This week's short list of new releases sees some old names returning with fresh new sounds. 80's electronic alternative icons Depeche Mode return with their thirteenth studio album, perhaps their strongest effort yet in this post Y2K world. Delta Machine contains the familiar tropes: dark eroticism featuring Dave Gahan's swooningly romantic lyrics amid swirling keys and syncopated if occasionally aggressive electric percussion. Though the band has been stripped down to the trio of Gahan, principle songwriter Martin Gore, and bassist Andy Fletcher, the new album is richly produced by Ben Hillier and adeptly mixed by Flood. Longtime fans will no doubt approve. Their predecessors/contemporaries, post-punk Brit band Wire also has a new album, their fourteenth, for which they revisited uncompleted songs from their past to breathe new life into them. Change Becomes Us features these nuggets, stillborns and forgotten gems as they never could have been, filtered now through decades of the band's sonic evolution. It's late night listening you'll likely want to put on after Delta Machine is over.
Among the newer bands with albums out this week, you'll want to check out Wavves' latest, Afraid of Heights. If this fourth album by Nathan Williams isn't his best yet, it's certainly his most fully produced and realized, featuring his killer riffs more prominently than ever before. NYC band The Strokes, whose dozen-year legacy had at least some influence on garage rockers like Williams, are back with their fifth album, and it's definitely turning heads -- but in which direction depends on who you ask. Comedown Machine seems to be polarizing critics. You'll want to sample a few tracks at least to see in which camp you land. In the same vein as Waaves, at least, Oakland band Warm Soda debuts with what our Music Director, Don Yates, calls "a promising album blending melodic, hook-filled power pop with scruffy garage-rock." Yet another Oakland band, Wax Idols, might find more in common with Depeche Mode and Wire. Their second album, Discipline & Desire, "is a well-executed set of goth-tinged post-punk, with a dark, atmospheric sound featuring ringing guitars, doom-laden synths, driving rhythms and stern vocals."
Other interesting new releases out this week come from buzzworthy electropop trio CHVRCHES, who debut with a short EP; Irish band Little Green Cars, who we debuted during our CMJ broadcast last year, and whose first official LP "is a well-crafted set of anthemic folk-pop highlighted by impressive five-part harmonies and stirring melodies," and a new album from the reincarnated Simon Bonney-led project Crime & The City Solution, who return after a two-decade hiatus with a Berlin-based group that includes Einstürzende Neubauten’s Alex Hacke, percussionist Jim White (Dirty Three, Cat Power) and David Eugene Edwards (16 Horsepower, Wovenhand), among others.
There's more new music to discover this week, so be sure to sample the songs below before heading out to your favorite record shop:
CHVRCHES - Recover
Crime & The City Solution - My Love Takes Me There (MP3)
Record Store Day may yet be three weeks away, but you'll find a ton of great new music at your favorite record shop today, including the latest from The Black Angels. KEXP listeners have long been fans of this Austin band, and in fact we even had them perform in-studio before the release of their...
It should be no surprise that several of the artists topping this week's list of new releases were making appearances at SXSW last week, but two of them were also previewing their new songs live on KEXP during our broadcast from Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop. Billy Bragg and Palma Violets both gave m...