New Music Reviews (4/19)

Album Reviews
04/19/2021
KEXP

Each week, Music Director Don Yates (joined this week by DJs Alex, Abbie, and Gabriel Teodros) shares brief insights on new and upcoming releases for KEXP's rotation. These reviews help our DJs decide on what they want to play. See what we added this week below (and on our Charts page), including new releases from Jupiter & Okwess, Brockhampton, Juan Wauters, and more.


Jupiter & Okwess – Na Kozonga (Everloving)
The latest release from this Congolese band led by Jupiter Bokondji is an impressive, energetic set of various Congolese styles inflected with funk, rock and more, combining fiery electric guitars, percolating rhythms, call-and-response vocals and hypnotic song hooks. The album’s special guests include Ana Tijoux and Preservation Hall Jazz Band. — DY

Brockhampton – Roadrunner: New Light, New Machine (Question Everything/RCA)
The sixth album from this 13-member, Texas-bred hip hop collective led by Kevin Abstract is a potent set of diverse hip hop ranging from hard-hitting, anxiety-fueled bangers and braggadocious boom-bap to breezy pop-rap and soulful, R&B-tinged beats. The album’s stellar guest lineup includes Danny Brown, JPEGMAFIA, A$AP Rocky, A$AP Ferg, The Gap Band’s Charlie Wilson and other notables. — DY

(Various) – Indaba Is (Brownswood Recordings)
The latest compilation from Gilles Peterson's Brownswood Recordings label is a fantastic collection of current South African improvised music and jazz that showcases the wide-reaching spectrum of the country's jazz scene. Ranging from punk-inspired diatribes to blissful spiritual anthems, Indaba Is is spearheaded by pianist/songwriter Thandi Nthuli and The Brother Moves On’s Siyabonga Mthembu, two luminaries of the South African music scene who act as curators and musical directors on the project. — AR

Juan Wauters – Real Life Situations (Captured Tracks)
The fifth solo album from this Uruguay-born, New York-based artist (and former frontman for The Beets) is a diverse set ranging from various Latin folk styles to R&B-tinged electro-pop, driving psych-rock, breezy folk-pop and more, with the songs interspersed by an abundance of interludes with spoken samples. The album’s impressive guest list includes Homeshake, Nick Hakim, Cola Boyy, Mac DeMarco and other notables. — DY

La Femme – Paradigmes (DISQUE POINT/ IDOL)
The French psych rockers take us on a crazy genre-bending "American roadtrip" complete with bombastic horns, surfy spaghetti westerns, hard-thumping post-punk, surprising banjo, and the sashay of 60s French Yé-yé pop. — AG

Wild Powwers – What You Wanted (Nadine)
This Seattle trio’s fourth album is their strongest and most diverse outing to date, ranging from driving garage-punk and grungy screamo to moody indie-rock and soaring psych-rock, with consistently well-crafted songs combining ringing guitars, muscular rhythms, dynamic vocals and catchy song hooks. — DY

Damon Locks Black Monument Ensemble – Now (International Anthem)
The second album from this Chicago-based group led by Damon Locks is an expansive blend of spiritual jazz, electro-funk, gospel, spoken word and more, combining fiery horns and percolating percussion with electronic loops and vocal samples taken from films, television and other sources, along with informal studio chatter and the sound of cicadas on the album opener. While reflecting our troubled present time, the album looks with hope towards the possibilities of the future. — DY

Garage A Trois – Calm Down Cologne (The Royal Potato Family)
The first album in 10 years from this trio comprised of guitarist Charlie Hunter, saxophonist/keyboardist Skerik and drummer Stanton Moore is a mostly improvised set of energetic jazz-funk recorded live in the studio at Seattle’s Studio Litho with help from Randall Dunn. — DY

STR4TA – Aspects (Brownswood Recordings)
STR4TA is a collaborative project between legendary British DJ Gilles Peterson and musician Jean-Paul Maunick (aka Bluey) that's heavily inspired by and dedicated to a rejuvenation of the infectious energy and influential sounds of the early 1980s Brit-funk scene. Their debut album is a masterful exploration of this fresh, vibrant, and energetic spirit that fuses funk, jazz, and soul with a distinctive British twist that delights start-to-finish. — AR

The Berries – Throne of Ivory (Singles and B-Sides) (Run For Cover)
The latest album from this LA-via-Seattle project spearheaded by Matt Berry is a well-crafted collection of recent singles and B-sides, with a psych-tinged folk-rock sound combining acoustic and electric guitars, piano and synths with often-dark lyrics and hypnotic song hooks. — DY

Renée Reed – Renée Reed (Keeled Scales)
Singer/songwriter Renée Reed hails from Layfayette, Louisiana and creates a wonderland of lo-fi folk making her a Mazzy Star of the Cajun prairies.  Growing up she was surrounded by Cajun folklore and heritage that filled her kitchen and front porch with family jam sessions.  These memories resonate with her playful acoustic guitar, a bit of organ, and dreamy vocals (sometimes in French) recorded on a four-track. — AG

Shine – Stare into the Sun EP (4Q-HQ)
The debut EP from this Seattle band comprised of members from Regional Justice Center and New Gods is a potent four-song set of shoegazer psych-rock with thick, fuzzy guitars, driving rhythms, half-buried vocals and dreamy song hooks. — DY

Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi – They're Calling Me Home (Nonesuch)
The latest album from this Greensboro, NC-born, Ireland-based artist finds her collaborating for the second time with her multi-instrumentalist husband Francesco Turrisi on this expansive blend of American, Irish and Italian folk styles, highlighted by imaginative arrangements featuring a colorful variety of acoustic instruments along with pandemic-appropriate lyrics revolving around longing for home and the reality of death. — DY

Cory Hanson – Pale Horse Rider (Drag City)
The second solo album from the frontman for the LA band Wand is a well-crafted blend of atmospheric psych-rock and country-tinged folk-rock, combining acoustic and electric guitars, pedal steel, strings, and more with his soft, wispy vocals and wistful melodies. — DY

Hannah Jadagu – What Is Going On? EP (Sub Pop)
This Mesquite, TX-bred, New York-based artist’s debut EP is a well-crafted five-song set of hazy bedroom pop combining atmospheric guitars and keyboards and memorable song hooks with sharply crafted lyrics reflecting her experience growing up a black woman in America. — DY

Field Music – Flat White Moon (Memphis Industries)
This British brother duo’s eighth album is another sharply crafted set of arty indie-pop incorporating elements of psych-pop, funk and other styles, featuring shape-shifting songs combining guitars, piano, strings and more with sunny harmonies and bright melodies juxtaposed by often-dark lyrics of loss, grief and isolation. — DY

MALIA – Unpolished (self-released)
Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Los Angeles-based R&B / neo-soul vocalist and guitarist MALIA releases her full-length debut album Unpolished. MALIA is a gifted storyteller and her vulnerable songwriting and soaring vocals shine throughout the project, with an album arc that goes from romantic love to self-love and acceptance. Unpolished is preceded three excellent EPs including Ripe (2019), Late Bloomer (which featured a collaboration with Syd from The Internet in 2017), and the self-titled MALIA released in 2015. — GT

Yellow Ostrich – Soft (Barsuk)
The first Yellow Ostrich album in seven years from Minneapolis-based artist Alex Schaaf is a solid set of moody folk-pop combining guitars, keyboards and subtle electronic touches with his plaintive vocals and lyrics depicting tenderness and vulnerability. — DY

Dust Moth – Rising // Sailing (self-released)
This Seattle band’s second full-length is a solid set of heavy, atmospheric rock inflected with shoegazer psych-rock, metal and other styles, combining bristling guitars, moody synths and forceful rhythms with Irene Barber’s haunting, melodic vocals. — DY

Nick Hakim & Roy Nathanson – Small Things (NYXO)
Brooklyn musician Nick Hakim teamed up with veteran jazz saxophonist Roy Nathanson (the Jazz Passengers, the Lounge Lizards) for this set featuring Hakim reciting poetry written by Nathanson over the duo’s moody, soul-tinged jazz grooves. — DY

Small Black – Cheap Dreams (100% Electronica)
This Brooklyn band’s fourth album (and first in six years) is a solid set of psych-tinged dream-pop with shimmering synths, fuzzy guitars, airy harmonies and melancholy melodies. — DY

Skullcrusher – Storm in Summer EP (Secretly Canadian)
The second Skullcrusher EP from LA-based artist Helen Ballentine is a well-crafted five-song set of emotive folk-pop combining acoustic and electric guitars, banjo, synths and more with her plaintive vocals, wistful melodies and lyrics of self-doubt and self-discovery. — DY

Louisahhh – The Practice of Freedom (HE.SHE.THEY.)
New York-born, Paris-based, Louisahhh drops her debut of industrial rock and techno punk that explore the unorthodox archetype of ‘feminist submissive,’ based on the mantra “sin is not being true to yourself.” Her feminist, anti-establishment message echoes the current times, covering themes ranging from eroticism and empowerment to addiction and apocalypse. — AG

Jesse Rosenthal – The Killing Language (Killing Language)
The debut solo album from the vocalist/pianist in the Seattle band Advertisement is a solid set of ‘80s-steeped pop-rock inflected with glam and other styles, combining sleek guitar riffs, bright keyboards and lyrics revolving around growing older, masculinity and mental health. — DY

The Lost Days – Lost Demos EP (The Long Road Society)
The debut EP from this California duo comprised of Tony Molina and Sarah Rose Janko is a well-crafted five-song set of psych-tinged folk-pop with jangly guitars, warm harmonies and wistful melodies. — DY

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