New Music Reviews (2/24)

Album Reviews

Each week, KEXP’s Music Director Don Yates (joined this week by DJ Alex Ruder) shares brief insights on new and upcoming releases. See what's coming up this week below, including reviews for new releases from Moses Sumney, Grimes, Caroline Rose, and more.

Moses Sumney – græ Part 1 (Jagjaguwar)
The first part of this Asheville, NC-based artist’s double album (and second overall) is an imaginative set of atmospheric avant-pop inflected with astral R&B, ambient, folk, jazz, psychedelia and more, combining an intricate, atmospheric sound with his elastic vocals (including an otherworldly falsetto) and artfully crafted lyrics opposing black-and-white thoughts and concepts in favor of complex shades of gray. — DY

Grimes – Miss Anthropocene (4AD)
The fifth album from this Canadian artist (aka Claire Boucher) is a potent set of dark, atmospheric electro-pop ranging from haunting, Eastern-influenced ambient-pop to pounding electro-rock. The lyrics are her bleakest to date, with many revolving around death and destruction. — DY

Caroline Rose – Superstar (New West)
This New York artist’s fourth album is a strong set of funk-inflected electro-pop, combining bright synths and propulsive beats with sharply crafted, sometimes satirical lyrics revolving around fame, ambition, identity and self-actualization. — DY

Greg Dulli – Random Desire (Royal Cream/BMG)
The veteran Afghan Whigs/Twilight Singers frontman’s debut solo album is a potent set of brooding, bleary-eyed rock combining a smoldering, often low-key sound with his raspy vocals and lyrics exploring the highs and lows of desire. — DY

Best Coast – Always Tomorrow (Concord)
This LA duo’s fourth album is a well-crafted blend of surf-inflected pop-punk and New Waveish power-pop with crunchy guitars, bright keyboards, punchy, energetic rhythms, soaring vocals and personal lyrics of newfound sobriety and self-care. — DY

Her Silo – Don't Forget the Heart That’s Beating (self-released)
The debut album from this Seattle-based artist (aka Jessica Lambert) is a promising set of brooding, folk-tinged dream-pop combining atmospheric guitars, keyboards and cello with often-dark lyrics of anxiety, depression and mortality. — DY

King Krule – Man Alive! (Matador)
The third King Krule album from British artist Archy Marshall is a murky, often-unsettling blend of noirish jazz, brooding post-punk, desolate folk, skeletal hip hop beats, creepy ambient textures, gloomy half-buried vocals and dark lyrics of urban despair. — DY

Guided By Voices – Surrender Your Poppy Field (GBV Inc)
The latest album from this long-running Dayton, Ohio band led by Robert Pollard is a diverse set ranging from prog-tinged hard-rock and crunchy power-pop, to brooding psych-rock and lo-fi folk. — DY

EARTHGANG – Mirrorland (Dreamville/Interscope)
The third full-length album (and major label debut) from this Atlanta hip-hop duo comprised of Olu and WowGr8 is another prime showcase of their sharp and expressive Southern rap style that's accented with funk, soul, R&B, and jazz flavors as well as a refreshing live sound that carries on the storied genre-blurring legacy of Atlanta's legendary Dungeon Family. — AR

Spinning Coin – Hyacinth (Geographic/Domino)
This Glasgow/Berlin band’s second album is a fine set of psych-tinged folk-pop combining a warm, often-wistful sound with lyrics revolving around the importance of love in an often-cruel world. — DY

Mint Julep – Stray Fantasies (Western Vinyl)
The third full-length album (and Western Vinyl debut) from this Portland-based husband-wife duo comprised of Hollie Kenniff and Keith Kenniff (aka Helios aka Goldmund) is a solid set of shimmering cinematic synth-pop filtered through a dreamy shoegaze lens. While both artists create intimate music in their solo projects, Mint Julep deliver a surprisingly bold technicolor vision with Hollie's ethereal vocals often being buried in their propulsive, swirling, gauzy productions. — AR

Lanterns on the Lake – Spook the Herd (Bella Union)
This British band’s fourth album is a well-crafted set of folk-tinged dream-pop combining a brooding, often-lush sound with politically charged lyrics about polarization, social media, the climate crisis and other weighty subjects. — DY

Mac Miller – Circles (Warner Bros.)
The posthumous 6th album from the talented Pittsburgh-born artist – who tragically passed away in September 2018 after an accidental drug overdose – is an emotional, powerful, and unique entry in his cut-far-too-short catalog that showcases his exploration of a whimsical, dreamy, introverted singer-songwriter role. Originally intended to be a companion to his 2018 album Swimming and the second installment in a planned trilogy that was to be completed with a "pure hip-hop record," Circles was  co-produced by composer Jon Brion (best-known for his soundtracks to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Punch-Drunk Love as well as working with artists ranging from Kanye West to Fiona Apple) who gives the album an airy, cinematic, soft folk/rock touch. Mac sings more than he raps on the record, yet he continues to bring his insightful and heartbreaking lyricism, plaintive voice, an clever storytelling to the forefront. RIP Mac. — AR

Califone – Echo Mine (Jealous Butcher)
This veteran Chicago band’s latest album was commissioned to accompany Robyn Mineko Williams’ dance piece of the same name, which premiered in Chicago last December. The end result is an adventurous, rhythm-driven blend of experimental rock inflected with folk, blues and other styles. — DY

Lotte Kærså & Græsrødderne – Jubiiilæum (Tartelet)
Copenhagen-based label Tartelet Records offers up this amazing reissue of music by Lotte Kærså, a Danish composer, music educator, and lifelong children's teacher, and her band of young musicians, Græsrødderne. Jubiiilæum (translated to 'Anniversary') compiles songs from Lotte Kærså first two albums – 1979’s Jeg Har Set Det Selv (I’ve Seen It Myself) and 1981's Hjemme I Vores Gade(On Our Street) – both of which have long been sought after items among diggers and vinyl collectors. Pieced together in celebration of her recent 90th birthday, Lotte and her band's music is an extremely unique global sound that pieces together samba, jazz, funk, dub, reggae, pop, and more cross-cultural styles that gives it a colorful, tribal, and psychedelic flavor, yet its further enhanced by the young band's peculiar instrumentation and their joyous wide-eyed group vocals that are all sung in Danish. — AR

Shelf Nunny – Utangátta (Hush Hush)
The debut full-length from this Seattle-based electronic producer (aka Christian Gunning) is a well-crafted set of cinematic downtempo grooves with an atmospheric sound featuring ethereal textures and often-wistful melodies. — DY

Blvck Spvde – Svmthngz & Nvthngz Sessions (Pugilista Trading Co.)
The latest solo effort from this St. Louis producer/rapper/poet/singer (also a member of Hawthorne Headhunters) is a solid set of soul, R&B, and hip-hop that's handled with an expansive, woozy, and slightly experimental touch. — AR

ALTA – Reasons (Soothsayer)
Reminiscent of Kllo, BANKS, SBTRKT, and Little Dragon, the debut full-length album from this Melbourne duo comprised of vocalist Hannah Lesser and producer Julius Dowson is a strong set of seductive R&B-tinged synth-pop featuring both propulsive club-centric jams and lush downtempo fare. — AR

Fennec – free us of this feeling (Fennec Sound)
The 6th album from this Indianapolis-based electronic producer is an impressive set of deep, playful, and frequently slow-burning house grooves packed with fun, magnetic, unexpected samples that are slyly weaved into his immersive rhythms in a manner reminiscent of Gold Panda, Four Tet, and Lemon Jelly. Try #1, #2, #3, #6, #8, #9, #11.-Alex Ruder-

Andras – Joyful (Beats In Space)
The latest release from Australian electronic producer Andrew Wilson (aka Andras) is a wonderful set of bright, elastic, nostalgia-tinged electronic grooves that bounce between house, acid, rave, and downtempo styles that are all dominated by buoyant synth leads, sprinkled with cheeky vocal samples, and fully steeped in a playful 90s-influenced sheen. Try #1, #2, #3, #4, #6, #7.-Alex Ruder-

Flamingo Pier – Indigo EP (Soundway Recordings)
The third EP from this East London outfit comprised of three party-starting DJ/producers is a top-notch set of lively vocal-tinged dancefloor grooves that fuse boogie, funk, disco, Afro and classic house styles in infectious fashion. Try #1, #2, #3, #4, #5.                                                 -Alex Ruder-

Cuffed Up – Cuffed Up EP (self-released)
This LA band’s debut EP is a visceral four-song blend of anthemic post-punk and shoegazer dream-pop. Try 1, 2 & 3.--Don Yates

Forever – Close To The Flame (Cascine)
The second EP (and Cascine debut) from Montreal-based vocalist June Moon (aka Forever) is a solid set of sultry R&B/pop infused with trip-hop, downtempo, dream-pop, and house influences. Featuring production from Ghostly International's Ouri, Patrick Holland (aka Project Pablo), and David Carriere of TOPS, Close To The Flame continues to spotlight Forever's seductive and intoxicating voice. Try all, especially #2.-Alex Ruder-

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