New Music Reviews (7/26)

Album Reviews

Each week, Music Director Don Yates (joined this week by DJ Alex) 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 Tyler, the Creator, Darkside, Altin Gün, and more.

Tyler, the Creator – Call Me If You Get Lost (Columbia)
This LA artist’s excellent sixth official album is designed as an homage to early 2000 mixtapes, with the legendary DJ Drama acting as “host” and injecting his usual enthusiastic exhortations into the mix. The album’s sound is expansive, incorporating elements of psych-tinged pop, funk, soul, jazz and more, while still being grounded more in hip hop than his past couple of releases. One of the year’s best albums, Call Me If You Get Lost combines a variety of imaginative beats with Tyler’s gravelly delivery and lyrics veering between boasts of wealth and status to more vulnerable rhymes of needing love. The album also features an impressive guest list ranging from young up-and-comers like 42 Dugg and YoungBoy Never Broke Again to vets like Lil Wayne and Pharrell Williams. — DY

Darkside – Spiral (Matador)
The second album (and first in eight years) from the duo of Chilean American artist Nicolas Jaar and American multi-instrumentalist Dave Harrington is an often-mesmerizing blend of haunting electro-pop, dark psych-rock, spacy prog, acid-fried folk-rock, eerie ambient and more, featuring an intricately textured blend of electronic and live instrumentation and various ambient sounds accompanying Jaar’s ghostly vocals and lyrics of living in troubled times. — DY

Altin Gün – Âlem (ATO)
This Amsterdam-based band’s fourth album (and second released this year) is a bandcamp-only release with all the revenue going directly to the environmental nonprofit Earth Today. Âlem finds them successfully continuing their sonic evolution towards a more electronic, dance-friendly take on their Turkish psych-rock sound. — DY

Mega Bog – Life, and Another (Paradise of Bachelors)
The sixth Mega Bog album from Seattle-based artist Erin Birgy is a diverse, adventurous set of often-surreal, mortality-minded songs ranging from moody, jazz-tinged rock to haunting synth-pop, folk-rock, psych-pop and more, with contributions from an impressive supporting cast including members of Big Thief, iji, Lake and Hand Habits. — DY

Leon Bridges – Gold-Diggers Sound (Columbia)
This Fort Worth artist’s third album is a well-crafted set of understated R&B that finds him updating his retro soul sound with more prominent synths and programmed beats, along with some occasional hip hop, jazz and folk influences. Horns, keyboards and muted guitars are still present, along with mostly laid-back beats and lyrics of heartache, desire, loneliness, depression and racial injustice. Special guests include Robert Glasper, Terrace Martin and Ink. — DY

Ora the Molecule – Human Safari (Mute)
The debut full-length from this multi-national trio led by Norwegian artist Nora Schjelderup is a well-crafted set of beat-driven electro-pop with moody synths, propulsive rhythms, choral backing vocals and lyrics celebrating life and community. — DY

Charlotte Day Wilson – Alpha (Stone Woman)
This Toronto vocalist/producer’s debut full-length is an intimate, well-crafted blend of soul, gospel, folk, jazz and more, combining an atmospheric sound with her deep, velvety vocals and lyrics of heartache and identity. — DY

(Various) – May the Circle Remain Unbroken: A Tribute to Roky Erickson (Light in the Attic)
This tribute album to the late frontman for the Austin psych-rock band 13th Floor Elevators was produced by Bill Bentley, who also produced the excellent 1990 Roky Erickson tribute album Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye. Like that album, this one features an impressive lineup of artists interpreting Erickson’s songs, with the performances ranging from blistering garage-rock to haunting psych-folk. — DY

George Riley – interest rates, a tape (self-released)
This London-based artist’s debut mixtape is a promising set of moody R&B blended with jazz, drum ‘n’ bass, dub, UK garage and other styles, combining an atmospheric, sometimes shape-shifting sound with her soulful vocals and lyrics blending the political and the personal. — DY

Alex Orange Drink – Everything Is Broken, Maybe That’s OK (Shea Stadium)
The second solo album from the frontman for Brooklyn band The So So Glos (aka Alex Levine) is a well-crafted set combining a more melodic take on the punkish power-pop of his regular band with hook-filled psych-pop and scruffy folk-rock, with the songs ranging from depictions of substance abuse, youthful angst, heartache and dealing with a rare metabolic disorder to broken social and political systems. — DY

Mariah the Scientist – Ry Ry World (One Umbrella/RCA)
This Atlanta artist’s second album is a strong set of moody R&B combining an atmospheric sound with her agile vocals and unflinchingly honest lyrics of heartache. — DY

Anika – Change (Sacred Bones)
This Berlin-based artist’s second solo album (and first in 11 years) is a potent set of haunting, psych-tinged post-punk with eerie keyboards, atmospheric guitars, hypnotic rhythms, ominous melodies and anxiety-fueled lyrics depicting a world in decline and a need for change. — DY

Snoh Aalegra – Temporary Highs in the Violet Skies (ARTium/Roc Nation)
This Iranian-born, Swedish-raised, LA-based artist’s third album is a well-crafted set of atmospheric R&B combining pillowy synths and mostly downtempo beats with her limber vocals and personal lyrics of love, heartbreak and resilience. — DY

Clairo – Sling (Republic)
This upstate New York-based artist’s second album is an impeccably crafted set of hushed, ‘70s-steeped folk-pop. Produced by Jack Antonoff, the album features an often-spare, restrained and subtly detailed sound combining vintage keyboards, acoustic guitars, horns, strings, woodwinds and more with layered harmonies, downcast melodies and lyrics revolving around loneliness, depression and the travails of young adulthood. — DY

Brittany Howard – Jaime Reimagined (ATO)
The Alabama Shakes frontwoman’s 2019 debut solo album is now being released in a “reimagined” version (no doubt followed by the acoustic version, the live version and the deluxe anniversary edition), with an impressive lineup of artists remixing – and in some cases redoing – songs from the album. — DY

Havana Swim Club – Havana Swim Club (self-released)
Havana Swim Club is a new solo project from Seattle-based musician Dan Koch, previously part of the local bands Sherwood and Pacific Gold. His debut solo album is a wonderful set of tropical-tinted sample-based grooves that bring to mind chillwave's glory days through its smooth balance of sublime downtempo beats with more lively dancefloor tempos. From start-to-finish, it's just a great feel-good summertime record. — AR

Molly Burch – Romantic Images (Captured Tracks)
This Austin-based artist’s third regular studio album finds her recasting her sound into ‘80s-steeped pop. Produced by Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley of the band Tennis, the album combines shimmering synths, atmospheric guitars and propulsive rhythms with her airy vocals and lyrics of growth, change and self-love. — DY

Drinking Boys and Girls Choir – Marriage License (Damnably)
This Daegu, South Korea trio’s second album is a potent blend of punk, power-pop and other styles, combining crunchy guitars, energetic rhythms and buoyant melodies with often politically minded lyrics critiquing patriarchy and supporting the LGBTQ+ community. — DY

Ruth B. – Moments In Between (Downtown)
This Ethiopian Canadian artist’s second album is a solid set of folk-tinged R&B with a dreamy, laid-back sound featuring piano, synths, guitars, strings and more accompanying her silky vocals. — DY

Bluestaeb – Giseke (Jakarta)
The latest album from Paris-based multi-disciplinary artist Leon Giseke (aka Bluestaeb) is a sleek, groove-driven blend of hip hop, funk and R&B featuring a variety of guest vocalists including Mick Jenkins, Ric Wilson, Uno Hype and other notables. — DY

Lucid Express – Lucid Express (Kanine)
The debut album from this Hong Kong five-piece is a stellar set of shimmery shoegaze jams that blends ringing guitars, ethereal melodies, and plenty of gauzy feedback for a refreshing display of the genre's iconic sound. Written against the backdrop of Hong Kong's turbulent political atmosphere as pro-democracy protests against brutal state suppression increased, Lucid Express' debut album is a reaction to their country's changing landscape propelled by a desire “to hold on to something more beautiful than before." — AR

Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band – Expansions (Big Crown)
This Hamburg, Germany-based band’s third album features instrumental steel-pan versions of a variety of covers, along with a handful of originals. The album’s tropical-tinged sound combines steel pans with punchy horns, chunky guitar riffs and funk-inflected rhythms. — DY

Los Lobos – Native Sons (New West)
This veteran East LA band pays tribute to their hometown’s musical heritage with this album featuring a variety of covers of LA artists ranging from Thee Midniters, the Jaguars, Lala Guerrero and Willie Bobo to Barrett Strong, WAR, Buffalo Springfield and Jackson Browne. — DY

My Idea – That's My Idea EP (Hardly Art)
The debut EP from this New York-based duo comprised of Palberta’s Lily Konigsberg and Water From Your Eyes’ Nate Amos is a diverse five-song set ranging from hook-filled garage-pop and dreamy indie-pop to glitchy electro-pop. — DY

Karen Nyame KG – Sensei II EP (Black Acre)
The latest EP from London-based vocalist and producer Karen Nyame KG is a stellar set of her visionary club-primed R&B music that finds strong inspiration in the kinetic rhythms of the African diaspora as well as UK-rooted dancefloor styles. A breakout showcase for both her sharp production talents and elastic vocals, Sensei II features guest appearances from fellow London artists Mista Silva, Taliwhoah, and Toya Delazy as well as rising South African amapiano artist Aymos. — AR

Acid Tongue & Friends – Blossom EP (Freakout)
This Seattle-bred band’s latest EP is a solid 4-song set with different musical guests joining them on each song, with the music ranging from energetic glam and propulsive dance-pop to hook-filled pop-rock and crunchy garage-rock. — DY

Plutonic Lab – The New Ruins EP (Low Key Source)
Plutonic Lab is the alias of Melbourne-based producer Leigh Ryan, a veteran of Australia's hip-hop scene who contributed on Speech Debelle's 2009 Mercury Prize-winning album Speech Therapy and has collaborated with a stacked roster of underground rappers from all over the world. His latest EP is a strong set of diverse hip-hop, R&B, and soul featuring guest appearances from Black Milk, Olivier St. Louis, and a talented crew of Australian artists. — AR

Andy Stott – Never The Right Time (Modern Love)
The 8th album from this veteran Manchester, UK-based electronic producer is another haunting set of deconstructed club rhythms, murky atmospheric textures, and vaporous vocal samples that yields a distinctively dark, cerebral, and at-times hypnotic record. — AR

Piroshka – Love Drips and Gathers (Bella Union)
The second album from this British band featuring members of Lush, Moose, Elastica and Modern English is a solid set of glistening dream-pop combining atmospheric keyboards, guitars and more with lyrics revolving around relationships and connection. — DY

Tru – When The Smoke Clears (FTF)
The latest solo album from this LA-based underground rapper is a nice set of introspective soulful hip-hop with an intermittent spiritual undercurrent. Album highlight "No More" samples the timeless 1980 single "It'll All Be Over" by The Supreme Jubilees. — AR

Foodman – Yasuragi Land (Hyperdub)
The latest album from this Japanese electronic musician (aka Takahide Higuchi) is an adventurous set of playful electronic grooves inflected with footwork, house and other styles, featuring an intricately arranged sound combining synths blips, processed acoustic guitar sounds and other colorful sounds with off-kilter rhythms. — DY

Samia – Scout EP (Grand Jury)
This New York artist’s latest release is a solid 4-song set of melancholy indie-pop with lyrics revolving around love and relationships. — DY

CalvoMusic – Nights Into Mornings EP (Night Slugs)
Revered cutting-edge London label Night Slugs emerges from an extended silence with the official debut EP from Baltimore club DJ/producer CalvoMusic. Creator and pioneer of the "New Club Waves" sound, CalvoMusic puts a new spin on the distinctive Bmore sound that has defined the regional club music of his hometown since its emergence in the early 1990s by fusing high-energy club beats with precisely chopped-up vocal samples and an infectiously propulsive swing. Opening track "Atlantis Level 1.5" is a perfect entry point for the "New Club Waves" experience. — AR

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