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 Perfume Genius, Parisalexa, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, and more.
Perfume Genius – Set My Heart On Fire Immediately (Matador)
The fifth album from this LA-via-Seattle artist (aka Mike Hadreas) is a powerful, wide-ranging set of avant-pop ranging from moody, ‘80s-steeped post-punk to dreamy cinematic ballads. Produced by Blake Mills, the album features an atmospheric, richly detailed sound, and inventive arrangements combining a variety of instrumentation played by session heavyweights and occasionally distorted textures with his elastic vocals and intimate, sharply crafted lyrics of love, loss, trauma, and connection.
Parisalexa – 2 Real (self-released)
This Seattle artist’s debut full-length is an impressive set of smartly crafted R&B combining bass-heavy beats and moody synths with her silky vocals and lyrics revolving around love troubles, body positivity, and self-love.
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – Reunions (Southeastern)
The seventh album (and fourth with the 400 Unit) from this former member of Drive-By Truckers is a poignant, beautifully crafted blend of fiery roots-rock, country-tinged folk-rock, and more, combining a richly textured sound featuring a variety of electric and acoustic instrumentation with finely chiseled lyrics revolving around the struggles and rewards of relationships and human connection.
Nation of Language – Introduction, Presence (self-released)
This Brooklyn trio’s debut album is a potent set of ‘80s-steeped post-punk and New Wave synth-pop with an often-spare sound combining moody synths and driving rhythms with Ian Devaney’s deep croon. All except one of these songs (“Automobile”) have been previously released as singles, though it’s nice to have them collected here.
Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – Temple (Ribbon Music)
The fifth album from this Oakland-based band led by Thao Nguyen brings more upfront beats and sharper-edged, more personal lyrics to their wide-ranging indie-pop sound.
MAITA – Best Wishes (Kill Rock Stars)
The debut full-length from this Portland-based band led by Maria Maita-Keppeler is a diverse, smartly crafted set ranging from intimate folk-rock to ‘90s-steeped power-pop, grunge-pop, and surf-rock.
Nick Hakim – WILL THIS MAKE ME GOOD (ATO)
This Brooklyn artist’s second full-length is a more experimental take on his woozy blend of atmospheric, psych-tinged dream-pop, laid-back soul, and acoustic folk-pop, combining murky grooves and sluggish rhythms with his intimate, often-treated vocals and thoughtful lyrics ranging from the ravages of climate change and overmedication to connection and community.
White Denim – World As A Waiting Room (Radio Milk)
This Austin band’s latest album was made in 30 days under quarantine from mid-March to mid-April, though the band’s ‘70s-steeped blend of breezy psych-rock and energetic garage-rock sounds as sharp as ever on a variety of songs reflecting our current predicament.
Public Practice – Gentle Grip (Wharf Cat)
The debut full-length from this New York band comprised of members of Wall and Beverly is a promising blend of dance-friendly post-punk, No Wave, and jittery funk with buzzing synths, angular guitar lines, propulsive rhythms, and hypnotic song hooks.
I’m Glad It’s You – Every Sun, Every Moon (6131)
This Redlands, CA band’s second album is a poignant blend of emotive power-pop and dramatic ballads. Produced by indie legend J. Robbins, the album combines a moody blend of instrumentation and anthemic song hooks with often-dark lyrics of loss, guilt, and grief inspired by the band’s 2017 van accident, which took the life of their friend and mentor Chris Avis.
Chemtrails – The Peculiar Smell of the Inevitable (Mexican Summer)
The second album from this Manchester-via-London band led by Mia Lust and Laura Orlova is a potent set of New Waveish garage-punk with crunchy guitars, bright keyboards, bouncy rhythms, and soaring song hooks.
Jess Williamson – Sorceress (Mexican Summer)
This LA-based artist’s fourth album is a beautifully crafted blend of dreamy, psych-tinged folk-pop, bleary-eyed country and Laurel Canyon folk, combining guitars, piano, atmospheric synths, and occasional horns and pedal steel with her aching vocals, introspective, soul-searching lyrics, and wistful melodies.
The National Honor Society – To All the Glory We Never Had (Chien Lunatique)
This Seattle band’s debut full-length is a well-crafted blend of ‘90s-steeped Brit-pop and jangly ‘80s post-punk. Produced by Erik Blood, the album combines atmospheric guitars and synths with soaring harmonies, wistful melodies and often-dark lyrics reflecting dark times.
Meryem Saci – All In EP (Shift)
This Algeria-born, Montreal-based artist’s latest release is a well-crafted blend of R&B, hip hop and various Middle East influences, with a beat-driven sound combining a variety of acoustic and electronic instrumentation with her soulful vocals.
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – The Mosaic of Transformation (Ghostly International)
The eighth album from this LA-based, Orcas Island, WA-bred artist is a mesmerizing set of otherworldly ambient music combining celestial, densely textured synths with occasional percussion, vocals and other instrumentation.
El Michels Affair – Adult Themes (Big Crown)
The latest album from this New York band led by producer/multi-instrumentalist Leon Michaels is an evocative set of cinematic, often soul-tinged instrumentals.