New Music Reviews (1/7)

Album Reviews

Each week, KEXP’s Music Director Don Yates (joined this week by KEXP DJ Alex Ruder) shares brief insights on new and upcoming releases. See what's coming up this week below, including reviews for new releases from angelic milk, jk, Televangel, and more.

angelic milk - Divine Biker Love (PNKSLM)
The debut full-length from this St. Petersburg, Russia-based project led by Sarah Persephona is a strong set of fuzzy ‘90s-steeped rock ranging from grungy garage-pop to goth-tinged dream-pop. — DY

jk - Oddy Pop (self-released) 
jk is the new Idaho-based project of former Feral Children singer/songwriter Jeff Keenan. His debut album under that name is a strong set of psych-tinged synth-pop with buoyant beats and sunny melodies. — DY

Televangel - Anthropocene Blues (Fake Four Inc.) 
Televangel is a recently launched solo alias of Oakland-based producer Young God, also known as one-half of revered production duo Blue Sky Black Death. His second album (and label debut) under this moniker is a widescreen set of sky-scraping instrumental beats that fuse a love of hip-hop with an affinity for dynamic post-rock and epic soundtrack work that doesn't stray too far from BSBD's successful formula. — AR

Waajeed - From The Dirt (Dirt Tech Reck) 
The alias of Detroit-based DJ/producer Robert O'Bryant, Waajeed has been a formidable figure in Detroit's rich electronic/hip-hop/soul scene for nearly two decades, working closely with Slum Village and Dwele in the early 2000s, serving as one-half of Platinum Pied Pipers, launching the Bling47 and Dirt Tech Reck labels, and blossoming into an accomplished solo electronic producer. His first official solo album is a super solid set of soulful house grooves infused with tech-house, acid, R&B, funk, and gospel flavors. — AR

Young Scum - Young Scum (Citrus City)
The debut full-length album from this Richmond, VA band fronted by Chris Smith is a strong set of jangly power-pop, charming indie-pop, and playful slacker-pop. — AR

girl in red - Chapter 1 EP (self-released) 
girl in red is the alias of 19 year-old Norwegian musician Marie Ulven. Her debut EP is an amazing set of infectious bedroom pop/rock that's both sweet and urgent, lyrically covers the excitement and anxiety around teenage queer romance/love, and boasts an addictive guitar-pop sound. While she's built up a loyal fanbase in her home country and online, she appears poised to break out in an even bigger way in 2019. — AR

Chrome Sparks - Be On Fire EP (Counter) 
The latest EP from this Brooklyn producer (aka Jeremy Malvin) is a colorful blend of bright synths, warped vocal samples and blunted hip-hop and funk beats. — DY

ARTHUR - Woof Woof (PLZ Make It Ruins) 
Packing 16 songs into a 25-minute running time, the debut album from this Pennsylvania-based musician (who's been championed by Frank Ocean and Rex Orange County) is an off-kilter set of quirky, idiosyncratic, leftfield psych-pop that bubbles with brilliant ideas, enthusiastic hooks, bizarre lyrics, and unpredictable arrangements. — AR

Essam - 12.12 (self-released) 
This Seattle rapper’s debut album is an often-dark blend of hip-hop and R&B combining brooding beats with often-politically charged rhymes. — DY

Roving Reporter - Joie de Vivre EP (self-released) 
Roving Reporter is the Seattle-based project of New Orleans-bred artist Brett Barrilleaux. His debut EP under that name is a promising four-song set ranging from fuzzy, ‘90s-steeped psych-pop to jangly, beat-driven pop and wistful folk-pop. — DY

Shakiah - Bait EP (self-released) 
This Seattle artist’s latest EP is a fine five-song set of gritty hip-hop combining a variety of banging hip-hop beats with her urgent delivery and trenchant rhymes of struggle and resilience. — DY

Hammock - Universalis (Hammock Music)
The 9th full-length album from this veteran Nashville duo –Andrew Thompson and Marc Byrd – is another sublime set of transcendent instrumental-heavy ambient/neo-classical/post-rock compositions that leans heavily into their majestic, widescreen, heavenly sound. Universalis is also the second installment in a planned trilogy of albums that began with 2017's Mysterium album. — AR

Illa J - John Yancey (Jakarta)
The 4th full-length album from LA-based Detroit native Illa J (aka John Yancey, younger brother to the late, great J Dilla) finds him teaming up once again with Los Angeles producer Calvin Valentine for a sturdy set of warm, soulful, and frequently boisterous R&B-accented hip-hop. Continuing to pave his own lane outside of his brother's legacy, John Yancey is a personal album for Illa J as he lyrically grieves the loss of his brother as well as the ups-and-downs of his romantic relationships and escapades. — AR

Blake Mills - Look (New Deal)
Blake Mills is a veteran studio musician, previous touring member for artists such as Jenny Lewis, Band of Horses, Cass McCombs, Lucinda Williams, and Julian Casablancas, and an in-demand producer, working with a diverse range of artists including John Legend, Fiona Apple, Jim James, and Jesca Hoop, while garnering special attention for his critical role on Alabama Shakes' Sound & Color and Perfume Genius' No Shape. While he's previously released two critically-acclaimed solo albums of diverse folk/pop/rock, his third release is the inaugural release on his newly-launched label New Deal and it signals a significant shift in his sound, exploring an expansive, symphonic, widescreen instrumental sound that blurs post-rock, rock, and neo-classical in inventive fashion. — AR

PAINT - PAINT (Mexican Summer)
The debut solo album from this new project of Allah-Las guitarist/singer Pedrum Siadatian is a nice set of 60s-steeped psych-pop, folk-rock, and garage-rock that's heavily indebted to Velvet Underground. — AR

Takeleave - Inner Sea (Project Mooncircle)
The debut album from Berlin-based electronic producer Nicolas De Araújo Peixoto (aka Takeleave) is an impressive set of lush, jazz-tinged, richly-textured downtempo beats and inviting grooves that's quickly reminiscent of Teebs and Shigeto's early catalog. "Safehold" is the lone track to feature prominent vocals. — AR

Abstract Orchestra - Madvillain Vol. 1 (ATA)
The sophomore release from this hip-hop-loving Leeds, UK jazz ensemble led by saxophonist Rob Mitchell is a fantastic reimagining of Madlib's iconic beats from the classic 2004 album Madvillainy that leans into the jazz, TV soundtrack, and film score elements of the original productions for an enthusiastic and invigorating fusion of jazz and hip-hop. — AR

Strict Face - New Racer (NLV/Local Action)
Following an impressive string of EPs for labels such as Mr. Mitch's Gobstopper Records, Mumdance and Logos’ Different Circles Records, Tuff Wax, and Blacklink Sound, this Adelaide, Australia-based electronic producer delivers his debut full-length album and it's a sharp set of progressive club beats infused with wiggly earworm melodies. — AR

Leifur James - A Louder Silence (Night Time Stories)
The debut album from this London-based musician is an evocative set of spacious, cerebral, nuanced electronic grooves featuring jazzy lounge flourishes, slow organic builds, rich electro-acoustic instrumentation, intermittent soulful vocals, and a masterful compositional touch that's ultimately reminiscent of Nicolas Jaar. "Salaninam" features vocals from Gambian musician Jali Bakary Konteh for a distinctive highlight. — AR

Various Artists - Brownswood Bubblers Thirteen (Brownswood Recordings)
The latest compilation from Brownswood Recordings – the fantastic label run by revered British DJ Giles Peterson – is yet another stellar set of fresh, sexy, sophisticated, soulful tracks from emerging new acts that embody a wide range of sounds, including electronic, R&B, funk, jazz, hip-hop, downtempo, psych-pop, neo-soul, highlife, and everything in-between. — AR

Phony Ppl - mō'zā-ik. (300 Entertainment)
The sophomore album from Brooklyn-based collective Phony Ppl is an expansive set of cosmic hip-hop, soul, jazz, R&B, funk, and pop; and while it doesn't quite capture the heights of their 2015 debut album Yesterday's Tomorrow, mō'zā-ik continues to showcase the band's undeniable genre-blending instrumental prowess, their strong affinity for N.E.R.D.'s ambitious sensibilities, and their refreshingly colorful sound that shines extra bright in the live setting. — AR

Overmono - Whities 019 (Whities)
The latest EP from this hotly-tipped London-based production duo comprised of brothers Ed Russell (aka Tessela) and Tom Russell (aka Truss) is a knockout set of forward-thinking techno, heady breaks, and thrillingly adventurous club rhythms. — AR

Qrion - Gaf 1 / Gaf 2 (self-released)
Born and raised in Sapporo, Japan and now based in the Bay Area, Qrion has been steadily supplying sleek dancefloor grooves on labels such as Fool’s Gold, Carpark, NestHQ, and Secret Songs over the past six years. Her latest pair of EPs continues to showcase her adventurous, propulsive, R&B-slanted house rhythms accented with infectious vocal samples and a strong pop sensibility. — AR

mcconville - mcconville EP (Apollo)
mcconville is the alias of Thomas McConville, a classically trained composer who's currently studying for a PhD in Music at Queen’s University Belfast in Ireland. Adopting this moniker as he explores electronic production, his debut release is an intriguing set of dense, glistening, kaleidoscopic beats that recall the works of Oneohtrix Point Never and Gold Panda in their ability to twist samples in unpredictable, symphonic, melodic, intricately-detailed ways. — AR

Claire George - Bodies Of Water EP(Cascine)
The solo debut EP from this LA/Seattle singer, songwriter, and producer (and former lead singer of San Francisco-based band HEARTWATCH) is a promising set of dreamy synth-pop that showcases her soaring, lilting vocals over shimmery, cinematic backdrops. — AR