New Music Reviews (8/19)

Album Reviews
08/19/2019
KEXP

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 Black Belt Eagle Scout, The Murder Capital, Bon Iver, and more.


Black Belt Eagle Scout – At the Party with My Brown Friends (Saddle Creek)
Black Belt Eagle Scout is the project of Portland-based artist Katherine Paul, who grew up on the Swinomish Reservation on Fidalgo Island. Her second album is a powerful set of atmospheric dream-pop with fuzzy guitars and shimmering keyboards accompanying her hushed, yearning vocals and lyrics of love and friendship.

The Murder Capital – When I Have Fears (Human Season)
This Dublin band’s debut album is a promising set of tension-filled post-punk ranging from feral, driving punk to brooding, atmospheric ballads.

Bon Iver - i, i (Jagjaguwar)
The fourth Bon Iver album from Justin Vernon & co. features a more forceful and direct sound with brighter pop melodies and some anthemic rock punch. It’s a masterful blend of the fractured, gospel-tinged electro-pop of his last album (2016’s 22, A Million) with the elegiac folk-rock of his earlier recordings, combining a varied, shape-shifting sound using a variety of electronic and acoustic instrumentation with his yearning vocals and often-dark lyrics about getting through these troubled times. Special guests include Moses Sumney, James Blake, Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner, The National’s Bryce & Aaron Dessner, Velvet Negroni, the Staves, Spank Rock, Bruce Hornsby and other notables.  

Sleater-Kinney – The Center Won’t Hold (Mom+Pop)
The veteran Portland band takes a dramatic left turn on their ninth album. Produced by St. Vincent, the album brings a stronger pop sensibility, fuzzy synths and dark electronic beats to the band’s visceral rock sound on a musically diverse set of songs soaked in anxiety and dread.  

Versus – Ex Voto (Ernest Jenning Record Co.)
This veteran New York-bred band’s first album in nine years (and sixth overall) is an excellent set of ‘90s-steeped rock with intricate guitar and vocal interplay, driving rhythms, atmospheric keyboards and sci fi-themed lyrics revolving around escape and transcendence. 

Possible Humans – Everybody Split (Trouble In Mind)
This Melbourne band’s official debut full-length is a well-crafted set of tense post-punk with jangly, occasionally squalling guitars, driving rhythms and hypnotic song hooks.  

Shura – forevher (Secretly Canadian)
This Brooklyn-via-London artist’s second album is a well-crafted set of buoyant R&B/funk-tinged electro-pop with bright synths, propulsive beats, sunny melodies and personal lyrics celebrating love and desire.

The Hold Steady – Thrashing Thru The Passion (Frenchkiss)
This Brooklyn-via-Minneapolis band’s seventh album is their first with keyboardist Franz Nicolay since 2008’s Stay Positive. They sound revitalized with a warm and loose take on their classic rock-steeped sound, while Craig Finn’s colorfully detailed stories of struggling lives are as sharply drawn and empathetic as ever. 

G&D – Black Love & War (SomeOthaShip Connect/eOne)
The third album together from the California-bred, Nevada-based duo of Georgia Anne Muldrow and Dudley Perkins is a gritty blend of West Coast hip hop, funk and soul, combining hard-hitting funk and hip hop grooves with lyrics that range from the militantly political to the deeply personal. 

Blanck Mass – Animated Violence Mild (Sacred Bones)
The fourth Blanck Mass album from Fuck Buttons’ Benjamin Power is a dark set of apocalyptic grooves for these dystopian times, combining noise-drenched synths, pounding, industrial-tinged grooves and ominous melodies. 

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Infest the Rats’ Nest (ATO)
This prolific Melbourne, Australia band’s 15th studio album finds them taking on trash metal with gusto. A post-apocalyptic concept album about environmental destruction, Infest the Rats’ Nest drives the story line home with blistering guitar runs, mostly rapid-fire tempos and stern, growling vocals. 

Tropical Fuck Storm – Braindrops (Joyful Noise)
This Melbourne, Australia band’s second album is a potent set of adventurous psych-punk combining a dynamic, combustible and noise-addled sound with bizarre, often-sardonic lyrics. 

Bryony Jarman-Pinto – Cage & Aviary (Tru Thoughts)
This London artist’s debut album is a promising set of breezy R&B inflected with jazz and Afropop, combining a warm, lively sound with lyrics blending the personal with the political. 

The Flaming Lips – King's Mouth (Warner)
This veteran Oklahoma band’s latest album is an often-gorgeous concept album of orchestral, electro-tinged psych-pop with the story line revolving around a magical giant king who sacrifices himself for his people. The Clash’s Mick Jones provides occasional narration.   

Ride – This Is Not A Safe Place (Wichita)
This veteran British band’s sixth album (and second since reuniting in 2015) is a varied set ranging from breezy dream-pop to industrial-tinged post-punk, glammy electro-rock and more. 

Maria Usbeck – Envejeciendo (Cascine)
The second solo album from the Ecuador-born, New York-based artist is a well-crafted set of dreamy synth-pop combining atmospheric textures and propulsive beats with bilingual lyrics revolving around aging.

Senor Fin – Hardly Alone (self-released)
This Seattle-via-Denton, TX band’s latest release is a solid album of dreamy, psych-tinged indie-pop. 

Lost Lander – Aberdeen (Glad I Did)
The third Lost Lander album from Portland-based artist Matt Sheehy is a solid set of wistful folk-pop fleshed out with an atmospheric blend of guitars, piano, lush strings, synths and more.

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