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new kexp album reviews

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New Album Reviews:

Rose Windows: Rose Windows
Buy! - (Sub Pop)
This Seattle band’s second (and final) album is another excellent set of expansive psych-rock featuring a variety of beautifully crafted songs blending elements of ritualistic psych, crunchy hard rock, hypnotic prog, majestic folk rock and more. 4/24/2015 - Don Yates

Other Rose Windows album reviews:

The Sun Dogs - 10/26/2012

Blur: The Magic Whip
Buy! - (Warner Bros.)
This reunited British band’s eighth studio album (and first in 12 years) is a strong return-to-form incorporating everything from classic-sounding, crunchy Brit-pop to excursions into spacy electro-pop, brooding, dub-inflected ballads and other styles that are more representative of some of frontman Damon Albarn’s other projects (Gorillaz, The Good The Bad & The Queen). 4/24/2015 - Don Yates

Other Blur album reviews:

Think Tank - 5/25/2003
13 - 3/15/1999

Best Coast: California Nights
Buy! - (Harvest)
This LA duo’s third album is a consistently strong set of ‘90s-influenced power pop, featuring a big, punchy sound with fuzzy guitars, energetic rhythms and Bethany Cosentino’s honeyed, often multi-tracked vocals and emotive, often-melancholy lyrics, along with an abundance of sparkling pop hooks. 4/24/2015 - Don Yates

Other Best Coast album reviews:

Fade Away - 10/4/2013
The Only Place - 4/27/2012
Crazy For You - 7/30/2010

Westkust: Last Forever
Buy! - (Run For Cover)
The debut album from this Swedish band (who also share a couple members with Makthaverskan) is an excellent set of shoegazerish post-punk with loud, effects-drenched guitars, energetic rhythms, alternating male/female vocals and catchy pop hooks. 4/24/2015 - Don Yates

Mac McCaughan: Non-Believers
Buy! - (Merge)
While the Superchunk frontman has released a number of solo records under the name of Portastatic, this is the first album released under his own name. It’s a consistently strong set of heart-tugging indie-pop rooted in the more melancholy side of early post-punk and New Wave. 4/24/2015 - Don Yates

Braids: Deep In The Iris
Buy! - (Arbutus)
This Montreal trio’s third album is a warmer, more melodic take on the band’s arty electro-pop, combining atmospheric synths, solemn piano, skittering beats and Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s ethereal vocals. 4/24/2015 - Don Yates

Other Braids album reviews:

Flourish // Perish - 8/23/2013

Oddisee: The Good Fight
Buy! - (Mello Music Group)
The latest album from Oddisee, the alias of NYC-via-DC emcee/producer Amir Mohamed el Khalifa that's also a member of Diamond District, is a standout set of fresh, soulful, smart hip-hop with a warm, organic touch. Both commanding on the mic with his crafty wordplay and everyman lyrics as well on the beats with his jazzy, colorful productions, The Good Fight is a no-frills record that brings the goods top-to-bottom. 4/24/2015 - Alex

Nadine Shah: Fast Food
Buy! - (Apollo/R&S)
The second album from UK singer/songwriter Nadine Shah is a strong set of dramatic avant-pop that displays her rich, soulful voice atop grandiose, theatrical backdrops. Focused, serious, and rewarding, Shah's sophomore offering recalls the likes of PJ Harvey, Anna Calvi, and Nick Cave. 4/24/2015 - Alex

Mew: +/-
Buy! - (Play It Again Sam)
This Danish band’s sixth album (and their first in six years) is a strong set of psych-tinged prog-pop featuring a densely layered sound, shape-shifting arrangements and starry-eyed melodies. 4/24/2015 - Don Yates

Nai Harvest: Hairball
Buy! - (Topshelf)
This British duo’s second album is a promising set of punkish garage-pop that’s not far-removed from groups like Japandroids and Cloud Nothings, combining buzzing, effects-drenched guitar riffs, driving rhythms, angst-ridden lyrics and anthemic song hooks. 4/24/2015 - Don Yates

Built To Spill: Untethered Moon
Buy! - (Warner Bros.)
The eighth studio album from Doug Martsch & co. features a revamped lineup and a consistently strong set of songs from Martsch with crunchy, inventive guitar riffs and solos, wistful melodies and melancholy, angst-ridden lyrics. 4/17/2015 - Don Yates

Other Built To Spill album reviews:

There Is No Enemy - 10/1/2009
You in Reverse - 3/20/2006
Ancient Melodies of the Future - 7/15/2001
Sabonis Tracks - 6/15/2001
Live - 4/15/2000
Keep It Like A Secret - 1/15/1999
Perfect From Now On - 1/15/1997

Speedy Ortiz: Foil Deer
Buy! - (Carpark)
The second album from this Northampton, MA band led by Sadie Dupuis is another excellent set of ‘90s-steeped indie-rock reminiscent of Pavement, Helium and Bettie Serveert, though this time featuring a bit more polished and intricate sound with fuzzy, wiry guitars, atmospheric keyboards and jagged rhythms accompanying Dupuis’ honeyed, often-deadpan vocals and smart, poetic and emotionally cutting lyrics. 4/17/2015 - Don Yates

Other Speedy Ortiz album reviews:

Major Arcana - 7/12/2013

Passion Pit: Kindred
Buy! - (Columbia)
The third album from this now Brooklyn-based project led by Michael Angelakos is an ebullient set of hook-filled electro-pop with a glossy, densely layered sound featuring bright neon synths, lots of hand claps and finger snaps, falsetto vocals, sunny melodies and deeply personal lyrics. 4/17/2015 - Don Slack

Other Passion Pit album reviews:

Gossamer - 7/27/2012

Buy! - (Sub Pop)
This Toronto band’s second album is another excellent set of blistering post-hardcore with scuzzy, angular guitars, pile-driving rhythms, anguished vocals and dark lyrics of loss and alienation. 4/17/2015 - Don Yates

Other METZ album reviews:

METZ - 10/1/2012

San Fermin: Jackrabbit
Buy! - (Downtown)
The second album from this Brooklyn band led by composer/multi-instrumentalist Ellis Ludwig-Leone is a bit more of a darker, more urgent and song-focused take on the band’s arty chamber-pop. The album also features a revamped lineup, expanding to an eight-piece with alternating lead vocals between San Fermin regular Allen Tate and newcomer Charlene Kaye. 4/17/2015 - Don Yates

Torres: Sprinter
Buy! - (Partisan)
The second album from Brooklyn-based artist Torres (aka Mackenzie Scott) features a bit more of a full-bodied sound along with bringing a more aggressive edge to her brooding, stripped-down rock, combining rumbling guitars and haunting melodies with her husky vocals and deeply personal lyrics of alienation and isolation. 4/17/2015 - Don Yates

Saun & Starr: Look Closer
Buy! - (Daptone)
The debut album from the Bronx-bred duo of Saundra Williams and Starr Duncan Lowe (both longtime backing vocalists for Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings) is a strong set of throwback soul. Produced by Gabriel Roth with accompaniment by The Dap-Kings, the album combines a full, ‘60s-influenced sound with the duo’s soulful vocals and gospel-steeped harmonies. 4/17/2015 - Don Yates

Wire: Wire
Buy! - (Pinkflag)
This veteran British band’s 13th studio album is a strong set of brooding post-punk with tension-filled songs combining buzzing guitars, atmospheric keyboards, hypnotic rhythms and often-dark lyrics. 4/17/2015 - Don Yates

Other Wire album reviews:

Red Barked Tree - 1/28/2011
Send - 5/27/2003
Read & Burn - 9/15/2002

Errors: Lease Of Life
Buy! - (Rock Action)
This Scottish trio’s fourth album is an impressive set of ‘80s-influenced electro-pop with shimmering synths, occasional gauzy sax, hypnotic rhythms and majestic melodies. 4/17/2015 - Don Yates

Other Errors album reviews:

Have Some Faith In Magic - 2/24/2012

Alabama Shakes: Sound & Color
Buy! - (ATO)
This Athens, AL band brings a more polished, confident and diverse sound to their second album, expanding upon the rootsy garage-soul of their debut by not only digging deeper into R&B and funk, but also incorporating lots of trippy psych-rock, some brash punk and more. Best of all, Brittany Howard’s gritty and dynamic vocals have never sounded stronger. 4/17/2015 - Don Yates

Other Alabama Shakes album reviews:

Boys and Girls - 4/6/2012
Alabama Shakes - 10/28/2011