Every Monday, Ghettoblaster is looking back to new albums released the previous week. Below you’ll find several albums released on Friday, August 5th that we believe are definitely worth a listen.
Haley Bonar – Impossible Dream (GNDWIRE Records)
Haley Bonar has been making music since the early 2000’s and her album count is in the double digits ( fun fact: she wrote a song called “Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy” before Big & Rich, though the two songs have very different tones). Since her beginnings Haley has come a long way, undergone a lot of changes and, like all of us, she’s made a lot of mistakes along the way. That is the basis for her new album, Impossible Dream. On this album she combines classic rock, indie-rock, and dream pop in interesting ways, whether it’s the crunchy punk vigor of “Kismet Kill,” or the dark driving rock sound on “Your Mom Is Right” reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac. Each track on this album has a different vibe yet they all feel connected, there is a clear character arc over the course of this album. Our story begins when she leaves home on the opener “Hometown”, she talks about burning bridges and walking away from relationships ” Let it all burn in the rearview mirror” and revisits this concept on “Called Your Queen” singing, “Kiss your head and walk away let the castle dance in flames.” She examines the difference between who you thought you were and who you’ve become. She wishes for improvement on “I Can Change”, and on “Stupid Face” she asks, “When did I get so mean?” On this song she also pines for youth “I miss the heart that does a cannonball into a frosted lake,” and in Kismet Kill saying, “I was impossible when I was beautiful.” On the upbeat closing track she describes herself as, “only slightly ashamed” and declares the truth, “you can be whatever you like.” You can feel Haley’s entire life informing this album, making it feel intimate and genuine. While more mistakes lie ahead, this album finds Haley taking a breath and reflecting on her past, attempting to accept her regrets and not allow them to slow her down. In doing so she taps into truths about love, life decisions, and societal structures. This album is instrumentally nuanced and lyrically empowering; a hymnal for the proudly imperfect among us.
Wild Beasts – Boy King (Domino Records)
Since their 2008 debut Wild Beasts have outfitted their lush indie-rock sound with electronic elements, blending both digital and physical sounds, but on their fifth album, Boy King, they’ve plunged head first into the digital realm. Though physical instruments are still present synths, wether sludgy, distorted, sharp or shimmering, drive this album. Modern technology combined with the 80’s aesthetic (the font on the cover is straight out of an 80’s arcade game) creates a dark, almost futuristic setting for the story of this album to unfold upon. Produced by master sound manipulator John Congleton, this concept album explores topics of love, gender, carnal instincts, and the self-destructive behavior of males. The album starts with the testosterone soaked tracks “Big Cat” and “Tough Guy” until roles shift on “Alpha Female”. The landscape navigated by our narrator is compared to ancient Greece and Rome with songs like “Eat Your Heart Out Adonis” and lyrics like, “I’m the type of man who wants to watch the world burn,” on “2BU” References to “Colossus” and “Megafauna” see our “hero” making a giant or a monster of himself, making something bigger than a human can control. The dark and danceable sound of the album fades on the tender album closer where the lyrics, “begin again” are repeated. This album is sexy and sinister, full of funky grooves and deep lyrical content.
Rival Consoles – Night Melody (Erased Tapes Records)
London-based producer and independent sound scientist Ryan Lee West has had an obsession with sound his whole life. Though he started out as a guitarist but shifted his focus into electronic music and has been doing so under the name Rival Consoles for nearly a decade. His new album Night Melody, betrays it’s title in that it is exceptionally bright and melodic, yet with occasional ominous undertones. The opener “Pattern of the North” pans the sound from left to right, front to back, and every which way. Listening to it through a car stereo, synths seem to swirl around you. What follows are meticulously built electronic compositions that excite the listener with innovative song structure, and at the same time subtle melodies and pulsing rhythms makes heads bob and toes tap. This album is a combination of the technically complex and the simply catchy. The 6 songs are so deep and epic they almost feel like 12 songs, surprising the listener with the vast universe of sound that one person can create.
Dogbreth – Second Home (Asian Man Records)
Dogbreth is a criminally under-known band that makes fantastic power pop music, which is equal parts sugary sweet and a punch in the face. Their new album, Second Home, is a short, tight set of 10 songs that span the spectrum of rock music, yet maintains one cohesive voice. Classic guitar rock mixes with punk and power pop in the most balanced way that makes you scratch your head and wonder how they were able to pull this off. There are saxophone and synth parts spread over the album but what really shines is the guitar work and songwriting. The guitars shimmer, effortlessly pounding riff after memorable riff over the course of the album. Songwriting is also a key strength as all songs on the album are sing-a-long-able and will stick with you well through the day. Seriously, please listen to this album. Words by Brian LaBenne
Noname – Telefone
Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper, Anderson .Paak, Noname. Yes, she belongs in the same conversation as those seminal acts who have hijacked RnB and Hip-Hop over the past couple years. Telefone is a beautifully poetic piece of art and is just a joy to listen to. It’s spacey and soulful to the tenth degree and Noname’s vocal delivery is fascinating to listen to. She pulls off the spoken/sung/rapped vocals that are popular right now but in her own way. She doesn’t use auto tune, giving this album a very organic feel. If you’re a fan of where Kendrick, Chance and Anderson have started to take music, you’d be wise to add Noname to the list. Words by Brian LaBenne
Izzy True – Nope (Don Giovanni)
Izzy True’s album, Nope, delivers on the promise of “Total Body Erasure,” (one of the best singles of the year). Nope is full of rootsey and rocking moments in equal measure, all done in the singular, distinctive voice of Isabel Reidy. Izzy True is kind of like a more muscular version of Frankie Cosmos, or a distilled, scaled back Courtney Barnett; she’s in truly great company. Izzy True alternates between hard and soft in both the music and the vocals, often within the span of just a few seconds, which makes for an exhilarating listen. This is an album that deals with instability in cathartic and magical ways and is also just plain good. Words by Brian LaBenne