New Music Reviews (10/5)

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 Bartees Strange, Spillage Village, IDLES, and more.

Bartees Strange – Live Forever (Memory Music)
This DC-based artist’s debut album is a diverse, expertly crafted blend of rock, hip hop, soul, folk, electronic, blues, jazz and more, with the songs ranging from ethereal pop and bluesy soul to anthemic post-punk and murky trip-hop. Whatever the style, they’re nearly all breathtaking, with hard-hitting lyrics dealing with racism, cultural stereotyping, autonomy and resilience.— DY

Spillage Village – Spilligion (Dreamville/Interscope)
The second full-length from this Atlanta supergroup featuring the duo EARTHGANG along with J.I.D, Mereba, Hollywood JB, Benji, Jurdan Bryant and 6lack is an impressive set of soul-steeped hip hop combining a warm, at times folk-tinged sound and sunny harmonies and melodies with lyrics reflecting on a variety of personal, social and spiritual concerns. Special guests include Chance The Rapper, Buddy, Masego, Lucky Daye and other notables. — DY

IDLES – Ultra Mono (Partisan)
This British band’s third album is another fierce set of politically charged post-punk, combining clanging guitars, pummeling rhythms, shouted vocals and barbed lyrics aimed at social injustice, toxic masculinity and other ills. — DY

Sango – Da Rocinha 4 (self-released)
The fourth installment in this Seattle producer’s Da Rocinha series of recordings pays tribute to Funk Carioca (aka Baile Funk), the hip hop style of music that originated in Rio de Janeiro, while also blending in other Brazilian styles along with hip hop, R&B, house and techno for a visceral, beat-driven set that’s fleshed out by a variety of Rio collaborators. — DY

Working Men’s Club – Working Men’s Club (Heavenly)
This young British band’s debut album is a promising set of dark, dance-friendly post-punk with moody synths and propulsive drum-machine beats accompanying Sydney Minsky-Sargent's deadpan vocals and bleak, often-acerbic lyrics. — DY

Tim Heidecker – Fear of Death (Spacebomb)
The veteran LA-based comedian collaborated with Weyes Blood’s Natalie Mering for his latest album, a beautifully-crafted, mostly serious set of orchestral folk-rock, combining a warm, ‘70s-steeped sound, often-sunny melodies and Mering’s glowing harmonies with lyrics revolving around middle-age anxiety and death. Special guests include The Lemon Twigs, Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado, Warpaint drummer Stella Mozgawa and other notables. — DY

Sa Roc – The Sharecropper’s Daughter (Rhymesayers)
The latest album from this DC-bred rapper is a potent set combining a variety of banging hip hop beats with her fiery delivery and brutally honest lyrics reflecting upon her father’s beginnings on a Virginia tobacco farm where his family sharecropped and the weight of racism being passed through generations. — DY

Left at London – Transgender Street Legend, Vol. 2 (self-released)
The latest EP from this Seatle artist (aka Nat Puff) is a strong six-song set ranging from psych-tinged electro-pop to R&B-influenced ballads, with the EP’s hook-filled songs ranging from a hard-hitting protest song criticizing the mayor for enabling police brutality to more personal ones revolving around troubled relationships and mental health issues. — DY

Head Band – Head Band (self-released)
The debut album from this Seattle band featuring Jan Norberg and Justin Deary is a strong set of ‘70s-influenced rock ranging from Stonesish rockers and rollicking glam-rock to buoyant folk-rock and more, combining stinging guitar riffs, chugging rhythms, soaring harmonies and an abundance of catchy song hooks. — DY

Steve Arrington – Down to the Lowest Terms: The Soul Sessions (Stones Throw)
This veteran funk artist’s first album in seven years is a strong set of velvety funk and R&B inflected with hip hop, jazz and other styles, combining a variety of beats and textures courtesy of collaborators like Knxwledge, Mndsgn, Jerry Paper and other Stones Throw regulars with Arrington’s elastic vocals and positive-minded lyrics of love and uplift. — DY

(Various) – Dear Sunny... (Big Crown)
This compilation’s a loving tribute to Sunny Ozuna, leader of the San Antonio band Sunny & The Sunliners (and before that, Sunny & The Sunglows), whose recording heyday was 1964-81. A variety of Big Crown acts do a wonderful job of resurrecting the sweet-sounding soul of Sunny Ozuna. — DY

Action Bronson – Only for Dolphins (Loma Vista)
The latest release from this Queens, NY rapper/chef/actor is a solid release combining a variety of lush beats flavored with reggae, jazz, Brazilian music, Mongolian folk and more with his raspy delivery and colorful, swaggering rhymes of food, sex and living large. — DY

Death Valley Girls – Under the Spell of Joy (Suicide Squeeze)
This LA-based band’s fourth album brings a bit more sunshine to their psych-tinged garage-rock, combining jangly guitars, searing organ and bleating sax with bright song hooks and lyrics of hope and joy. — DY

Yves Jarvis – Sundry Rock Song Stock (ANTI-/Flemish Eye)
The third album from this Montreal-via-Calgary artist (aka Jean-Sébastien Audet) is an inventive set of gentle, psych/prog-tinged folk-pop with an adventurous sound combining unusual arrangements and a variety of imaginative textures with his hushed, often-layered vocals and dreamy melodies. — DY

Orgone – Connection (3 Palm)
This veteran LA band’s latest album is a fine set of gritty funk and soul combining chunky funk guitars, punchy horns, bright keyboards and funky rhythms with a variety of guest vocalists including Kelly Finnigan, Cyril Neville and Pimps of Joytime. — DY

Sylvan Esso – Free Love (Loma Vista)
This Durham, NC duo’s third album is a bit more subdued and minimalist take on their dance-friendly electro-pop, combining bright synths and propulsive rhythms with lyrics exploring the complexities of love. — DY

Laura Jane Grace – Stay Alive (Polyvinyl)
The latest release from the Against Me! leader is a stark-sounding album of emotive folk and rock, combining a lo-fi, mostly spare sound of acoustic and electric guitars and minimal percussion with anxiety-fueled lyrics for these dystopian times. — DY

Elvis Perkins – Creation Myths (MIR/Petaluma)
This New York artist’s fifth album is a solid set of well-crafted folk-pop combining a warm sound featuring guitars, keyboards, strings, horns, pedal steel and more with lyrics revolving around connection. — DY

Marie Davidson & L’Œil Nu – Renegade Breakdown (Ninja Tune)
Montreal producer/musician Marie Davidson teamed up with a couple of her regular collaborators for her latest project. She’s joined here by her husband (and partner in the duo Essaie Pas) Pierre Guerineau along with Asaël Robitaille, who helped produce songs on the most recent albums from Davidson and Essaie Pas. Together, they’ve put together a wildly diverse set ranging from propulsive electro-pop to sludgy rock, brooding folk-pop, noirish torch-pop and much more. — DY

Sam Prekop – Comma (Thrill Jockey)
The 5th solo album from this veteran Chicago musician and member of The Sea and Cake is a further deep dive into his fascination for modular synthesizers that marks his first time working extensively with beat programming, focusing his enveloping synthesizer pieces around a newfound rhythmic pulse. Kinetic, quirky, and frequently surprising, Comma is an adventurous minimal electronic album that taps into the legacy of Yellow Magic Orchestra  through its exploration of techno and kosmische styles that also digresses into a couple sparser ambient pieces, "September Remember" and "Above Our Heads." — AR

Daniel Blumberg – On&On (Mute)
The second official solo album from this London-based singer, songwriter, guitarist, and former member of the British band Yuck is a magnetic, expressive, and sometimes stark set of confessional autumnal folk-pop that pairs his vivid storytelling and yearning vocals with dynamic, whimsical, improvisational arrangements provided by a chamber ensemble anchored by the exquisite rhythmic work of revered Australian drummer Jim White (Dirty Three). Bolstered by recurring poetic lyrical motifs that tap into the album's boundless title and a stunningly intimate recording by veteran British producer Peter Walsh (best known for his close work with Scott Walker), On&On beautifully captures the emotional spirit of a dramatic theatrical play. — AR

Asterhouse – Soul vs. Skin (self-released)
This Seattle band’s second full-length is a solid set of prog-tinged indie-rock with crunchy guitars, bright keyboards, soaring vocals and often-dark lyrics. — DY

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