New Music Reviews (9/14)

Album Reviews

Each week KEXP's Music Director Don Yates shares brief insights on new and upcoming releases. See what's coming up this week below, including reviews for new releases from Noname, Low, Jungle, and more.

NonameRoom 25 (self-released) 
This LA-based, Chicago-bred artist (aka Fatimah Warner) follows up her acclaimed 2016 debut mixtape Telefone with her official debut album, and it’s a knockout set of intimate, jazz- and R&B-tinged hip-hop, combining a warm, dreamy sound with her agile flow and densely packed rhymes, which address weighty subjects like identity, racism, and mortality, along with celebrating sensuality and flashing more humor than on the more melancholy Telefone.

Low – Double Negative (Sub Pop) 
This veteran Duluth, MN trio’s 12th studio album is the most adventurous of their career, dramatically reworking their atmospheric slowcore into dark, experimental ambient-pop with haunting, fragmented songs featuring murky, unsettling textures, discordant beats and often-processed vocals along with ghostly harmonies, mournful melodies and lyrics of disillusion and alienation for these uneasy times.

Jungle – For Ever (XL) 
The second album from this London-based band led by Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland is another impressive blend of '70s-steeped soul, funk and disco with modern electronic grooves and textures, though this one’s a bit more melancholy than the debut, with songs revolving around lost love.

Spesh – Famous World (Killroom) 
This Seattle band’s debut album is a promising set of dreamy post-punk and Manchester-inspired dance-rock with hazy guitars, driving rhythms, and wistful melodies.

Bad Moves – Tell No One (Don Giovanni) 
This DC band’s debut album is a strong set of punkish, hook-filled power-pop with buzzing guitars, bouncy rhythms, buoyant melodies, alternating lead vocals and sharply crafted lyrics revolving around self-discovery and identity.

Emma Ruth Rundle – On Dark Horses (Sargent House) 
The fourth solo album from the Louisville, KY-based Red Sparowes/Marriages guitarist/vocalist is her strongest set to date of ominous, goth-tinged folk-rock, featuring a dynamic sound with heavy, densely layered guitars, muscular rhythms, often-dark lyrics, and hypnotic melodies.

Guerilla Toss – Twisted Crystal (DFA) 
This Brooklyn band’s third album is an adventurous, brightly colored blend of propulsive post-punk, abstract No Wave, motorik German prog and more, with a densely textured sound featuring shape-shifting rhythms and playful synths and guitars accompanying Kassie Carlson’s partly sung, partly declaimed vocals and enigmatic lyrics.

Black Belt Eagle Scout – Mother Of My Children (Saddle Creek) 
Black Belt Eagle Scout is the pseudonym of Portland-based Native American artist Katherine Paul, who grew up on the Swinomish reservation near La Conner. Her debut full-length is a powerful set of brooding folk-pop, combining an often-spare, atmospheric sound with her personal lyrics of love, loss, and identity.

The Goon Sax – We're Not Talking (Wichita) 
This young Brisbane, Australia trio’s second album features more confident musicianship, cleaner production, and stronger songwriting than their more ramshackle-sounding debut, with a variety of smartly crafted indie-pop songs combining jangly guitars and often-driving rhythms with wistful melodies and bittersweet lyrics.

Marc Ribot – Songs of Resistance 1942-2018 (Anti-) 
The New York-based guitarist is joined by an impressive supporting cast including Tom Waits, Steve Earle, Tift Merritt, Meshell Ndegeocello, Sam Amidon, and other notables for this eclectic set of protest songs ranging from new originals to a variety of more vintage songs from around the globe, with the music ranging from reflective folk-rock and lush cinematic ballads to propulsive Afro-beat and intense free-jazz.

Film School – Bright To Death (Cobraside) 
This Bay Area-bred band’s fifth album (and first in eight years) is a well-crafted set of shoegazerish dream-pop and post-punk, combining gauzy guitars and keyboards with driving rhythms, floating harmonies, and dreamy melodies.

Richard Thompson – 13 Rivers (New West) 
This veteran British artist’s latest album is a masterfully crafted set of brooding folk-rock ranging from urgent, tension-filled rockers to wistful ballads, combining Thompson’s scintillating guitar work with often-dark, emotionally turbulent lyrics.

Onry Ozzborn – Nervous Hvnd (self-released) 
This veteran Seattle rapper’s latest is a solid album of brooding hip hop combining ominous textures and a variety of adventurous beats with often-dystopian lyrics.

Rio Mira – Marimba Del Pacifico (AYA) 
The debut album from this Esmeraldas, Ecuador-based project led by vocalist Karla Kanora is a powerful set of traditional African-influenced music of the Ecuadoran and Colombian coast featuring dual marimbas, traditional percussion, and call-and-response vocals.

Aphex Twin – Collapse EP (Warp) 
This veteran British artist’s latest EP is one of his stronger latter-day releases of dark, experimental drill ‘n bass and ambient techno, combining glitchy textures and skittering, shape-shifting beats with warm ambient passages and childhood nostalgia melodies.

The Holydrug Couple – Hyper Super Mega (Sacred Bones) 
This Chilean duo’s latest album is a fine set of dreamy psych-pop combining a densely produced sound with swirling synths and guitars, hypnotic melodies and lyrical critiques of consumerism and the alienating and addictive aspects of modern technology.

Fred Thomas – Aftering (Polyvinyl) 
The latest solo album from the Ann Arbor, MI-based frontman for Saturday Looks Good To Me begins with a strong string of hook-filled, anxiety-fueled power-pop before winding down with a side of spoken-word ambient-pop.

Downpilot – This Is The Sound (Tapete) 
The sixth Downpilot album from Seattle artist Paul Hiraga is one of his more varied sets, ranging from energetic, ‘70s-steeped power-pop to psych-tinged folk-pop.

Novalima – Ch'usay (Wonderwheel) 
This Lima, Peru band’s latest album is an expansive set of Afro-Peruvian grooves inflected with hip-hop, dub, and other styles.

Brandon Coleman – Resistance (Brainfeeder) 
The debut album for Brainfeeder from the LA-based keyboardist in Kamasi Washington’s band is a fine set of breezy, jazz-tinged funk and soul with gauzy, squelchy keyboards, sleek guitars, soaring horns, slinky beats, often-vocodered vocals, celestial harmonies, and buoyant melodies.

Uji – Alborada (ZZK) 
The debut solo album from this Buenos Aires-bred artist Luis Maurette (who’s also half of the duo Lulacruza) is an atmospheric blend of a variety of electronic grooves with his own field recordings from around the globe, along with some guest vocalists.

Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears – The Difference Between Me & You (INgrooves) 
This Austin band’s fifth album is another gritty blend of high-energy garage-rock, vintage soul and funk, Mississippi hill country blues and more.

Ghostland Observatory – See You Later Simulator (Trashy Moped) 
This Austin duo’s fifth album (and first in eight years) is a more atmospheric and low-key take on their throbbing dance-rock, toning down the histrionics of past recordings for moody, hypnotic electro-pop.

We Were Promised Jetpacks – The More I Sleep The Less I Dream (self-released) 
This Scottish band’s fourth album is their most polished and mature set to date of anthemic, folk-tinged rock with ringing guitars, pounding rhythms, plaintive vocals, and mournful lyrics.

Bob Moses – Battle Lines (Domino) 
This Vancouver, BC-bred, LA-based duo’s second album is a smoother, more polished take on their sleek electro-pop combining propulsive rhythms and atmospheric synths and guitars with lyrics revolving around a variety of personal and political battle lines.

Escape-ism –The Lost Record (Merge) 
The second Escape-ism album from veteran DC artist Ian Svenonious (Chain and The Gang, Nation of Ulysses, The Make-Up, etc.) is a solid album of quirky, New Waveish dance-pop with propulsive beats and often tongue-in-cheek lyrics.

(Various) - Dur-Dur Band – Dur-Dur of Somalia Volume 1, Volume 2 & Previously Unreleased Tracks (Analog Africa) 
This compilation collects the first two albums from this 1980s-era Somali band along with some previously unreleased recordings. It’s an excellent set featuring the band’s dance-friendly blend of traditional Somali music with funk, reggae, soul, disco and more.

The Mountain Goats – Hex of Infinite Bonding EP (Merge) 
The latest release from Durham, NC-based John Darnielle and co. is a fine 4-song EP of brooding folk-pop combining a mostly spare, atmospheric sound with Darnielle’s finely chiseled lyrics pondering a comic-book character and his alter-ego, prisons, Mickey Deans & Judy Garland, and the fog in Tucson.

Afterlife Giftshop – Are For Sale (self-released) 
This Seattle band’s debut release is a promising two-sided single pairing a buoyant indie pop-rock song with a brooding, psych-tinged ballad.

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