New Music Reviews (2/2)

In Stores Now, Reviews
02/02/2018
KEXP
Field Music // Photo by Hanna Stevens

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 Hookworms, Rhye, Field MusicGroundislava, and more!

Hookworms – Microshift (Domino) 

This British band's third and finest album to date finds them embracing a more melodic and electronic, groove-oriented sound ranging from propulsive motorik pop to psych-tinged space-rock, combining bright synths, hypnotic organ, buzzing, effects-laden guitars, looped samples, driving rhythms and euphoric song hooks juxtaposed with emotive lyrics revolving around depression, loss and resilience. (Don Yates)

Rhye – Blood (Loma Vista) 

Previously a duo, this LA-based project is now solely led by vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Mike Milosh. He's back with the second Rhye album, and it's an excellent set of intimate, R&B-tinged pop that features a more live sound than the debut, combining a spacious, smoldering blend of horns, strings, woodwinds, keyboards, guitars and more with his high, floating vocals and personal lyrics of love and heartbreak. (DY)

Field Music – Open Here (Memphis Industries) 

The seventh album from the British brother duo of Peter and David Brewis is another sharply crafted set of inventive prog-prop combining intricate arrangements with often-politically charged lyrics on sharply crafted songs ranging from energetic funk-inflected rock to melancholy baroque ballads. (DY)

Bat Fangs – Bat Fangs (Don Giovanni) 

The debut album from this duo comprised of Betsy Wright of DC band Ex Hex and Laura King of North Carolina band Flesh Wounds is a strong set of brash, hook-filled rock with echoes of '80s arena-rock with crunchy guitar riffs, pounding rhythms and anthemic song hooks. (DY)

The Soft Moon – Criminal (Sacred Bones) 

The fourth album from this Oakland artist (aka Luis Vasquez) is an intense set of brooding, edgy post-punk with a dark, often-bracing sound featuring noisy synths, cold industrial-tinged beats, haunting vocals and dark, self-loathing lyrics. (DY)

Chemtrails – Calf of the Sacred Cow (PNKSLM) 

The debut full-length from this London band led by Mia Lust and Laura Orlova is a promising set of lo-fi fuzz-pop inflected with New Wave, '60s pop, garage-rock and other styles with buzzing guitars, bright organ riffs, energetic rhythms and sunny pop melodies. (DY)

Anna Burch – Quit The Curse (Polyvinyl) 

The debut solo album from this Detroit artist formerly with Frontier Ruckus and Failed Flowers is a promising set of wistful indie-pop with a warm, melodic sound juxtaposing shimmering guitars and sunny, upbeat melodies with often-dark lyrics. (DY)

H.E.R. - H.E.R. (RCA) 

Largely shrouded in mystery and anonymity, 20 year-old Vallejo, California vocalist Gabi Wilson is the voice behind H.E.R., a skyrocketing R&B project that excels at magnetic slow-burning ballads that gorgeously fuse her silky vocals and love-fueled lyrics over spacious trap-tinged beats, perfecting a sound that closely recalls fellow R&B contemporaries Syd and Sabrina Claudio. This eponymous debut album is 21 tracks long, yet it's consistently on-point, surprisingly cohesive, and engaging throughout. (Alex Ruder)

Organ Tapes - Into One Name (Genome 6.66 Mbp) 

The third album from London's Tim Zha (aka Organ Tapes) is a captivating set of leftfield pop that leans heavily into synth-led dancehall/R&B/trance zones, and its distinguished by his fragile, airy, Auto-tuned Jamaican patois vocal style. (AR)

Maylee Todd - Acts Of Love (Do Right! Music) 

Reminiscent at times of Jessie Ware, Quadron, and Róisín Murphy, the third album from this Toronto-based songwriter, vocalist, and producer is a promising set of sultry R&B-tinged, synth-accented dance-pop. The first third of the album is particularly impressive. (AR)

Calibro 35 – Decade (Record Kicks) 

This Italian band's sixth album commemorates their 10th anniversary with an evocative set of cinematic jazz-funk inflected with psych-rock, Afro-Beat and more. It's also their first album recorded with an orchestra comprised of horns, strings, percussion and other instrumentation, augmenting the band's vintage keyboards and psych-rock guitars. (DY)

USF - Pacific Decade (self-released) 

The third full-length album from Seattle production duo USF (Jason Baxter & Kyle Hargus) is another colorful set of kaleidoscopic electronic grooves. With its sample-heavy beats and shape-shifting dynamics, Pacific Decade continues to filter their love of propulsive rhythms, bright synths, and romantic nostalgia through a kinetic prism. (AR)

J.Lamotta - The Conscious Tree (Jakarta) 

Born in Tel Aviv to a family with Moroccan roots, Berlin-based vocalist/producer J.Lamotta is a creator of global-flavored neo-soul, jazzy R&B, and earthy hip-hop. Following a few self-released EPs, The Conscious Tree marks her first official release and it's a stellar debut. (AR)

DJ Maphorisa - Blaqboy Music Presents Gqom Wave (Sound African Recordings) 

The debut album from this South African DJ/producer (also a co-producer on Drake's smash hit "One Dance" and Major Lazer collaborator) is a vibrant collaborative-heavy set of addictive vocal-laced Gqom, a mutant form of house music originating in the city of Durban in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa that fuses upfront dancefloor rhythms with hypnotic African styles. (AR)

Holy Motors – Slow Sundown (Wharf Cat) 

This Estonian band's debut album is a fine set of dusky, psych-tinged pop reminiscent at times of Mazzy Star, combining atmospheric guitars and mostly slow-burning rhythms with Lauri Raus's haunting vocals and melancholy lyrics. (DY)

Wy - Okay (Hybris) 

The debut album from this Swedish duo (Ebba Ågren and  Michel Gustafsson) is an excellent set of epic, dreamy, goth-tinged pop with a penchant for widescreen dramatics, and bolstered by Ebba's gorgeous vocals. An under-the-radar gem of a debut from late 2017. (AR)

Darkhouse Family - The Offering (First Word) 

The debut album from this Cardiff, UK-based production duo comprised of Don Leisure and Earl Jeffers is a top-notch set of exploratory jazz, blunted hip-hop, cosmic R&B, earthy soul, and stripped-down G-funk. (AR)

V/A: Call Me By Your Name OST (Madison Gate/Sony Masterworks) 

This wide-ranging soundtrack to Italian director Luca Guadagnino's critically-acclaimed 2017 film is a unique gathering of dynamic classical arrangements, wonderfully nostalgic early 80s cuts (the film takes place in 1983) and three Sufjan Stevens tracks, including two brand new pieces. (AR)

Groundislava - Groundislava II (Friends of Friends) 

The 5th album from Los Angeles-based electronic musician Jasper Patterson (aka Groundislava) serves as a thematic follow-up to his breakout 2011 debut album and dives deep into nostalgic synth-heavy beats that sway between lush hip-hop tempos and kinetic uptempo rhythms, all heavily inspired by the iconic sound of 8-bit video game soundtracks. (AR)

Onra - Nobody Has To Know (All City) 

The latest album from Parisian beat maker Arnaud Bernard (aka Onra) is another consistently solid set of sleek, sample-heavy, slow-motion, future-funk beats that mine the boogie, New Jack Swing, and R&B sound of past decades and adds a crisp, contemporary electronic/hip-hop touch. (AR)

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