New Music Reviews (11/4)

Album Reviews

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 Michael Kiwanuka, Sudan Archives, TR/ST, and more.

Michael Kiwanuka – Kiwanuka (Polydor)
This London artist’s third album is a powerful set of expansive soul incorporating elements of funk, psych-rock, gospel, jazz and more. Like his previous album (2016’s Love & Hate), this one was produced by Danger Mouse and Inflo, and they help provide a diverse stylistic palette along with a variety of instrumentation including cinematic strings, atmospheric keyboards, fuzzy guitars, funky breakbeats and more to accompany his soulful vocals and anxiety-fueled lyrics revolving around identity and community. — DY

Sudan Archives – Athena (Stones Throw)
The debut full-length from this LA-based artist (aka Brittney Parks) is a beautifully crafted blend of pillowy R&B, African-influenced violin, occasional West African rhythms and electronic beats and textures. — DY

TR/ST – The Destroyer, Part Two (House Arrest)
The fourth album and the second of a two-part series (the first was released in April) from this LA-via-Toronto artist (aka Robert Alfons) is a more atmospheric take on his goth/industrial-tinged electro-pop, combining dark synth textures, haunting piano and occasional beats with his gloomy vocals and hypnotic song hooks. — DY

Omni – Networker (Sub Pop)
This Atlanta band’s third album is a more cleaned-up and somewhat more expansive take on the band’s spiky post-punk. — DY

Turnover – Altogether (Run For Cover)
This Virginia Beach-bred band’s fourth album is a well-crafted set of sophisticated indie-pop inflected with funk, jazz, surf, lounge and other styles, combining gently shimmering guitars, atmospheric keyboards, occasional sax and tropical-tinged rhythms with dreamy melodies. — DY

Larry Gus – Subservient (DFA)
The fourth album from this Greek producer (aka Panagiotis Melidis) is his first recorded without using outside samples. It’s a potent set of rhythm-driven electro-pop inflected with Greek folk, quirky funk and other styles, with alternating Greek and English lyrics revolving around empathy. — DY

The Cave Singers – 5 Song EP (self-released)
This Seattle band’s latest release features a more intimate-sounding take on the band’s hypnotic, psych-tinged folk-rock. — DY

Hannah Williams & The Affirmations – 50 Foot Woman (Record Kicks)
The third album from this breakout British soul singer (famously sampled on Jay-Z's 2017 single "4:44") finds her backed by Bristol-based band The Affirmations and it's another ripping set of throwback soul, funk, and R&B that spotlights her powerhouse voice over backdrops that range from uptempo dancefloor fillers to brooding slow-burning ballads. — AR

The Sweet Release of Death – The Blissful Joy of Living EP (Subroutine)
This Dutch trio’s third release is a potent six-song EP blending noise-rock and post-punk that’s reminiscent at times of Sonic Youth, combining dissonant guitars and driving rhythms with Alicia Breton-Ferrer's haunting, at times seething vocals. — DY

Vetiver – Up On High (Mama Bird)
The seventh album from this San Francisco band led by Andy Cabic is a well-crafted set of wistful folk-pop inflected at times with bossa nova, reggae and other styles. — DY

Patrick Watson – Wave (Domino)
This Montreal artist’s eighth album is a well-crafted set of atmospheric, downcast pop combining a somber, twilit sound with his haunting vocals and lyrics of loss and resilience. — DY

Wished Bone – Sap Season (self-released)
The debut album from this project led by LA-based, Athens, OH-raised musician Ashley Rhodus is an impressive set of winsome folk-pop and warm psych-pop that's carried by Ashley's sweet melodies and a consistently welcoming, lo-fi, sepia-tinted vibe. — AR

Robert Glasper – Fuck Yo Feelings (Loma Vista Recordings)
Recorded over a 2-day session ahead of a month-long residency at the Blue Note in NYC,the latest album from genre-bending jazz/hip-hop/soul musician Robert Glasper is a loose and free-flowing "mixtape" release that finds him embracing his collaborative spirit as he explores an expansive sound alongside friends such as Herbie Hancock, Yasiin Bey, Rapsody, Buddy, Denzel Curry, Terrace Martin, YBN Cordae, Baby Rose, SiR, and more. — AR

Itasca – Spring (Paradise of Bachelors)
The latest album from this LA-based artist (aka Kayla Cohen) is an evocative set of atmospheric, psych-tinged folk-pop combining finger-picked acoustic guitars, melancholy strings and keyboards with her gentle vocals and sun-dappled melodies. Contributors include Chris Cohen, James Elkington and members of Gun Outfit and Sun Araw. — DY

Cartel Madras – Age of the Goonda EP (Sub Pop)
This Chennai, India-born, Calgary-raised sister duo’s second EP is a fiery set of visceral trap, combining hard-hitting beats with their rapid-fire flow and in-your-face gangsta lyrics standing up for women of color and the LGBTQ+ community. — DY

Sean Henry – A Jump From the High Dive (Double Double Whammy)
The second album from this New York-based artist (aka Sean Posila) is a solid set ranging from jangly indie-pop to scuzzy garage-rock. — DY

The Orange Kyte – Carousel (Little Cloud)
This Vancouver, BC band’s third album is a solid blend of jangly psych-pop and energetic garage-rock. — DY

Basement Revolver – Wax and Digital EP (Sonic Unyon)
This Hamilton, ON band follows up their 2018 debut full-length with this six-song EP of shoegazerish dream-pop with fuzzy guitars, yearning vocals and soaring melodies. — DY

Anamanaguchi – [USA] (Polyvinyl)
The latest album from this four-piece band from New York and Los Angeles that's been immersed in the 8-bit music community since their debut 2006 – and fittingly created the official soundtrack to the awesome 2010 film Scott Pilgrim vs. The World – is an epic set of maximal, shape-shifting, prog-influenced synth-pop that zigzags through a hyper-digital sonic landscape that feels like exploring a neon-colored video-game universe. — AR

Tempers – Private Life (Dais)
This New York-based duo’s third album is a solid set of brooding post-punk with dark synths, atmospheric guitars, occasional propulsive beats, gloomy vocals and hypnotic song hooks. — DY

Steve Hiett – Down On The Road By The Beach (Efficient Space)
Steve Hiett was a British photographer, graphic designer, and low-key musician, best known in the fashion world as a longtime photographer for Vogue Paris and Marie Claire. His debut album Down By The Road By The Beach was originally released exclusively in Japan in 1983 and provided a fascinating glimpse into his solo music creations – a timeless blend of atmospheric bedroom guitar-pop, breezy psych-pop, cosmic ambient explorations, and playfully goofy pop (namely his cover of "Roll Over, Beethoven") that brings to mind Lewis, The Durutti Column, and Brian Wilson. Now available on CD and vinyl for the first time outside of Japan thanks to Melbourne-based label Efficient Space, this reissue sadly came out just a month after Steve passed away following a long battle with cancer. — AR

Tawiah – Starts Again (First Word)
Tawiah is a London-based musician who's well-established in the UK R&B/soul scene and has previously collaborated with The Cinematic Orchestra, Blood Orange, Mark Ronson, Kindness, Cee-Lo Green, Wiley, and more. Following a pair of EPs and a mixtape, Starts Again is her official debut full-length and it's a strong set of vibrant, expansive, and triumphant neo-soul that lyrically explores her identity as a queer woman of color on her path to finding her truest voice. — AR

Lava La Rue – Stitches (self-released)
The second release from this rising West London rapper, singer, and founder of the NiNE8 collective is a promising mixtape of hip and sleek UK-centric R&B, hip-hop, and pop that pairs her innovative club-tinted production with an array of vocal styles. — AR

The Stargazer Lilies – Occabot (Rad Cult)
This Pennsylvania band’s third album features a more experimental take on their shoegazer psych-rock. Produced by Tobacco of Black Moth Super Rainbow, the album combines a warped, noise-drenched sound with submerged vocals and dreamy melodies. — DY

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