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new kexp album reviews

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New Album Reviews:

Sinkane: Mean Love
Buy! - (DFA)
The third album from Sudanese-born, Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist/vocalist (and former Yeasayer/Caribou/Of Montreal sideman) Ahmed Gallab is a masterful blend of soul, funk, reggae, various East and West African styles and more, featuring warm, lush, groove-driven tracks with plaintive vocals, strong hooks and emotionally direct lyrics. 8/29/2014 - Don Yates

Other Sinkane album reviews:

Mars - 12/10/2012

Coves: Soft Friday
Buy! - (Nettwerk)
This British duo’s debut full-length is a promising set of psych-tinged dream-pop with shimmering guitars, ethereal organ, hypnotic rhythms, occasional girl-group melodies and Beck Wood’s haunting vocals and lovelorn lyrics. 8/29/2014 - Don Yates

Lia Ices: Ices
Buy! - (Jagjaguwar)
This Sonoma Valley, CA-via Brooklyn artist’s third album features a bolder, more expansive and wide-ranging sound than her previous releases, blending elements of electro-pop, hip hop, dub, Middle Eastern music and a variety of other styles into vibrant, adventurous pop. 8/29/2014 - Don Yates

Populous: Night Safari
Buy! - (Bad Panda/Folk Wisdom)
The latest solo album (and 1st in 6 years) from nomadic European electronic musician Andrea Mangia is a stunning set of exotic, rhythmic, boundary-pushing electronic-pop that finds him applying a tropical and worldly flair to his immersive, bass-heavy, intricately-layered productions, often further enhanced by a diverse roster of guest vocalists. 8/29/2014 - Alex

Cymbals Eat Guitars: Lose
Buy! - (Barsuk)
This Staten Island, NY band’s third album is their most diverse and powerful release to date of ‘90s-influenced indie-rock. Frontman Joseph D’Agostino pays tribute to his late friend and musical collaborator Benjamin High, who passed away seven years ago just as the band began recording, while also expressing belief in the power of music on consistently strong songs ranging from raucous uptempo rockers, anthemic pop-rock and knotty prog to melodic psych-rock epics and plaintive ballads. 8/22/2014 - Don Yates

Other Cymbals Eat Guitars album reviews:

Why There Are Mountains - 4/2/2009

The New Pornographers: Brill Bruisers
Buy! - (Matador)
The Vancouver, BC-born supergroup’s sixth album (and first in four years) is a strong comeback record of exuberant, hook-filled power-pop. It’s the group at their most cohesive and confident, combining crunchy guitars, bright synths, punchy rhythms, stacked, soaring harmonies and effervescent melodies into sparkling pop gems. 8/22/2014 - Don Yates

Other New Pornographers album reviews:

Together - 4/30/2010
Twin Cinema - 7/29/2005
Electric Music - 5/8/2003
Mass Romantic - 11/15/2000

Merchandise: After The End
Buy! - (4AD)
This Tampa, FL band continues to move away from their DIY/punk roots towards a more polished and pop-oriented sound on their fourth and best album. Produced by the band with mixing by veteran British producer Gareth Jones (Depeche Mode, Wire, Erasure, etc.), After The End is a lushly produced set of moody post-punk with layered, dreamy guitars, shimmering keyboards, echoing drums and grandiose melodies accompanying Carson Cox’s gloomy croon. 8/22/2014 - Don Yates

Rustie: Green Language
Buy! - (Warp)
This Glasgow-based Scottish producer’s second album of maximalist electronic grooves is a bit more diverse and dynamic than his promising debut (2011’s Glass Swords), with a densely produced, brightly colored sound ranging from twinkling ambient numbers to hard-hitting hip hop and R&B-leaning tracks with guest vocalists. 8/22/2014 - Don Yates

Cold Specks: Neuroplasticity
Buy! - (Mute)
While the debut album from Ontario-born, London-based artist Al Spx was steeped in soul, gospel and folk, the follow-up is a more expansive and edgy affair, with a bolder, darker and more dynamic sound reminiscent at times of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and PJ Harvey. Ominous, hard-hitting rhythms, edgy horns, searing organ, rumbling guitars and other instrumentation accompany her smoky, subtly powerful vocals. 8/22/2014 - Don Yates

Other Cold Specks album reviews:

I Predict A Graceful Expulsion - 5/11/2012

Avi Buffalo: At Best Cuckold
Buy! - (Sub Pop)
The second album from Long Beach, CA artist Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg & co. is another well-crafted set of roots-tinged psych-pop with a warm, beautifully detailed sound combining electric and acoustic guitars, piano, various horns and more with Avi’s breathy, falsetto-laden vocals and often-melancholy lyrics. 8/22/2014 - Don Yates

The Rentals: Lost In Alphaville
Buy! - (Polyvinyl)
The first official Rentals album in 15 years from former Weezer bassist Matt Sharp & co. is a solid return-to-form of catchy New Wave pop. Sharp surrounds himself with some high-powered talent, including The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney on drums, Ozma’s Ryen Slegr on guitar and Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of Lucius on backing vocals. All of these songs first appeared in different form on the four EPs that were a part of The Rentals’ 2009 multimedia project Songs About Time. 8/22/2014 - Don Yates

SW/MM/NG: Feel Not Bad
Buy! - (Old Flame)
This Fayetteville, AR band debuts with a promising album of jangly, psych-tinged dream-rock reminiscent at times of The Cure and Real Estate, combining a reverb-drenched sound with wistful melodies. 8/22/2014 - Don Yates

Justin Townes Earle: Single Mothers
Buy! - (Vagrant)
The 5th album from this New York-based artist is a strong set of well-crafted roots-rock steeped heavily in soul along with elements of rockabilly, country and more. With accompaniment by Centro-Matic’s rhythm section along with the guitar and pedal steel of Paul Niehaus (Calexico, ex-Lambchop), Single Mothers is often low-key, but packs a powerful emotional punch. 8/15/2014 - Don Yates

Other Justin Townes Earle album reviews:

Nothing's Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now - 3/2/2012
Harlem River Blues - 8/24/2010

Dilated Peoples: Directors of Photography
Buy! - (Rhymesayers)
This LA trio’s fifth album (and first in eight years) is a rock-solid return-to-form of underground hip hop. Produced by an all-star production team including DJ Premier, Jake One, Alchemist, 9th Wonder and Oh No, the album combines sample-heavy production, dark, old-school boom-bap beats, lots of turntable scratching and Rakaa and Evidence’s typically workmanlike rhymes. 8/15/2014 - Don Yates

Other Dilated Peoples album reviews:

The Platform - 5/15/2000

Ty Segall: Manipulator
Buy! - (Drag City)
The latest album from this prolific now LA-based rocker is his cleanest, most polished recording, and it’s also his best, expertly blending elements of glam-rock, psych-rock, power pop, ‘60s garage-rock, ‘70s hard rock, grunge, punk and more into 17 knockout rock songs with fiery guitar work, occasional organ and strings, tight, muscular rhythms, pristine harmonies and stuffed with catchy song hooks. 8/15/2014 - Don Yates

Other Ty Segall album reviews:

Sleeper - 8/16/2013
Twins - 10/12/2012

J Mascis: Tied to a Star
Buy! - (Sub Pop)
The Dinosaur Jr. frontman follows up his 2011 solo album Several Shades of Why with another strong acoustic-oriented set featuring some gorgeous finger-picked acoustic guitar along with occasional fuzzy electric guitars accompanying his drawling vocals, wistful melodies and bittersweet lyrics. 8/15/2014 - Don Yates

Owl John: Owl John
Buy! - (Canvasback/Atlantic)
Owl John is the new project of the now LA-based Scott Hutchison, lead singer of Scottish band Frightened Rabbit. His debut album under that name is a more brooding and experimental take on his band’s anthemic folk-pop that combines a diversity of styles and textures with his plaintive vocals, stirring melodies and often self-deprecating lyrics. 8/15/2014 - Don Yates

Tomten: The Farewell Party
Buy! - (Versicolor)
This Seattle trio’s second album is an impressive set of gentle, psych-tinged baroque-pop that employs a variety of colorful instrumentation including guitars, piano, organ, analog synths, strings, horns and more to flesh out the band’s dreamy melodies and bittersweet lyrics. 8/15/2014 - Don Yates

Other Tomten album reviews:

Wednesday's Children - 12/2/2011

Buy! - (Secretly Canadian)
This Swedish duo’s third album is an often-entrancing blend of moody electro-pop, hip hop/R&B, orchestral pop and other styles, combining an ethereal, heavily atmospheric sound with soaring pop melodies and Elin Kastlander’s airy vocals. 8/15/2014 - Don Yates

FKA twigs: LP1
Buy! - (Young Turks)
This British artist’s debut full-length is a knockout set of futuristic R&B with a spacious, slow-burning sound combing glitchy electronic textures and eerie narcotic beats with her breathy vocals and intimate lyrics of longing and vulnerability. 8/6/2014 - Don Yates

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