New Music Reviews (10/25)

Album Reviews

Each week, Music Director Don Yates shares brief insights on new and upcoming releases for KEXP's rotation. See what we added this week below (and on our Charts page), including new releases from La Luz, Helado Negro, Hand Habits, and more.

Lana Del Rey – Blue Banisters (Interscope)
This LA-based artist’s eighth studio album (and second released this year) is an impressive set of intimate orchestral pop featuring her most personal songs to date. The album combines an often-spare, piano-based sound with her haunting vocals, melancholy melodies and sharply crafted lyrics of love, family, struggle and end times.
La Luz – La Luz (Hardly Art)
This California-via-Seattle band’s fourth album is an evocative set of atmospheric psych-rock inflected with surf, ‘60s girl group pop and other styles. Produced by Adrian Younge, the album combines stinging guitars and shimmering keyboards with lush harmonies and lyrics revolving around relationships and nature.
Parquet Courts – Sympathy For Life (Rough Trade)
This Brooklyn-based band’s seventh album is a more expansive take on the band’s sardonic post-punk, featuring more prominent dance beats along with more spacy psychedelic and dub textures on songs critiquing gentrification, police brutality, dehumanizing modern technology and mass commodification while celebrating community.
Helado Negro – Far In (4AD)
The seventh album from this Asheville, NC-based artist (aka Roberto Carlos Lange) is a beautifully crafted blend of folk-tinged dream-pop and gently propulsive electro-pop, with an atmospheric sound featuring celestial synths, lush strings, piano, sax, vibraphone, steel pans and more accompanying his tender falsetto and bilingual lyrics of love and hope during dystopian times.
Deerhoof – Actually, You Can (Joyful Noise)
This veteran San Francisco band’s 18th studio album is a potent set of jagged experimental rock with knotty guitar riffs, unconventional time signatures, playful vocals, bright melodies and lyrics of liberation.
(Various) - The Daptone Super Soul Revue Live! At the Apollo (Daptone)
The famed New York soul label Daptone celebrates its 20th anniversary with this 2-CD/3-LP set recorded over three nights at New York’s legendary Apollo Theater in December 2014. The stellar lineup includes many of Daptone’s finest, including Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Charles Bradley, the Budos Band, Antibalas, Saun & Starr, the Sugarman 3 and Menahan Street Band. When listening to these spirited performances, it’s easy to hear the joy and energy in the Apollo those three nights.
Hand Habits – Fun House (Saddle Creek)
The third Hand Habits album from LA artist Meg Duffy is a more expansive take on their reflective folk-pop, incorporating elements of synth-driven dance-pop, grungy Crazy Horse-style rock, atmospheric psych-pop and other styles. Produced by Sasami, the album’s wide-ranging songs combine guitars, synths, strings, organ and other instrumentation with lyrics of trauma, loss and identity.
My Morning Jacket – My Morning Jacket (ATO)
This Louisville band’s ninth album (and first in six years) is a potent set of expansive, psych-tinged rock with rangy guitar solos, warm keyboards and lyrics of searching for love and connection during troubled times.
Angel Du$t – YAK: A Collection of Truck Songs (Roadrunner)
The fourth album from this Baltimore band featuring members of Turnstile and Trapped Under Ice is a smartly crafted set of ‘90s-influenced power-pop inflected at times with folk-rock, surf, doo wop and other styles, combining crunchy/jangly guitars and energetic rhythms with an abundance of catchy song hooks.
Black Marble – Fast Idol (Sacred Bones)
The fourth Black Marble album from LA-based artist Chris Stewart is a strong set of dark, goth-tinged post-punk and electro-pop, combining twinkling synths, atmospheric guitars and driving drum-machine beats with yearning, reverbed vocals and wistful melodies.
Dummy – Mandatory Enjoyment (Trouble In Mind)
This LA band’s debut full-length is an adventurous set of inventive avant-rock reminiscent at times of Stereolab, combining angular guitars, bright, droning keyboards, driving, sometimes motorik rhythms and euphoric melodies juxtaposed with often-dark lyrics for these dystopian times.
Circuit des Yeux - -io (Matador)
The seventh Circuit des Yeux album from Chicago artist Haley Fohr is an adventurous set of orchestral avant-pop inflected with classical, folk, gospel and other styles. Featuring a 23-piece orchestra along with atmospheric synths, the album combines a dramatic, sometimes unsettling sound with Fohr’s operatic vocals and lyrics of grief, loss, mortality and end times.
Dark Mark vs. Skeleton Joe – Dark Mark vs. Skeleton Joe (Rare Bird/Kitten Robot)
The debut album from this project pairing Mark Lanegan with The Icarus Line’s Joe Cardamone is a potent set of dark electro-pop incorporating elements of disco, industrial, ambient, goth post-punk and other styles, with the album’s songs ranging from heavy, propulsive dance-rockers to atmospheric ballads.
The Zephyr Bones – Neon Body (La Castanya)
This Barcelona-based Spanish/Chilean band’s second album is a well-crafted set of hook-filled dream-pop inflected with disco, funk, motorik prog and other styles, combining fuzzy guitars, shimmering synths, often-propulsive rhythms, wistful melodies, celestial harmonies, gauzy, distant vocals and lyrics of love, loss and hope.
Good Morning – Barnyard (Polyvinyl)
This Melbourne, Australia duo’s sixth album is a well-crafted set of reflective indie-rock combining acoustic and electric guitars, analog synths and mostly midtempo rhythms with doleful vocals and dark lyrics reflecting these troubled times.
Vanishing Twin – Ookii Gekkou (Fire)
This London band’s third album is an imaginative set of colorful, psych-tinged avant-pop inflected with space-age jazz and lounge, Afro-funk and more, with a colorful and intricate sound featuring synths, guitars, woodwinds, horns, strings, xylophone, glockenspiel, harpsichord, marimba and other instrumentation, along with Cathy Lucas’s serene vocals and hypnotic melodies.
ACTORS – Acts of Worship (Arfoffact)
This Vancouver, B.C. band’s second album is a potent set of goth-tinged electro-pop with a dark, ‘80s-steeped sound featuring glistening synths, atmospheric guitars, driving rhythms, dramatic crooning and soaring song hooks.
Quantic & Nidia Góngora - Almas Conectadas (Tru Thoughts)
The second collaborative album from Brooklyn-based British producer Will Holland (aka Quantic) and Colombian folklore singer-songwriter Nidia Góngora is a well-crafted blend of cumbia and other traditional styles with orchestral pop and more. The album’s acoustic-oriented sound combines traditional Afro-Colombian instrumentation and rhythms with keyboards, cinematic strings, gently ringing guitars, occasional horns and Góngora’s supple vocals.
Trace Mountains – House of Confusion (Lame-O)
The third Trace Mountains album from New York artist (and former LVL UP singer/guitarist) Dave Benton is a well-crafted set of country-tinged folk-pop with acoustic and electric guitars, pedal steel, mostly easy-going rhythms and breezy melodies.
Ross From Friends – Tread (Brainfeeder)
The second full-length from this British DJ (aka Felix Clary Weatherall) is a solid set of emotive electronic grooves combining propulsive rhythms and moody keyboards with looped vocal samples and bittersweet melodies.
Hayden Thorpe – Moondust For My Diamond (Domino)
The second solo album from this former member of British band Wild Beasts is a fine set of moody electro-pop with an atmospheric, sometimes jazz-tinged sound featuring shimmering synths and guitars, occasional sax and piano, intimate vocals and lyrics searching for the meaning of life.
KIRBY – Sis. He Wasn’t the One (self-released)
This Mississippi-bred, LA-based artist follows up her 2020 debut EP with this 10-song set of diverse R&B ranging from a buoyant, funk-infused celebration of black womanhood to pillowy, atmospheric ballads of love and desire, highlighted by her high, raspy vocals and intimate lyrics.
Sassy 009 – Heart Ego (Luft)
The latest mixtape from this Oslo-based artist (aka Sunniva Lingård) is a fine set of atmospheric electro-pop occasionally tinged with R&B, dream-pop and other styles, combining shimmering synths and propulsive rhythms with her breathy vocals.
Jackson+Sellers – Breaking Point (ANTI-)
The debut album from the duo of Santa Margarita, CA artist Jade Jackson and Nashville artist Aubrie Sellers is a diverse, well-crafted set ranging from fiery roots-tinged rock and fuzzy, ‘90s-steeped pop-rock to moody, atmospheric ballads.
She/Beast - Violent Tendencies (PNKSLM)
The debut She/Beast full-length from Swedish artist (and member of Arre! Arre!) Katja Nielsen is an energetic blend of ‘60s garage-rock and girl group pop, combining fuzzy guitars and bright organ riffs with lyrics revolving around female murderers.
Dinner – Dream Work (Captured Tracks)
The third Dinner album from Danish producer Anders Rhedin is a solid set of ‘80s-influenced dream-pop with shimmering synths and guitars, mostly midtempo rhythms, soothing vocals and wistful melodies.
Grouper – Shade (Kranky)
The 12th Grouper album from Astoria, OR-based artist Liz Harris is a haunting blend of ambient, folk and other styles, with an atmospheric sound featuring spare acoustic guitar, occasional keyboards and ambient sounds accompanying her hushed vocals and lyrics revolving around respite and the Northwest Coast.
Okay Kaya – The Incompatible Okay Kaya (Jagjaguwar)
The latest Okay Kaya release from Berlin-based Norwegian-American artist Kaya Wilkins is a solid nine-song mixtape featuring new stripped-down versions of some of her previous recordings along with a few covers.
Ego Ella May – FIELDNOTES EP (self-released)
This London artist’s latest EP is a solid four-song set of atmospheric, jazz-tinged R&B featuring her smooth, understated vocals and lyrics of self-care, escape and the transitory nature of life.
Cuffed Up – Asymmetry EP (Royal Mountain)
This LA band’s latest release is a solid four-song set of anthemic post-punk with fuzzy guitars, energetic rhythms and lyrics of health struggles, deceit and mortality.

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