New Music Reviews (2/3)

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 Destroyer, Poliça, Drive-By Truckers, and more.

Destroyer – Have We Met (Merge)
The 13th album from this Vancouver band led by Dan Bejar is an excellent set of dark dream-pop with an atmospheric, often-spare sound featuring glowing synths, haunting guitar lines, eerie ambient textures and darkly humorous lyrics reflecting apocalyptic times. — DY

Poliça – When We Stay Alive (Memphis Industries)
The fifth album from this Minneapolis band led by Channy Leaneagh is a strong set of brooding electro-pop combining dark synths and propulsive rhythms with her silky vocals and personal lyrics of loss and resilience. — DY

Drive-By Truckers – The Unraveling (ATO)
The 12th studio album from this veteran Alabama-bred band is a hard-hitting set of politically charged rock ranging from soaring anthemic rock and chugging swamp-rock to atmospheric chamber-pop and plaintive folk-rock, with the songs revolving around heavy subjects ranging from gun violence and the heroin epidemic to white nationalism and putting kids in cages. — DY

Frances Quinlan – Likewise (Saddle Creek)
The first album under her own name from the leader of Philly band Hop Along is a sparer and more musically varied release than the emotive rock she makes with her regular band, combining an often-stark sound with keyboards, acoustic guitar, strings and harps with her fluttering vocals and lyrics revolving around love and connection. — DY

Antibalas – Fu Chronicles (Daptone)
This Brooklyn band’s latest album is another stellar set of fiery Afro-beat with percolating rhythms, punchy horns and hypnotic melodies. — DY

Dan Deacon – Mystic Familiar (Domino)
This Baltimore artist’s fifth album is a potent set of colorful prog-pop with a densely produced sound combining bright synths, often-hyperactive rhythms and occasional horns, strings and other instrumentation with lyrics revolving around living in the moment. — DY

Yppah – Sunset in the Deep End (Future Archives)
The fifth album (and first in five years) from this Long Beach, CA-based producer/musician (aka Joe Corrales Jr.) is another blissed-out blend of atmospheric post-rock and shimmering dream-pop with downtempo electronic grooves. — DY

Wild Nothing – Laughing Gas EP (Captured Tracks)
The latest Wild Nothing release from Virginia artist Jack Tatum is a strong 5-song EP of ‘80s-steeped synth-pop combining bright synths, atmospheric guitars, occasional sax and funk-inflected rhythms with anxiety-fueled lyrics and wistful melodies. — DY

Nigel – Tantrum (Ted)
Veteran Seattle rapper Onry Ozzborn (real name Michael Martinez, member of Oldominion, Grayskul, Dark Time Sunshine) debuts this brand new alias for another strong set of underground hip-hop that continues to display his gruff, commanding flow and masterful lyrical talents over consistently solid, dark, brooding beats. Aesop Rock, Mr. Dibbs, and Sapient make guest appearances. — AR

Isobel Campbell – There Is No Other (Cooking Vinyl)
The first album in 14 years from this LA-based Scottish artist (and former Belle & Sebastian member) is a well-crafted set ranging from hushed folk-pop, driving pop-rock, and dreamy psych-pop to gentle bossa nova and gospel-steeped pop. — DY

Sarathy Korwar – More Arriving (The Leaf Label)
This London-based percussionist/composer’s second studio album is an adventurous, politically charged blend of jazz, Indian classical, hip hop, spoken word and more, aided by a variety of guest musicians and vocalists. — DY

John Moreland – LP5 (Old Omens/Thirty Tigers)
This Tulsa, OK artist worked with an outsider producer (drummer Matt Pence) for the first time on his fifth album, which finds him taking a more percussion-heavy approach with atmospheric keyboards to his heart-tugging folk-rock. Moreland’s songs are as beautifully crafted and poignant as ever, with the lyrics revolving around love, acceptance and finding peace during troubled times. — DY

Artists For Peace and Justice – Let The Rhythm Lead: Haiti Song Summit Vol. 1 (WMG)
This collaborative effort features songwriters Paul Beaubrun, Jackson Browne, Habib Koite, Jenny Lewis, Raul Rodriguez, Jonathan Russell and Jonathan Wilson along with members of the Haitian roots band Lakou Mizik. The music’s a multicultural blend of Haitian vodou with folk, Malian music, indie-pop and more, with all proceeds from the album going to the non-profit organization Artists For Peace and Justice, which addresses issues of poverty, strife and social justice. — DY

Squirrel Flower – I Was Born Swimming (Polyvinyl)
Squirrel Flower is the new project from Boston musician Ella O’Connor Williams (who previously recorded under her own name). Her debut album as Squirrel Flower is a potent set of often-dark folk-rock with a spare, reverb-drenched sound combining her impressive guitar work with her haunting vocals and lyrics of loss and moving on. — DY

The Homesick – The Big Exercise (Sub Pop)
This Dutch trio’s second album is an adventurous set of prog-tinged post-punk combining angular guitars and bright keyboards with shape-shifting rhythms and perky harmonies. — DY

Squarepusher – Be Up A Hello (Warp)
The latest album (and first in five years) from this British producer/musician (aka Tom Jenkinson) is an adventurous set of electronic grooves ranging from rapid-fire drill ‘n’ bass and blistering acid techno to some atmospheric ambient. — DY

Caspian – On Circles (Triple Crown)
This Massachusetts band’s fifth studio album is a sharply crafted set of expansive post-rock inflected with metal, shoegaze, ambient, folk and other styles. — DY

Son Little – aloha (ANTI-)
The third album from this LA artist (aka Aaron Livingston) is a gritty blend of soul with blues, psych-rock and more, featuring a raw, often-stark sound combining fuzzy guitars and keyboards with his grainy vocals. — DY

Nada Surf – Never Not Together (Barsuk)
This veteran New York band’s ninth studio album is a solid set of hook-filled pop-rock combining jangly guitars and buoyant harmonies with lyrics revolving around connection. — DY

Stretch and Bobbito & The M19s Band – No Requests (Uprising)
These two veteran New York hip hop DJs are renowned for their pioneering ‘90s-era hip hop radio shows. Their debut album as recording artists is a rhythm-driven blend of Latin jazz, hip hop and more, fleshed out with help from the M19s Band and a variety of guest vocalists. — DY

Gengahr – Sanctuary (Liberator)
This British band’s third album is a sparkly blend of trippy psych-pop and funky dance-pop combining fuzzy guitars, shimmering synths, propulsive beats and catchy song hooks. — DY

Loving – If I Am Only My Thoughts (Last Gang)
This Victoria, BC trio’s debut album is a solid set of dreamy, psych-tinged folk-pop combining a warm, often-spare sound with gentle vocals and soothing melodies. — DY

Sløtface – Sorry For The Late Reply (Nettwerk)
This Norwegian band’s second album is a fine set of punkish power-pop with crunchy guitars, energetic rhythms, rousing harmonies and sparkling pop hooks. — DY

10.4 ROG – for a tension (Class Project)
Renton-raised, LA-based producer Roger Habon (aka 10.4 ROG) offers up another stellar showcase of his warm, jazzy, richly-textured beats that are full of funky spaced-out synths, perfectly woozy drums, and exquisite keys. "Raindrop Soft" finds him teaming up with frequent Dallas-based collaborator and vocalist Liv.E for an album highlight. — AR

Masok – The Bigger The Risk (Raw Tapes)
Quickly reminiscent of Moonchild, the debut album from this Tel Aviv-based four-piece band fronted by vocalist Jenny Penkin is an impressive set of dreamy, airy, organic neo-soul and lush, jazzy, groovy R&B that’s accented by the group’s live instrumentation  and Penkin’s warm, welcoming vocals. — AR

Prophet – Don't Forget It (Stones Throw)
This San Francisco artist released his debut album in 1984 and didn’t release anything else until after running into Stones Throw’s Peter Butter Wolf. He was signed to the label and released his second album in 2018. His third album is a solid set of spacy electro-funk with atmospheric keyboards, sometimes-vocodered vocals and hypnotic melodies. — DY

Jupe Jupe – Nightfall EP (self-released)
This Seattle band’s latest release is a solid 5-song EP of dark, hook-filled post-punk with atmospheric synths, moody guitars, mournful sax, driving rhythms and melancholy melodies. — DY

Rafiq Bhatia – Standards Vol. 1 EP (ANTI-)
This New York musician’s latest release is a 4-song EP of haunting, dreamlike interpretations of various jazz standards that rely more on electronics than traditional jazz instrumentation. — DY

Arlo Parks – Sophie (Beatnik Creative)
The second EP from this rising 19-year old London-based poet/singer is a super promising of soulful R&B with a strong pop streak and brilliant touches of funk (especially on EP highlight "George") that provides an expansive backdrop for her gorgeous voice. — AR

Please Wait (Ta-ku & Matt McWaters) – Black & White EP (823 Records)
The debut EP from this collaborative project between Australian musician/producer Ta-ku and Canadian producer Matt McWaters is a supremely lush set of romantic, atmospheric, downtempo-slanted R&B that is enhanced by excellent guest vocal appearances from Masego, alayna, and kerri. — AR

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