New Music Reviews (11/23)

Album Reviews

Each week, KEXP’s Music Director Don Yates and Associate Music Director Gabriel Teodros (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 Salaam Remi, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Kali Uchis, and more.

Salaam Remi - Black On Purpose (Louder Than Life) 
A new collection of protest anthems and songs celebrating Black life from prolific hip-hop, reggae, R&B and soul producer Salaam Remi (known for his work with Nas, Black Thought, Amy Winehouse, The Fugees and many others). Black On Purpose opens with a Malcolm X speech and closes with one from Sandra Bland, and includes creative reworkings of James Brown's "Say It Loud", Syl Johnson's "Is It Because I'm Black", Bob Marley's "Black Progress" and a cover of "Strange Fruit" sung by the late great Betty Wright. Other guests include Black Thought, Common, Maimouna Youssef (Mumu Fresh), Chronixx, Stephen Marley, Bilal, Nas, Busta Rhymes, Super Cat, Jennifer Hudson, Anthony Hamilton, Doug E. Fresh, Spragga Benz, James Posyer, D-Nice, Syleena Johnson and more. - Gabriel Teodros   
Hypoluxo – Hypoluxo (Terrible) 
This Brooklyn band’s third album is a potent set of hook-filled post-punk with angular guitar riffs, driving, jittery rhythms and spoken/sung lead vocals. - Don Yates 
Knox Fortune – Stock Child Wonder (Nice Work) 
This Chicago artist’s second album is an expansive, sharply crafted set of hazy indie-pop incorporating elements of hip hop, New Wave dance-pop and other styles, combining shimmering synths, buoyant rhythms and sunny melodies. Special guests include members of Whitney, Twin Peaks, Lala Lala and Ohmme. - DY
One Be Lo - Baby (Being a black youth) (Subterraneous Records)
Soulful, conceptual hip-hop album from One Be Lo of the legendary Pontiac, MI-based duo Binary Star. Baby (Being a black youth) was recorded in Seattle and completely produced by Eric G. of The Soul Council (known for his work with Rapsody, Mac Miller, 9th Wonder) and features an impressive cast of voices adding their perspectives to what Black life is like for youth from all around the country. Guests include Jean Grae, Phonte, Royce da 5'9", Freeway, Black Milk, Guilty Simpson, Zumbi (of Zion I), Devin the Dude, MC Juice, Aja Black (of The Reminders), DJ Abilities and more. - GT 
Cabaret Voltaire – Shadow of Fear (Mute) 
This British band was one of the pioneers of industrial music. Founding member Richard H. Kirk is now back with the first Cabaret Voltaire album in 24 years (and 15th overall). It’s a suitable soundtrack for 2020, with dystopian electronic grooves featuring propulsive drum-machine rhythms, dark synths, ambient industrial sounds, ominous spoken-word samples and hypnotic melodies. - DY
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – K.G. (self-released) 
This prolific Australian band’s 16th studio album finds them returning to the non-western tunings of their Flying Microtonal Banana album while offering another is another expansive set of driving psych-rock inflected with prog, metal, folk-rock, funky dance-rock and other styles. The album’s densely produced sound combines a variety of guitars, keyboards and electric baglama with occasional sitar, strings, woodwinds and other instrumentation, along with pulsing, energetic rhythms and catchy song hooks. - DY
Partner – Never Give Up (You’ve Changed) 
This Windsor, ON-via-Sackville, NB duo’s second album is a more expansive, at times prog-tinged take on their cheeky, classic rock-influenced sound combining fiery guitar riffs, pounding rhythms and head-banging song hooks with humor-laced lyrics celebrating gay identity, rock and community. - DY
Kali Uchis – Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios) (Interscope) 
This Colombian American artist’s second album is also her first nearly all-Spanish release. It’s a diverse set ranging from cinematic torch ballads and moody trip-hop to R&B and hip-hop-influenced tracks. - DY
Salem – Fires in Heaven (self-released) 
The second album (and first in 10 years) from this Midwestern trio-turned-duo is a potent set of gloomy electro-pop inflected with Southern rap, shoegaze and other styles, combining ominous beats and massive walls of fuzzy, swelling synths with dark lyrics of addiction and societal collapse. - DY
Routine – And Other Things EP (Friends Of/Dead Oceans) 
The debut EP from the LA-based duo of Chastity Belt bassist Annie Truscott and Jay Som is a well-crafted five-song set of bittersweet indie-pop ranging from country-tinged folk-pop to fuzzy dream-pop, with the songs revolving around the ups and downs of relationships. - DY
The Cribs – Night Network (Sonic Blew) 
This British band’s eighth studio album is another solid set of hook-filled garage-pop with fuzzy guitars, yearning vocals, soaring harmonies and catchy pop melodies. - DY
 PVA – Toner EP (Ninja Tune) 
This British band’s debut EP is a sharply crafted set of energetic dance-rock with driving rhythms, squiggly synths, angular guitar lines and hypnotic melodies. The EP features three new songs along with three remixes from the likes of Mura Masa, Lynks and Girl Band’s Daniel Fox. - DY
Shygirl – Alias EP (Because Music) 
This British artist’s second EP is an adventurous blend of hip hop, industrial and glitchy electro-pop, combining hard-hitting, densely produced soundscapes with sultry lyrics. - DY
The War on Drugs – LIVE DRUGS (Super High Quality) 
This Philadelphia band’s latest release is a live album recorded at various shows over the past few years, with the album set list featuring eight songs from their most recent two albums along with one song from their debut and a Warren Zevon cover. It’s a potent live set of the band’s psych-tinged heartland rock, with the songs often stretched out with expansive run times. - DY
Gillian Welch – Boots No. 2: The Lost Songs, Vol. 3 (Acony) 
The third and final installment in this Nashville artist’s Boots No. 2: The Lost Songs series is another first-rate collection of previously unreleased songs ranging from poignant country-folk and rootsy torch-pop to swaggering roots-rock inflected with blues and rockabilly. - DY
Beach Vacation - I Fell Apart (Z Tapes) 
The debut album from this Seattle duo is a sweet set of shimmery melancholic guitar-pop full of gauzy melodies, expressive guitars, and steady rhythms that closely recalls the likes of Day Wave, Craft Spells, and Foliage - Alex Ruder
TSHA – Flowers EP (Ninja Tune) 
This London-based producer’s third EP is a strong four-song set of buoyant club grooves with propulsive rhythms, bright synths, aching vocals and sunny melodies. - DY
Dirty Projectors – Ring Road EP (Domino) 
The fifth and final EP released this year by this Brooklyn band led by Dave Longstreth features a different member of the band singing lead on each song (the first four EPs featured a different member of the band handling lead vocals for each EP). It’s one of the series’ stronger sets, with four songs highlighted by gorgeous harmonies and bright melodies. - DY
Jesu – Terminus (Avalanche) 

The sixth Jesu album (and first in seven years) from Godflesh leader Justin Broadrick is a potent set of sometimes heavy, sometimes ethereal atmospheric rock with rumbling, fuzzy guitars, shimmering synths, molasses-slow rhythms and melancholy lyrics of despondency and loneliness. - DY
Popular Music – Popular Music Plays in Darkness (self-released) 
The debut album from this LA-based duo comprised of Zac Pennington (formerly of Seattle band Parenthetical Girls) and Australian composer Prudence Rees-Lee finds them recasting various songs from 20th-century cinema both famous and obscure through often-eerie soundscapes comprised of analog synths, strings and haunting melodies, along with some atmospheric overdubs from Jherek Bischoff. - DY
BOOF - Rebirth Of Gerberdaisy (BubbleTease Communications) 
The 5th full-length album from this cheeky alias of revered veteran house producer Maurice Fulton is a knockout set of exploratory, free-wheeling, psychedelic electronic grooves full of funky basslines, brilliant keyboard solos, rich studio details, and hypnotic rhythms that yields one of the year's strongest underground electronic albums. Try #1, #2, #3, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9.-Alex Ruder- 
Dave Alvin – From an Old Guitar: Rare and Unreleased Recordings (Yep Roc) 
Nice collection of rare and previously unreleased recordings from the former guitarist/songwriter with the Blasters, mostly comprised of covers ranging from fiery roots-rock to acoustic country-folk to stinging blues rock. Try 1 (Chris Smither cover), 2 (Bob Dylan), 3 (Earl Hooker), 5 (Link Davis), 6 (Mickey Newbury), 8 (Peter Case), 9 (Bill Morrissey), 11 (Willie Dixon), 13, 15 (Bo Carter cover with Christy McWilson) & 16.--Don Yates 
True Blossom - In Bliss (Citrus City) 
The second album from this underrated Atlanta five-pieced formed around the core duo of singer Sophie Cox and guitarist Chandler Kelley is another  sweet set of groove-driven synth-tinged indie pop with a funky, nostalgic, romantic streak that consistently shines, ultimately yielding a sound that ranks comfortably alongside TOPS and Yumi Zouma. Try #1, #2, #3, #5, #7, #9, #10.-Alex Ruder- 
Glendal Tautua - Bonnie In Greenwood  (OTOW) Released: 9/21/2020 
Debut album from White Center's own Glendal Tautua. The rapper and singer draws from hip-hop, R&B, gospel and traditional Samoan musical influences, and features include Cham Ba, Khingz and Sabzi.-GT              Try 2, 3, 5, 6 & 9.--Don Yates 
Jenn Champion – Donating Your Body to Science: What You Need to Know EP (self-released) 
This Seattle artist’s latest release is a solid three-song EP of mostly instrumental electronic grooves with propulsive rhythms, moody synths and occasional vocals. Try 1, 2 & 3.--Don Yates 
Anna McClellan – I Saw First Light (Father/Daughter) 
This Omaha, NE-based artist’s third album is a fine set of emotive folk-pop combining playful keyboards and occasional strings and horns with sometimes self-deprecating lyrics blending the personal and the political. Try 2, 3, 4, 9 & 10.--Don Yates 
Jack Name – Magic Touch (Mexican Summer) 
The third Jack Name album from LA artist John Webster Johns is a solid set of low-key psych-pop with an often-spare sound featuring jangly guitars, hypnotic keyboards, hushed vocals and haunting melodies. Try 1, 4, 6, 7 & 9.--Don Yates 
Beverly Glenn-Copeland - Transmissions: The Music Of Beverly Glenn-Copeland (Transgressive) 
50 years since the release of his debut album, beloved trans musician Beverly Glenn-Copeland is given a wonderful and much deserved career-spanning retrospective with Transmissions, an album that includes highlights from all of his previous works in addition to new and archival unreleased tracks and live versions. Born in Philadelphia, Beverly moved to Canada in 1961 as one of the first black students to study at McGill University in Montreal. A couple of early self-released albums showcased Beverly's jazz and classical acumen, but went largely noticed. Following a long silence, Beverly quietly returned in 1986 with the cassette-only album Keyboard Fantasies, an exquisite mixture of soul, ambient, and new age that rightly became a cult classic after being "rediscovered" by Japanese record-collector Ryota Masuko and re-released in 2016. The success of Keyboard Fantasies breathed new life into Beverly's music career and helped inspire the 2019 re-release of Beverly's Primal Prayer album that was originally self-released in 2004 under the alias Phynix and showcased an expansive operatic pop sound with unique forays into trip-hop, breakbeats, and more. Dig in. Try #1, #2, #3, #4, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11.-Alex Ruder- 
The Heshoo Beshoo Group - Armitage Road (We Are Busy Bodies) 
Sweet reissue of the lone album by South African jazz group The Heshoo Beshoo Group that was originally released in 1970. Formed in 1969 by Henry Sithole and featuring the prominent guitar work of Cyril Magubane, the band's vibrant sound is a lively mix of American and African jazz influences that carries a timeless jazz aesthetic that still sounds good 50 years after its original limited release. Try all, especially #2, #3.-Alex Ruder- 
Public Memory – Ripped Apparition (felte) 
The third Public Memory album from Brooklyn artist Robert Toher is a solid set of goth-tinged electro-pop with dark synths, eerie vocals and ominous melodies. Try 2, 7 & 8.--Don Yates 
Domenique Dumont – People on Sunday (The Leaf Label) 
The latest album from this Latvian composer (aka Arturs Liepins) was conceived as a soundtrack to the 1930 German silent film of the same name. It’s a fine set of subdued yet playful soundscapes featuring vintage analog synths echoing occasional sounds of flute, harp, chimes and other colorful instrumentation, along with warmly glowing melodies. Try 3, 5, 7, 8 & 9.--Don Yates 
Tank and the Bangas – Friend Goals EP (Verve Forecast) 
This New Orleans band’s latest release is a solid six-song EP offering a buoyant blend of R&B, funk and hip hop with help from a variety of special guests including DUCKWRTH and CHIKA. Try 2, 4, 5 & 6.--Don Yates 
BUMPER - pop songs 2020 (self-released) 
BUMPER is a quarantine-inspired collaborative project between Japanese Breakfast's Michelle Zauner and Crying's Ryan Galloway, NYC-based musician pals who live blocks away from each other but conjured BUMPER entirely through online correspondence. Their debut EP is a charming set of colorful 80s-inspired synth-pop that provides an anthemic technicolor sonic escape from the horrors of this year. Try #1, #2, #3.-Alex Ruder- 
Phoebe Bridgers – Copycat Killer EP (Dead Oceans) 
This LA artist’s latest release reworks four songs from her excellent Punisher album that was released in June with help from producer/arranger Rob Moose, who helps transform the songs through some gorgeous string arrangements into often-spare orchestral pop. Try 1, 2 & 3.--Don Yates 
Wordcolour - Juno Way (Houndstooth) 
Fresh off dropping one of the most inventive electronic debuts of 2020 back in late July with his Tell Me Something EP, UK-based electronic producer Nicholas Worrall (aka Wordcolour) quickly returns with his second EP of mind-bending beats and hypnotic grooves that uniquely brew together futuristic IDM, magnetic post-dubstep, edgy electro, avant-garde techno, and a quirky musique concrète aesthetic for a thoroughly captivating post-modern electronic sound. Heady, unpredictable, and absolutely bursting with brain-tickling ideas. Try all.-Alex Ruder- 
El Perro Del Mar – Free Land EP (The Control Group) 
This Swedish artist’s latest release is a solid seven-song EP of atmospheric indie-pop with moody keyboards, haunting vocals and hypnotic melodies. Try 2, 5 & 6.--Don Yates 
Waahli – Soap Opera EP (Nomadic Massive Productions) 
This Montreal rapper (and member of hip hop supergroup Nomadic Massive) follows up his 2018 debut album with this solid six-song EP blending hip hop with various Caribbean influences, along with introspective rhymes alternating between Haitian Creole, French and English. Try 1, 2 & 3.--Don Yates 
10.4 ROG - treblemaker (self-released) 
Renton-raised, LA-based producer Roger Habon (aka 10.4 ROG) shares another stellar showcase of his warm, jazzy, richly-textured beats that are full of funky spaced-out synths, perfectly woozy drums, and exquisite keys. As with all of his releases, there's just something so nice about Roger's beats and his attention to the craft. Try #2, #4, #5, #6.-Alex Ruder- 
ÌFÉ - The Living Dead | Ashe Bogbo Egun EP (self-released) 
The latest release from this Puerto Rico-based group led by Otura Mun is a three-song EP interpreting traditional ceremonial Yoruba prayer songs for the dead through a combination of auto-tuned chanting and ceremonial Bata drumming performed electronically.

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