emulating the experience of listening to a record. Their elaborate compositions keep the spirit of old school hip hop alive, topped with verses from Biz Markie and Camp Lo. This album is filled with appearances from artist of all different genres, including indie darlings Ariel Pink, Father John Misty, and Toro Y Moi. Overall this album is uplifting, electrifying, and a lot of fun. It was definitely worth the wait.
Shura – Nothing’s Real (Polydor Records)
With the popularity of bands like Haim and Tegan and Sara, it’s not exactly surprising to hear an female indie-pop vocalist with an 80’s influence. However, Shura does this quite creatively and effectively, with airy, textured compositions fronted with her soft, reserved voice that soars at times. This style of music will usually bore me after a few songs but this album is soothing yet engaging all the way through. This is, quite simply, a light pop album that is well crafted and well performed.
Schoolboy Q – Blank Face LP (Top Dawg Entertainment, Interscope Records)
Schoolboy Q’s fourth LP is his darkest, yet with pops of color throughout. The beats are masterfully produced and the lyrical content is the most powerful we’ve seen from him yet. This album seems very much tied to Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, with Jazz and Funk influences present, outlining Q’s internal struggle: deciding between his gansta lifestyle and his lifestyle as a father. While the album begins aggressively gansta, Q’s mind changes over the course of his character arc, “Let’s put the rags down and raise our kids. Let’s put the guns down and blaze a spliff.” These lyrics hit even harder in the wake of the recent shootings. Embellished gun violence is a staple of rap music, so it’s nice to see a rapper take a more peaceful position. This album is accompanied by a 3 part short film/music videos, demonstrating how this is an artistic breakthrough for Q and his most personal album yet.