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 Vagabon, Battles, Caroline Polachek, and more.
Vagabon – Vagabon (Nonesuch)
The excellent second album from this Cameroon-born, New York-based artist (aka Laetitia Tamko) finds her moving away from her former guitar-based indie-rock, instead featuring prominent atmospheric synths, lush strings and electronic beats while subtly blending ethereal electro-pop, airy R&B, atmospheric dream-pop, various African styles and more into dreamy songs featuring her smoky, intimate vocals and evocative lyrics of love, loss, feminism, and community.
Battles – Juice B Crypts (Warp)
This New York band has pared down to the duo of John Stanier and Ian Williams for their fourth album, but they sound as vital as ever on this diverse set of playful experimental rock, melding a variety of styles with a complex, shape-shifting sound featuring tricky, intricate rhythms, unconventional textures, unusual juxtapositions and occasional guest vocals from an impressive supporting cast including Xenia Rubinos, Shabazz Palaces, Tune-Yards, Jon Anderson of Yes, and Sal Principato of Liquid Liquid.
Caroline Polachek – Pang (Columbia)
The debut solo album under her own name from the former Chairlift leader is a strong set of adventurous electro-pop. Co-produced by Polachek and PC Music’s Danny L Harle, the album combines a cavernous, subtly warped sound with her elastic, often auto-tuned vocals and personal lyrics of love lost and found.
Little Scream – Speed Queen (Merge)
The third album from this Iowa-born, Montreal-based artist (aka Lauren Spregelmeyer) is an impressive set of politically charged electro-pop, combining a variety of keyboards, atmospheric guitars and occasional sax with sharply crafted lyrics reflecting on class, racism, privilege and poverty.
Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost, Part 2 (Warner Bros.)
This British band’s latest release is the second part of a two-part album series (Part 1 was released in March). It’s a bit heavier than Part 1, though the sound’s also fairly diverse, ranging from frenetic, anthemic rock and rhythmic post-punk to a spacious, atmospheric ballad and a lengthy prog epic.
Corridor – Junior (Sub Pop)
This Montreal band’s third album is a potent set of twitchy, psych-tinged post-punk with intertwining angular guitars, driving, sometimes motorik rhythms, soaring harmonies and impressionistic French lyrics.
Mark Lanegan Band – Somebody's Knocking (Heavenly)
The former Screaming Trees frontman’s latest album is steeped in ‘80s post-punk and New Wave, combining moody synths, brooding guitars and propulsive beats with his weathered vocals.
Black Marble – Bigger Than Life (Sacred Bones)
The third Black Marble album from LA-via-Brooklyn artist Chris Stewart is a well-crafted set of goth-tinged synth-pop combining moody synths and propulsive beats with melancholy vocals and bittersweet melodies.
White Reaper – You Deserve Love (Elektra)
This Louisville band’s third album brings a more polished and brightly melodic sound to their hook-heavy blend of power pop, glam-rock, New Wave and classic rock, combining Thin Lizzy guitar riffs, bright keyboards and punchy rhythms with soaring song hooks.
Beabadoobee – Space Cadet EP (Dirty Hit)
The latest EP from this young London-based Filipino/British artist (aka Bea Kristi) is a strong five-song set of ‘90s-steeped grunge-pop combining fuzzy guitars and breathy vocals with sparkling song hooks.
Hana Vu – Nicole Kidman/Anne Hathaway (Luminelle)
This young LA artist’s follows up her 2018 debut EP with this promising, musically diverse double EP ranging from dreamy, propulsive electro-pop to grungy, lo-fi rock and atmospheric folk.
Dead Soft – Big Blue (Arts & Crafts)
This Gabriola Island, BC-based trio’s second album is a potent, hook-filled blend of grunge, shoegazer psych-rock, power pop and more, combining fuzzy guitars, muscular rhythms, warm harmonies and often-wistful melodies.
Anna Wise – As If It Were Forever (Alpha Pup)
The debut solo album from the former Sonnymoon vocalist (and Kendrick Lamar collaborator) is an often-transportive set of atmospheric R&B with a spacious sound featuring pillowy synths, spare guitar lines and lush strings accompanying her celestial vocals. A few guest singers and rappers (Little Simz, Denzel Curry, Pink Siifu, Jon Bap) also contribute.
Hovvdy – Heavy Lifter (Double Double Whammy)
This Austin duo’s third album is a bit more of an expansive take on their woozy slowcore sound. The melodies are a bit brighter, the vocals clearer and there’s also a bit of sonic experimentation with drum machines and auto-tuned vocals, though as a whole, the songs are as warm and wistful as ever. Try 2, 3, 4, 8, 10, 12 & 13.--Don Yates
Floating Points – Crush (Ninja Tune)
The third album from this British electronic musician (aka Sam Shepherd) features a darker, more ominous and often-aggressive sound ranging from twitchy, rapid-fire beats to haunting ambient tracks.
Black Ferns – Devices (Northern Light)
This Seattle duo’s second album is a well-crafted set of moody post-punk with a hazy, atmospheric sound combining dark synths and ominous guitars with airy vocals and hypnotic song hooks.
Lakou Mizik – HaitiaNola (Cumbancha)
The second album from this Haitian collective is a buoyant blend of various Haitian styles with New Orleans R&B, jazz and funk with help from an impressive guest lineup including Trombone Shorty, Tank of Tank & The Bangas, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Cyril Neville, Win Butler & Regine Chassagne of Arcade Fire, Jon Cleary, Leyla McCalla, The Soul Rebels and other notables.
Mind Rays – Course of Action (PNKSLM)
This Belgian band’s second album is a visceral blend of fierce garage-punk and driving post-punk, combining grimy guitars and energetic rhythms with barking vocals and pogoing song hooks.
Guided By Voices – Sweating The Plague (Guided By Voices, Inc.)
The latest album (and third released this year) from this prolific Ohio band led by Robert Pollard is another potent blend of crunchy power pop, prog, psych and hard rock.
Dry Cleaning – Boundary Road Snacks and Drinks EP (It’s OK)
This London band quickly follows up their 2019 debut EP with another one that brings a more textured sound to the band’s spiky post-punk, combining buzzing guitars and driving rhythms with Florence Shaw’s sardonic spoken vocals.
Soot Sprite – Sharp Tongue EP (Specialist Subject)
Previously the solo project of Elise Cook, this British project is now a trio. Their first EP as a trio (and second overall) is a fine set of shoegazerish dream-pop with a dynamic sound featuring fuzzy guitars and often-dark lyrics revolving around anxiety, self-esteem, toxic friendships and abusive relationships.
No Vacation – Phasing EP (Topshelf)
The latest EP from this Brooklyn-via-San Francisco band is a fine set of autumnal dream-pop with gently ringing guitar riffs, ethereal vocals and wistful melodies.
Each week, KEXP’s Music Director Don Yates (joined this week by DJs Alex and Abbie) shares brief insights on new and upcoming releases. See what's coming up this week below, including reviews for new releases from Big Thief, Danny Brown, Elbow, and more.
Each week, KEXP’s Music Director Don Yates (joined this week by DJ Alex) shares brief insights on new and upcoming releases. See what's coming up this week below, including reviews for new releases from Sault, The New Pornographers, Sturgill Simpson, and more.