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new kexp album reviews

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New Album Reviews:

Shabazz Palaces: Lese Majesty
Buy! - (Sub Pop)
The second full-length from this Seattle duo comprised of former Digable Planets frontman Ishmael Butler (aka Palaceer Lazaro) and multi-instrumentalist Tendai “Baba” Maraire is another mind-blowing set of experimental hip hop with woozy beats and spacy textures accompanying Butler’s reverberating vocals and abstract raps. 7/18/2014 - Don Yates

Other Shabazz Palaces album reviews:

Black Up - 6/16/2011

Alvvays: Alvvays
Buy! - (Polyvinyl)
This Toronto-based band’s debut album is a promising set of hazy, surf-inflected dream-pop. Produced by Chad VanGaalen, the album features a reverb-drenched sound with fuzzy guitars, energetic rhythms, wistful melodies, melancholy lyrics and Molly Rankin’s soaring vocals. 7/18/2014 - Don Yates

Tender Games: Tender Games
Buy! - (SUOL)
The debut full-length from the Berlin-based duo of Marlon Hoffstadt and HRRSN is a smooth blend of R&B and propulsive house and 2-step grooves reminiscent of Disclosure, with a warm sound combining bright synths, occasional Rhodes piano and other live instrumentation and soulful vocals. 7/18/2014 - Don Yates

Sugar Stems: Only Come Out At Night
Buy! - (Dirtnap)
This Milwaukee band’s third album is a strong set of hook-filled power pop reminiscent at times of the Fastbacks, combining crunchy guitars, organ, energetic rhythms and bright melodies. 7/18/2014 - Don Yates

White Fence: For The Recently Found Innocent
Buy! - (Drag City)
The sixth White Fence album from LA’s Tim Presley is the first recorded in an actual studio and also the first to feature a live drummer. Produced by Ty Segall, the album is a more focused, polished and melodic take on Presley’s jangly, ‘60s-steeped blend of garage-rock, psych-pop and folk-rock. 7/18/2014 - Don Yates

Slow Club: Complete Surrender
Buy! - (Wichita)
This British duo continues to evolve on their third album, an often-stunning set of sleek and sophisticated indie-pop steeped in ‘60s and ‘70s soul and pop. Beautifully produced by Colin Elliot (who’s best known for his lush production work for Richard Hawley), the album masterfully combines a warm blend of guitars, keyboards, strings and horns with lovelorn lyrics, wistful melodies and Rebecca Taylor’s soaring vocals. 7/11/2014 - Don Yates

The Acid: Liminal
Buy! - (Mute)
The debut album from this international trio comprised of British producer Adam Freeland, California producer/composer Steve Nalepa and LA-based Australian vocalist Ry X is a promising set of post-dubstep electro-pop with a haunting minimalist sound combining dark, atmospheric synths, sparse acoustic guitars, skeletal house and techno rhythms and Ry X’s intimate vocals. 7/11/2014 - Don Yates

Prom Body: Naughty By Natural
Buy! - (Topaz)
The second album from this Tucson band led by Michael Fay is an impressive set of lo-fi pop-punk reminiscent at times of Wavves and early No Age, combining fuzzy guitars and energetic rhythms with catchy melodies and often-sardonic lyrics. 7/11/2014 - Don Yates

French Style Furs: Is Exotic Bait
Buy! - (Frenchkiss)
The debut album from this project featuring Nate Willett and Matt Maust from Cold War Kids and Nathan Warkentin from We Barbarians is a fine set of urgent post-punk combining an energetic, funk-inflected sound with Witt’s dynamic vocals and lyrics taken from the poems of American Trappist monk Thomas Merton, whose writings often revolved around spirituality, social justice and pacifism. 7/11/2014 - Don Yates

Shovels & Rope: Swimmin' Time
Buy! - (Dualtone)
The third album from the Charleston, SC husband-and-wife duo of Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent is another gritty, heartfelt blend of roots-rock, folk, blues, country and gospel, combining a raw, ramshackle sound with the duo’s rough-hewn harmonies and poignant lyrics. 7/11/2014 - Don Yates

Other Shovels & Rope album reviews:

O' Be Joyful - 6/15/2012

Ben Khan: 1992 EP
Buy! - (Dirty Hit)
The debut release from this London-based artist is a knockout set of warped electronic soul music that quickly recalls a slightly more smoothed-out version of Jai Paul, a comparable fellow young UK artist crafting an exceptional head-turning sound. 7/11/2014 - Alex

Xeno & Oaklander: Par Avion
Buy! - (Ghostly International)
This Brooklyn duo’s fourth album is an impressive set of dark electro-pop with an atmospheric sound combining icy analog synths, propulsive rhythms, haunting melodies and Liz Wendelbo’s ethereal vocals (along with Sean McBride’s occasional more gloomy vocal tones). 7/11/2014 - Don Yates

Comet Gain: Paperback Ghosts
Buy! - (Fortuna Pop)
This veteran British band’s seventh album finds them continuing to move away from their scruffy, lo-fi roots with a polished set of smartly crafted indie-pop with jangly guitars, occasional violin, poignant lyrics and wistful melodies. 7/11/2014 - Don Yates

Other Comet Gain album reviews:

Howl of the Lonely Crowd - 1/25/2012

Braid: No Coast
Buy! - (Topshelf)
The first album in 16 years from this Chicago-via-Champaign, IL band is a smoother, more melodic take on the band’s influential emo-punk, with knotty guitar lines, tricky time signatures, shifting rhythms, dual lead vocals and emotive lyrics. 7/11/2014 - Don Yates

Jungle: Jungle
Buy! - (XL)
This British duo’s debut full-length is an excellent set of retro-futuristic electro-funk with shimmering keyboards, funky guitar lines, rubbery beats, layered falsetto vocals and lyrics detailing the modern inner-city blues. 7/11/2014 - Don Yates

Cold Beat: Over Me
Buy! - (Crime On The Moon)
The debut album from this Bay Area project led by ex-Grass Widow bassist Hannah Lew is a smartly crafted blend of sparkling New Wave pop, urgent post-punk, dark synth-pop and more, with concise, hook-filled songs featuring Lew’s ethereal vocals and dark lyrics about modern-day San Francisco. 7/3/2014 - Don Yates

Reigning Sound: Shattered
Buy! - (Merge)
The sixth album (and first in five years) from this Greg Cartwright-helmed band is a more polished, sophisticated and pop-oriented take on their ‘60s-steeped blend of garage-rock, psych, R&B and folk-rock, adding a few more relaxed rhythms and occasional strings to their elemental garage-soul sound. 7/3/2014 - Don Yates

Other Reigning Sound album reviews:

Time Bomb High School - 8/15/2002

Alex G: DSU
Buy! - (Orchid Tapes)
This young Philly-based artist’s latest album is an impressive set of lo-fi, ‘90s Northwest-influenced indie-rock with rambling electric and acoustic guitars, occasional keyboards, fragile vocals, personal lyrics and wistful melodies. 7/3/2014 - Don Yates

Eno/Hyde: High Life
Buy! - (Warp)
The second collaborative effort released this year from famed producer/musician Brian Eno and Underworld frontman Karl Hyde finds them taking a looser, more jam-oriented approach with invigorating effect. High Life seamlessly blends repetitive Reichian minimalism with Afro-beat, high life and other styles, powered by Hyde’s kinetic guitar lines and a variety of hypnotic rhythms. 7/3/2014 - Don Yates

Drenge: Drenge
Buy! - (Infectious)
The debut album from the British brother duo of Rory and Eoin Loveless is a hard-hitting blend of bluesy garage-punk and aggressive post-punk with a raw, heavy sound combining primal grungy guitars, pummeling rhythms and sardonic, angst-fueled lyrics. 7/3/2014 - Don Yates

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