New Music Reviews (1/11)

Album Reviews
01/11/2021
KEXP

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 Il Quadro di Troisi, Steve Earle & The Dukes, Mark Pickerel and His Praying Hands, and more.


Il Quadro di Troisi – Il Quadro di Troisi (raster)
Il Quadro di Troisi is a new collaborative project between Italian musicians Andrea Noce (aka Eva Geist) and Donato Scaramuzzi (aka Donato Dozzy). Their debut album is a stunning fusion of Andrea's vocals (with all lyrics sung in Italian) and Donato Dozzy's masterful electronic productions that yields a standout synth-pop record with a seductive, cinematic, glistening streak that recalls the likes of Fever Ray, Chromatics, and Sally Shapiro. — AR

Steve Earle & The Dukes – J.T. (New West)
The songwriting legend and his band pay tribute to his son Justin Townes Earle, who passed away from a drug overdose in August 2020. Ten of Justin’s songs are lovingly covered here, and there’s also a heartrending original from Steve that concludes the album. The album’s warm, rootsy sound ranges from lively bluegrass and plaintive folk to punchy roots-rock. — DY

Mark Pickerel and His Praying Hands – Rebel in the Rearview (self-released)
This Seattle artist’s latest album is a strong set of mostly covers (along with two originals) ranging from Leonard Cohen and Townes Van Zandt to the Beatles and Amy Winehouse, with accompaniment by a strong supporting cast including Star Anna, Jeff Fielder, Ian Moore, Mike Musburger, Eric Eagle, Caitlin Sherman, Barb Hunter, Hart Kingsbery, Drew Church, Jim Sangster, Dan Walker and Kelly Van Camp. — DY

Lous and the Yakuza – Gore (Sony)
Lous and the Yakuza is the alias of Marie-Pierra Kakoma, a Congolese-Belgian singer, rapper, songwriter, model, and activist. Her debut album is a stellar set of magnetic pop songs that leans into a captivating global sound infused with R&B, trap, and Afrobeats that pairs her gorgeous vocals and lyrics sung in French with sleek cutting-edge beats provided entirely by El Guincho, the Spanish producer who originally came up as a solo artist in the early 2010s and served as the sole co-producer on Rosalia's groundbreaking 2018 album El Mar Querar. — AR

Kacy & Clayton & Marlon Williams – Plastic Bouquet (New West)
Saskatchewan duo Kacy & Clayton collaborated with New Zealand artist Marlon Williams for this beautifully crafted set of rootsy folk-pop inflected with ‘60s British rock, Laurel Canyon folk-rock, ‘70s country, Everlys folk-pop and more. — DY

Eartheater – Phoenix: Flames Are Dew Upon My Skin (PAN)
The 5th album from this project of NYC-based musician, composer, performance artist, and visual artist Alexandra Drewchin is a mesmerizing set of cinematic art-pop that filters a celestial, theatrical, powerful sound through her operatic, ethereal, elastic three-octave vocal range and dynamic backdrops that range from sparse ambient passages to soaring orchestral arrangements to disorienting sound collages. Beautifully dreamy and dystopian in equal fashion, Phoenix: Flames Are Dew Upon My Skin ranks as one of the standout experimental pop albums of the year. — AR

Slaughter Beach, Dog – At the Moonbase (Lame-O)
The fourth Slaughter Beach, Dog album from Modern Baseball’s Jake Ewald is a well-crafted set ranging from lush, emotive indie-pop to spoken-word slacker rock and spare folk-pop. — DY

The Bug – In Blue (Hyperdub)
The 6th album from veteran experimental producer Kevin Martin (now based in Brussels) under his revered The Bug alias is a collaboration with Berlin-based American producer/vocalist Dis Fig (aka Felicia Chen) and it's an intoxicating examination of a style they call "tunnel sound," a foggy and melancholic meltdown of narco-dancehall, zoned soul and dread-drenched dub. Perfectly at home in Kevin Martin's deep catalog of gauzy genre deconstructions, In Blue contains a handful of highlights that reside in a haunted trip-hop territory that's seductively eerie. — AR

Henrik Appel – Humanity (PNKSLM)
This Swedish artist’s second solo album is a solid set ranging from jangly garage-rock to hypnotic psych-pop and atmospheric folk-pop. — DY

Ólafur Arnalds – some kind of peace (Mercury KX)
The latest album from the renowned Icelandic composer and producer is another excellent set of meditative, cinematic, and appropriately peaceful compositions that traverse ambient, neo-classical, and ambient-pop territory. Bonobo, JFDR (aka Icelandic musician Jófríður Ákadóttir of Samaris and Pascal Pinon), and German-Korean vocalist Josin make guest appearances. — AR

Tekla Waterfield & Jeff Fielder – Trouble in Time (self-released)
This Seattle duo’s debut album is a well-crafted set of atmospheric folk-pop with an often-dark, spacious sound combining acoustic and electric guitars with plaintive vocals, haunting melodies and lyrics reflecting hope during troubled times. — DY

rarelyalways – Baby Buffalo EP (Innovative Leisure)
The debut EP from this British MC/producer is a unique set of experimental grime with a jazzy poetic vibe that contains shades of Roots Manuva, Tricky, and King Krule. — AR

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