New Music Reviews (8/23)

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 Deafheaven, Cleo Sol, Topaz Jones, and more.

Deafheaven – Infinite Granite (Sargent House)
This San Francisco band’s excellent fifth album recasts their tumultuous black metal/shoegaze fusion into more ethereal but no less emotionally powerful shoegazer psych-rock and post-rock with an atmospheric sound featuring fuzzy, effects-laden guitars, muscular rhythms, mostly serene vocals, vulnerable lyrics and hypnotic song hooks. — DY

Cleo Sol – Mother (Forever Living Originals)
This London artist’s second solo album is a gorgeous-sounding set of atmospheric R&B incorporating elements of gospel, jazz, orchestral pop and other styles. Produced by fellow Sault member Inflo, the album features a sometimes lush, sometimes spare sound on occasionally shape-shifting songs ranging from airy, sunshine-soaked R&B and soaring, gospel-steeped ballads to some moody jazz-funk. — DY

Topaz Jones – Don't Go Tellin’ Your Momma (New Funk Academy/Black Canopy)
This Montclair, NJ-based rapper’s second album is a potent set of reflective hip hop combining a variety of warm, funk and soul-inflected beats with his agile flow and introspective rhymes reminiscing about his formative years in Montclair. — DY

Bnny – Everything (Fire Talk)
This Chicago band’s debut album is a powerful set of atmospheric, Velvet Underground-influenced psych-pop combining jangly, gently reverberating guitars, breathy vocals, haunting melodies and personal lyrics of love and loss. — DY

Leslie Winer — When I Hit You — You'll Feel It (Light In The Attic)
Light In The Attic offers up this fascinating 16-track anthology to spotlight the enigmatic works of Leslie Winer, an American musician, poet, model, and writer who helped pioneer the trip-hop sound with her innovative debut album Witch that was completed in 1990 and officially released in 1993. Immersed in the revolutionary art scenes of London and NYC in the late 1980s and early 1990s where she mingled and collaborated with the likes of William S. Burroughs, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Grace Jones, and more, Leslie largely disappeared from the music scene after the release of Witch. When I Hit You — You'll Feel It does a fantastic job showcasing Leslie's distinctive poetic spoken word vocal style over psychedelic dub loops and rough drum breaks and features musical contributions from Jon Hassell, Jah Wobble, Renegade Soundwave's Karl Bonnie, and more. — AR

Sierra Ferrell – Long Time Coming (Rounder)
This West Virginia-bred, Nashville-based artist’s third album is a sharply crafted, rootsy blend of country, folk, bluegrass, New Orleans jazz, mariachi, tango, calypso, noirish jazz-pop and other styles, combining a diverse and colorful sound featuring a variety of acoustic and electric instrumentation with her magnetic, slightly quavering vocals and lyrics of heartache and lost love. — DY

Joy Orbison – Still Slipping Vol. 1 (XL)
The debut full-length mixtape from this British producer (aka Peter O’Grady) is an adventurous blend of 2-step garage, deep house, post-dubstep and other electronic grooves, combining intricate rhythms and moody synths with occasional guest vocals along with incorporating vocal samples of various relatives. — DY

Villagers – Fever Dreams (Domino)
The fifth studio album from this Irish band led by Conor O’Brien is an imaginative set of psych-tinged orchestral pop with an atmospheric, richly textured, often-subdued but occasionally combustible sound combining strings, piano, synths, sax, xylophone and more with haunting, sometimes music-box melodies and dream-like lyrics of love and connection. — DY

The Joy Formidable – Into the Blue (Enci)
This Utah-based Welsh band’s fifth album is another fine set of shoegazerish post-punk with a towering sound combining layers of fuzzy guitars and massive song hooks with lyrics of connection, empowerment and resilience. — DY

Sturgill Simpson – The Ballad of Dood and Juanita (High Top Mountain)
This Nashville-based, Kentucky-bred artist’s seventh full-length is a concept album revolving around the tumultuous lives of a couple living on the Kentucky frontier during the post-Civil War era. Featuring the same stellar lineup of bluegrass musicians that played on his two recent bluegrass albums, the album features a rootsy, acoustic-oriented blend of bluegrass with old-time string-band music, brush arbor gospel, Latin-flavored western and lonesome country ballads. — DY

quickly, quickly – The Long and Short of It (Ghostly International)
The official debut album from this Portland-based artist (aka Graham Jonson) is a diverse, rhythm-driven blend of psych-pop, R&B, folk-pop, jazz, hip hop and other styles, featuring an expansive, sometimes shape-shifting sound combining mostly live instrumentation with lyrics of anxiety, loneliness and desire. — DY

Shannon & The Clams – Year of the Spider (Easy Eye Sound/Concord)
This Oakland band’s sixth album is a well-crafted blend of ‘60s girl-group pop, surf, psych, folk-rock and other vintage styles, combining an often-dark sound and haunting melodies with alternating lead vocals from Shannon Shaw and Cody Blanchard and lyrics of struggle and resilience. — DY

John Glacier – SHILOH: Lost For Words (PLZ Make It Ruins)
The debut album from this enigmatic London-based rapper/producer is a strong set of shadowy leftfield hip-hop that brings together her distinctively woozy delivery and improvisational lyrics with wavy experimental beats. Known for their appearances on collaborations with Dean Blunt's Babyfather project and Ragz Originale, John Glacier emerges with an undeniably unique hip-hop sound that fits in nicely on Vegyn's PLZ Make It Ruins label. — AR

Shinyribs – Late Night TV Gold (Mustard Lid)
The seventh album from this nine-piece Austin band led by Kevin Russell (formerly of The Gourds) is a soulful blend of R&B, folk-rock, funk, psych-pop and other styles, featuring a warm sound combining a variety of colorful acoustic and electric instrumentation with wistful melodies and lyrics of love and resilience. — DY

DJ Manny – Signals In My Head (Planet Mu)
The latest album (and Planet Mu debut) from this Brooklyn-via-Chicago electronic producer and longtime member of the Teklife crew is a captivating set of juke/footwork rhythms that infuses the genre's cutting-edge beats with a romantic R&B streak. While standouts like "Never Was Ah Hoe" and "U Want It" reside in that inventive R&B territory, Signals In My Head joyfully glances at house, techno, breaks, and jungle through DJ Manny's distinctive juke/footwork vision. — AR

Tropical Fuck Storm – Deep States (Joyful Noise)
This Melbourne, Australia band’s third album is an adventurous set of avant-rock inflected with jazz, R&B, hip hop, New Wave and other styles, combining a sometime tumultuous, noise-addled sound with satirical lyrics aimed at conspiracy theories, political extremists, bizarre cults, resurgent fascism, deceptive leaders and other present-day ills. — DY

Dumb Thumbs – Holy Guacamole (self-released)
This Seattle band’s debut album is a vibrant, hook-filled set of ‘70s-influenced power-pop with fuzzy guitars, energetic rhythms and buoyant song hooks. — DY

Obongjayar & SARZ – Sweetness EP (Metallic Music/1789)
This collaborative EP between Nigerian-born, London-based vocalist Obongjayar and in-demand Nigerian producer SARZ is a fresh set of Afrobeats-tinted R&B/pop accented by 80s-steeped synths, Obongjayar's soaring melodies, and SARZ's genre-blending beats. — AR

Angel Olsen – Aisles EP (somethingcosmic/Jagjaguwar)
This Asheville, NC-based artist’s latest release is a five-song EP of covers of well-worn ‘80s pop songs inspired by walking the aisles of her local grocery store while the songs played. Her own versions are generally more brooding and atmospheric, though they’re also fairly faithful to the originals. — DY

DijahSB – Head Above The Waters (self-released)
Recently shortlisted for Canada's prestigious Polaris Prize, the sophomore album from this Toronto-based rapper is a refreshing set of lively, honest, vibrant hip-hop that showcases DijahSB's charismatic energy and direct lyrics exploring the highs and lows of everyday life as a Black non-binary artist. — AR

Arushi Jain – Under The Lilac Sky (Leaving)
The debut album from this India-born, NYC-based composer, modular synthesist, vocalist, technologist, and engineer is a mesmerizing exploration of Hindustani classical music infused with celestial modular synth arrangements and accented by Arushi's soaring ethereal vocals. Reimagining the classical music of her native country through a dreamy and meditative prism, Under The Lilac Sky nods to legendary new age explorers Suzanne Cianni and Terry Riley and yields one of the standout vocal-laced, ambient-leaning electronic albums of 2021. — AR

Kogane – All Together (Secret Songs)
The debut full-length album from Vancouver, BC-based electronic producer and vocalist Rick Goddard (aka Kogane) is a charming set of inventive, colorful, skittering songs that blend electronic, indie pop, post-rock, synth-pop, chamber pop, math rock, and twee in emotional, wide-eyed, richly-detailed fashion. Reminiscent at times of Efterklang, The Octopus Project, Múm, and Cornelius, All Together's electro-acoustic mini-symphonies also find inspiration in Japan's glistening IDM-tinted electronic-pop scene fueled by Kogane's extended formative years living in Tokyo. Secret Songs founder Ryan Hemsworth and Seattle's Shelf Nunny make guest appearances. — AR

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