New Music Reviews (2/12)

In Stores Now, Reviews
photo by Matthew B. Thompson (view set)

Each week KEXP's Music Director Don Yates and other KEXP DJs share brief insights on new and upcoming releases. See what's coming up this week below, including reviews for the Kendrick Lamar curated Black Panther soundtrack, Superchunk, MGMT, and more!

(Soundtrack) - Black Panther The Album Music From And Inspired By (TDE/Aftermath/Interscope)

The soundtrack to the new Ryan Coogler film was curated by Kendrick Lamar, and he doesn't disappoint, recruiting an impressive guest lineup including established heavy hitters like Vince Staples, Anderson.Paak, James Blake, SZA and other notables while also shining a spotlight on a variety of more obscure but promising up-and-comers. It all adds up to an adventurous, knockout blend of dark hip hop bangers and brooding R&B. (Don Yates)

Superchunk – What A Time To Be Alive (Merge)

This veteran Chapel Hill, NC band's 11th studio album is a rousing set of anthemic, hook-filled pop-punk with buzzing guitars and energetic rhythms accompanying Mac McCaughan's urgent vocals and angry, politically charged lyrics reflecting our troubled times. (DY)

MGMT – Little Dark Age (Columbia)

This Connecticut duo's fourth album finds them returning to a brighter, more melodic and pop-oriented sound for an impressive set of '80s-steeped psych-pop with fuzzy synths, bouncy beats and sunny pop hooks juxtaposed with often-wry lyrics of life during our (hopefully) little dark age. (DY)

The Orielles – Silver Dollar Moment (Kanine)

This British trio's debut album is a promising set ranging from shimmering indie-pop to propulsive, funk-inflected pop. (DY)

Palm – Rock Island (Carpark)

This Philadelphia band's second album is an adventurous set of playful, rhythm-driven avant-rock with tricky, shape-shifting rhythms, buoyant Beach Boys/Animal Collective harmonies and inventive guitar sounds that range from cold and angular to sounding like sunny steel drums. (DY)

Hockey Dad – Blend Inn (Kanine)

Produced by John Goodmanson at Robert Lang studios in Seattle, this Australian duo's second album is a potent set of surf-tinged power-pop with jangly guitars, punchy rhythms and catchy song hooks. (DY)

Robert Earl Thomas - Another Age (Captured Tracks)

The debut solo album from the Brooklyn-based Widowspeak guitarist is a fine set of dreamy, '80s-tinged rock combining jangly guitars, warm synths and occasional strings and horns with his gentle vocals, intimate lyrics and wistful melodies. (DY)

Parisalexa – Bloom EP (self-released)

This young Seattle artist's debut EP is a strong 7-song set of moody R&B combining an often-spacious sound with her elastic vocals and intimate lyrics of love's ups and downs. (DY)

Franz Ferdinand – Always Ascending (Domino)

This Scottish band's fifth album (and first in five years) features a revamped lineup on this polished set of clever dance-rock combining prominent synths, guitars and often-disco influenced rhythms with Alex Kapranos' suave vocals and humor-leavened lyrics of modern life's travails. (DY)

Barrett Martin Group – Transcendence (Sunyata)

The sixth album from this Seattle producer/composer/percussionist (and former Screaming Trees drummer) is a well-crafted blend of jazz with psych-rock, Afro Cuban and Brazilian rhythms, funk and more, with accompaniment by a stellar lineup including Wayne Horvitz, Thione Diop, Peter Buck, Evan Flory-Barnes and other notables. (DY)

Dizzy Fae – Free Form (self-released, 2018)

Dizzy Fae is a 19 year old R&B artist based in St. Paul, Minnesota. Shortly after graduating, she dropped her debut single, "Color Me Bad" and embarked on a sold out tour supporting Lizzo in 2017. Since then, she has shared stages with Empress Of, Kehlani, and Polica. She showcases her R&B style singed with slinky electronic beats and FKA Twigs styled vocals in her debut mixtape produced by Psymun (The Weeknd, Corbin) and Su Na (GoldLink, Gallant). (Abbie Gobeli)

Joan As Police Woman – Damned Devotion (Play It Again Sam)

The fifth solo album from New York artist Joan Wasser is a potent set of moody, soul-tinged pop combining a stark, keyboard-heavy sound with her intimate, elastic vocals and bracingly honest lyrics of love's compulsions and regrets. (DY)

Runaway Brother – New Pocket (Tiny Engines)

This Cleveland band's second album is a potent set of '90s-steeped indie-rock with a dynamic, shape-shifting sound combining crunchy guitars with anthemic song hooks. (DY)

Loma – Loma (Sub Pop)

The debut album from this Texas trio comprised of Shearwater's Jonathan Meiburg along with Emily Cross and Dan Duszynski of Cross Record is an evocative set of atmospheric avant-pop, combining an often-spacious, haunting sound with Cross's luminous vocals. (DY)

Son Lux – Brighter Wounds (City Slang)

The fifth album from this LA/New York trio led by Ryan Lott is a fine set of emotive avant-pop blending elements of electro-pop, neo-classical, ambient and more, combining a dark, often-uneasy sound with Lott's tremulous vocals and lyrics of loss and resiliency.

Keys N Krates – Cura (Dim Mak)

This Toronto trio's debut full-length is a solid blend of hip hop, R&B and warm electronic grooves, combining bright keyboards, an abundance of looped samples, propulsive beats and occasional guest vocalists. (DY)

Brandon Locher – EP1 (Hush Hush)

The first release under his own name from this New York-based electronic producer is a fine 3-song EP of atmospheric downtempo grooves inflected with jazz, neo-classical and other styles. (DY)

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