New Music Reviews (9/21)

Album Reviews

Each week KEXP's Music Director Don Yates (and this week's special guest DJ Abbie) shares brief insights on new and upcoming releases. See what's coming up this week below, including reviews for new releases from Christine and the Queens, Cumulus, Gabriel Teodros, and more.

Christine and the Queens – Chris (Because) 
The second album from this French artist (aka Héloïse Létissier) is a strong set of rhythmic, ‘80s-steeped electro-pop inflected with funk, R&B, and other styles, combining a lean, synth-driven sound with supple, dynamic vocals and bilingual lyrics exploring identity, gender fluidity, and sexuality.

Cumulus – Comfort World (Trans) 
The second album from this Seattle-based project spearheaded by Alexandra Niedzialkowski is a smartly crafted set of emotive folk-pop ranging from driving, buoyant rockers to some spare, atmospheric ballads, combining a warm and wistful sound with plaintive vocals and lyrics of personal struggles and resilience.

Gabriel Teodros – History Rhymes If It Doesn’t Repeat (A Southend Healing Ritual) (self-released) 
The latest album from this Seattle artist (and KEXP DJ) is a strong set of hip hop combining a warm sound inflected with soul, funk, and jazz with lyrics of healing from personal and societal trauma. An impressive lineup of special guests contributes, including Otieno Terry, Meklit, Khingz, Rell Be Free and many more.

Night Shop – In The Break (Mare/Woodsist) 
Night Shop is the new project of Justin Sullivan, the LA-based former drummer for the Babies and Worriers (& currently with Kevin Morby and Flat Worms). His debut full-length is an excellent set of expertly crafted folk-rock combining a warm sound with his smoky croon, nostalgic melodies and finely chiseled lyrics of love and friendship.

Lala Lala – The Lamb (Hardly Art) 
The second album from the project of London-born, LA-bred, Chicago-based artist Lillie West is an impressive set of dreamy post-punk combining guitars, synths, occasional sax and searing, deeply personal lyrics of addiction, recovery, loss, vulnerability, and resilience.

Red Ribbon – Dark Party (Union Zero) 
This Seattle band’s official debut album is a promising set of noirish dream-pop combining ominous guitars, eerie keyboards and hypnotic rhythms with Emma Danner’s haunting vocals and often-dark lyrics.

Tomten – Viva Draconia (Plume) 
This Seattle trio’s fourth album is another beautifully crafted set of baroque, psych-tinged pop, though this time with a bit more emphasis on synths to go along with prominent piano and organ, jangly guitars, warm harmonies, and wistful melodies.

Miss World – Keeping Up With Miss World (PNKSLM) 
The debut full-length from this London-based artist (aka Natalie Chahal) is an impressive set of hooky garage-pop with a lo-fi sound combining buzzing guitars and synths with buoyant harmonies, sparkling pop melodies and satirical lyrics aimed at consumer culture, modern technology, and self-absorption.

Mutual Benefit – Thunder Follows The Light (Transgressive) 
The latest Mutual Benefit album from Brooklyn-based artist Jordan Lee is an often-gorgeous set of orchestral folk-pop combining a warm, beautifully arranged sound with reflective lyrics of hope, growth, and resilience.

Smokey Brights – Different Windows EP (Freakout) 
This Seattle band’s latest release is a strong 4-song EP of hook-filled indie-pop with bright keyboards, jangly guitars, bouncy rhythms and sparkling pop melodies.

Joyce Manor – Million Dollars To Kill Me (Epitaph) 
This Torrance, CA band’s fifth album is a well-crafted set of hook-filled power-pop with buzzing guitars and buoyant rhythms accompanying Barry Johnson’s vocals and emotive lyrics of the trials and tribulations of young adulthood.

Marissa Nadler – For My Crimes (Sacred Bones) 
The eighth album from this Boston artist is a potent set of dreamy, goth-tinged folk-pop with an atmospheric sound featuring acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, cello and more accompanying her haunting vocals and often-dark lyrics of lost love. Special guests include Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten and Kristin Kontrol on backing vocals, Mary Lattimore on harp and Hole’s Patty Schemel on drums.

Human People – Butterflies Drink Turtle Tears (Exploding In Sound) 
This New York-based band’s debut album is a fine set of raw, hook-filled garage-punk, combining buzzing guitars, energetic rhythms, alternating lead vocals from Hayley Livingston and Marisa Gershenhorn and anxiety-fueled lyrics of isolation and alienation.

The Sha La Das – Love in the Wind (Dunham/Daptone) 
This New York band revolves around Bill Schalda (who was a member of the Brooklyn vocal group The Montereys as a teen in the 1960s) along with his three sons, Will, Paul and Carmine (the former two are also members of Charles Bradley’s band). Their debut album is a well-crafted set of doo wop-steeped soul reminiscent of bands like The Chi-Lites and The Stylistics, combining a warm, in-the-pocket sound with aching lead vocals and close harmonies.

Ruston Kelly – Dying Star (Rounder) 
The debut full-length from this Nashville-based artist (and husband of Kacey Musgraves) is a well-crafted set of country-tinged folk-rock reminiscent at times of ‘90s alt-country bands like Whiskeytown, combining a warm, melancholy sound with sharply crafted lyrics of addiction and lost love.

Bad Sav – Bad Sav (Fishrider) 
The debut album from this Dunedin, New Zealand trio comprised of two members of Death And The Maiden and one from Shifting Sands is a fine set of gray, shoegazer-tinged post-punk combining fuzzy, atmospheric guitars, brooding vocals and hypnotic song hooks.

Tiny Deaths – Magic (Handwritten Records) 
Tiny Deaths is a Minneapolis/Brooklyn duo comprised of vocalist Claire de Lune and producer Grant Cutler. They follow up their debut, Elegies with Magic. Cutler's heavy, ambient soundscapes fuse with de Lune's soulful vocals to create dream-pop that centers on coming-of-age themes or as de Lune put it a "youth anthem for the apocalypse." — Abbie Gobeli 

Advance Base – Animal Companionship (Run For Cover) 
Advance Base is the latest project from Chicago-based artist Owen Ashworth (Casiotone For The Painfully Alone). His third studio full-length under that name is a fine set of dreamy, low-key indie-pop combining a spacious, atmospheric sound with lyrics of love and loss revolving around the connections between dogs and humans.

Beak>  – >>> (Temporary Residence Ltd.) 
The third album from this Bristol, England band led by Portishead’s Geoff Barrow is an adventurous blend of motorik prog, brooding psych-rock, spectral folk and more.

Villagers – The Art of Pretending to Swim (Domino) 
The fourth album from this Dublin, Ireland artist (aka Conor J. O’Brien) is another well-crafted set of electronic-tinged folk-pop, combining an intricately detailed sound with his soaring vocals and often-dark lyrics.

Yumi Zouma – EP III (Cascine) 
The final installment in the New Zealand band’s trilogy of EPs is a fine four-song set of breezy, hook-filled electro-pop with gauzy synths, atmospheric guitars, propulsive beats and buoyant melodies.

Exploded View – Obey (Sacred Bones) 
The second album from this trio comprised of Berlin vocalist Annika Henderson and Mexico City-based musicians Hugo Quezada and Martin Thulin is an adventurous blend of dark post-punk and hypnotic psych-rock, combining an eerie, often-unsettling sound with Henderson’s dusky vocals and lyrics contrasting conformity and freedom.

Harmony Rockets – Lachesis/Clotho/Atropos (Tompkins Square) 
Mercury Rev revives their old Harmony Rockets side-project with help from guitarists Peter Walker and Nels Cline and drummer Steve Shelley on this adventurous set of three lengthy instrumentals of exploratory, jazz-tinged psych-rock.

Ryan Hemsworth – Elsewhere (Secret Songs/Last Gang) 
This Halifax, Nova Scotia-bred, Toronto-based producer/DJ’s latest album features a cleaner, more polished sound and a variety of guest singers and rappers on this varied set of bubbly electro-pop inflected with R&B, hip-hop, reggaeton, and other styles.

Subways On The Sun – Capsize (Spartan) 
This Seattle band’s second album is an energetic blend of emotive power-pop and moody prog-tinged rock combining crunchy guitars, muscular rhythms, yearning vocals, and anthemic song hooks.

Loretta Lynn – Wouldn't It Be Great (Legacy) 
The latest album from the country legend features songs she either wrote or co-wrote (along with one traditional), ranging from new songs to some unnecessary re-recordings of earlier songs of hers.

Warm Drag – Warm Drag (In The Red) 
This LA duo’s debut album is a fine set of driving, industrial-tinged rock with noisy synths, reverbed guitars, often-motorik rhythms and gloomy vocals.

w. baerdaed dne (Hush Hush) 
The latest release from Burbank, CA electronic producer Wyatt Baer (aka w. baer) is an evocative 5-song set ranging from anxious, rhythm-driven tracks with haunting vocal samples to blissed-out ambient fare.

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