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new kexp album reviews

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New Album Reviews:

Algiers: Algiers
Buy! - (Matador)
This London/NYC-via-Atlanta trio’s debut album is an electrifying blend of edgy post-punk with soul and gospel, featuring a dark, haunting sound with ominous guitar squalls, icy synths, hypnotic drum-machine rhythms, gritty, soulful lead vocals, gospel-influenced harmonies and politically charged lyrics. Easily one of this year’s most powerful albums. 5/29/2015 - Don Yates

Jamie xx: In Colour
Buy! - (Young Turks)
The solo debut from this British DJ/producer (and member of London band The xx) is a masterful blend of dance-friendly electronic music ranging from club bangers steeped in house and techno (along with some hip hop and dancehall) to minimalist, R&B-inflected electro-pop reminiscent of the music of The xx. The xx’s Romy and Oliver Sim provide guest vocals on a handful of songs, while one of the highlights features Young Thug & Popcaan. 5/29/2015 - Don Yates

Jim O'Rourke: Simple Songs
Buy! - (Drag City)
The illustrious Tokyo-via-Chicago musician/producer’s latest album is an impeccably crafted set of ‘70s-influenced pop steeped in prog and psych-pop, beautifully produced with a warm, dynamic sound combining intricate, ornate arrangements using a variety of instrumentation with sweeping melodies and wry, often-biting lyrics. 5/29/2015 - Don Yates

Other Jim O'Rourke album reviews:

Insignificance - 11/15/2001
Bad Timing - 9/15/1997

SOAK: Before We Forgot How To Dream
Buy! - (Rough Trade)
The debut album from this young Irish singer-songwriter (aka Bridie Monds-Watson) is a promising set of ethereal folk-pop with a stripped-down sound featuring dreamy guitar lines, mournful violin, occasional piano, spare, sometimes electronic beats, melancholy melodies, aching, reverbed vocals and emotive, well-crafted lyrics of lost innocence. 5/29/2015 - Don Yates

Buy! - (RCA)
The New York rapper’s second official album is an impressive set of woozy psychedelic hip hop with a hazy, floating sound featuring mostly slow beats and trippy psychedelic textures incorporating a wide range of surprising yet effective samples including Cayucas, Leonard Cohen, Python Lee Jackson and Lucero. While featuring a wide range of producers including Danger Mouse, Mark Ronson and Kanye West, the album’s atmospheric sound is cohesive throughout and seamlessly syncs up with Rocky’s fluid delivery. 5/29/2015 - Don Yates

Flavia Coelho: Mundo Meu
Buy! - (Mr Bongo)
This Brazilian vocalist’s second album is a sunny, eclectic and groove-driven blend of samba, forro, hip hop, funk, reggae, Afro-beat and even a bolero and some Balkan folk. An impressive variety of special guests also contribute including Afro-beat drummer Tony Allen, Speech of Arrested Development, Senegalese singer Woz Kaly, Sierra Leonean-German artist Patrice and French band l’Ultra Bal. 5/22/2015 - Don Yates

Daughn Gibson: Carnation
Buy! - (Sub Pop)
This Carlisle, PA artist’s third album is another strong set of haunting noir-pop inflected with atmospheric country sounds and spaghetti western. Recorded in Seattle with Randall Dunn producing and featuring contributions from a number of Seattle musical luminaries, the album features an ominous beautifully textured sound to frame Gibson’s cavernous baritone and dark, often-sexually charged narratives. 5/22/2015 - Don Slack

Other Daughn Gibson album reviews:

Me Moan - 7/1/2013
All Hell - 4/27/2012

LoneLady: Hinterland
Buy! - (Warp)
The second album from British vocalist/guitarist Julie Campbell (aka LoneLady) finds her fleshing out the minimalist sound found on her 2010 debut and adding a more upbeat, disco-tinged sound for a strong set of groovy pop tunes influenced by the 80s post-punk movement that are packed with funky basslines, angular guitars, jittery rhythms, and her own wonderfully complimentary vocals. 5/22/2015 - Alex

Allen Stone: Radius
Buy! - (Capitol)
This Chewelah, WA artist’s third album is another solidly crafted blend of ‘70s-influenced soul and funk ranging from full-bodied funk bangers to gospel-steeped soul and stark folk-soul ballads. 5/22/2015 - Don Yates

Other Allen Stone album reviews:

Allen Stone - 10/28/2011

Trails and Ways: Pathology
Buy! - (Barsuk)
This Oakland band’s debut album is a well-crafted set of electro-pop inflected with funk, disco, psych-pop, bossa nova, West African pop and more, combining bright synths, sleek guitars, occasional tropical elements, alternating male/female lead vocals and sparkling pop hooks. 5/22/2015 - Don Yates

Nozinja: Nozinja Lodge
Buy! - (Warp)
South African producer Nozinja (aka Richard Mthetwa) is known as the chief architect of Shangaan Electro, a style of music blending South African folk traditions with electronic music. His debut full-length is an impressive set of adventurous grooves with rapid-fire electronic rhythms, prominent marimba and other traditional sounds along with soulful harmonies. 5/22/2015 - Don Yates

Samo Sound Boy: Begging Please
Buy! - (Body High)
The long-awaited debut full-length album from Los Angeles DJ/producer Sam Griesemer (aka Samo Sound Boy, founder and label boss of Body High Records and one-half of DJ Dodger Stadium alongside Jerome LOL) is a captivating set of emotionally-charged tracks that cascade with energy and soul. Inspired by the dissolution of a long-term relationship and built around simple, powerful vocal samples that fade in-and-out of massive, swelling synths and hard-hitting drums, Begging Please contains moments that could work on the dancefloor, an environment that Samo and Body High have largely focused on during their existence, but ultimately this a smart, complex, non-club record and one of the more arresting electronic long-players of the year. 5/22/2015 - Alex

Shamir: Ratchet
Buy! - (XL)
This 20-year-old Las Vegas artist’s debut album is a masterful blend of R&B, funk, house, disco, hip hop, post-punk and electro-pop, featuring a variety of bright, sharply crafted songs with often-sparse accompaniment that puts a spotlight on his elastic, androgynous vocals and intimate lyrics. 5/15/2015 - Don Yates

Tanlines: Highlights
Buy! - (True Panther)
This Brooklyn duo’s second album downplays the prominent tropical influences that colored their debut album in favor of a warmer, more laid-back sound with dreamy synths, gently chiming guitars and wistful melodies. 5/15/2015 - Don Yates

Fool's Gold: Flying Lessons
Buy! - (ORG Music)
The third album from this LA band is a confident, well-executed blend of various African and Caribbean styles with funk, psych and folk-pop, combining jangly guitars with percolating rhythms and sunny melodies. 5/15/2015 - Don Yates

Other Fool's Gold album reviews:

Leave No Trace - 7/26/2011

Ceremony: The L-Shaped Man
Buy! - (Matador)
This Rohnert Park, CA band’s fifth album finds them continuing to move away from their hardcore punk roots and straight towards brooding, Joy Division-style post-punk with astringent guitars, rubbery bass lines, gloomy baritone vocals and dark lyrics of a busted relationship. 5/15/2015 - Don Yates

Other Ceremony album reviews:

Zoo - 3/2/2012
Rocket Fire - 5/14/2010

Joanna Gruesome: Peanut Butter
Buy! - (Slumberland)
This Cardiff, Wales band’s second album is a strong set of ‘90s-influenced noise-pop with loud, scuzzy guitars, energetic rhythms, sugary pop hooks and Alanna McArdle’s mostly soft and ethereal though sometimes shouted vocals. 5/15/2015 - Don Yates

Other Joanna Gruesome album reviews:

Weird Sister - 8/30/2013

Flyying Colours: EPX2
Buy! - (Shelflife)
This new release combines this Australian band’s 2013 self-titled debut EP with their brand-new EP ROYGBIV. Both are stellar examples of loud, shoegazer psych-rock with walls of distortion-drenched guitars, driving rhythms, ethereal vocals and dreamy pop melodies. 5/15/2015 - Don Yates

The Living Eyes: Living Large
Buy! - (Agitated)
This Australian band’s second album is a strong set of ‘60s-steeped garage-rock incorporating elements of surf, psych-rock and other styles with a potent blend of crunchy, fuzz-encrusted guitars, energetic rhythms and catchy pop hooks. 5/15/2015 - Don Yates

Hot Chip: Why Make Sense?
Buy! - (Domino)
This British group’s sixth album is another smartly crafted set of hook-filled electro-pop inflected with funk, R&B, disco, house, post-punk, prog and other styles. The first Hot Chip album to be recorded live in the studio, Why Make Sense? sports a natural sound combining bright analog synths, sleek guitars and propulsive rhythms with Alexis Taylor’s vulnerable crooning and heartfelt lyrics. 5/15/2015 - Don Yates

Other Hot Chip album reviews:

In Our Heads - 6/8/2012
Made in the Dark - 1/18/2008
The Warning - 6/6/2006

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