Each week, Music Director Don Yates 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 Enumclaw, Plains, Wild Pink, and more.
Enumclaw – Save the Baby (Luminelle)
This Tacoma band’s debut full-length is an impressive set of ‘90s-steeped rock with grungy electric and jangly acoustic guitars, muscular rhythms, overcast melodies and personal lyrics of trauma, relationships and chasing dreams.
Plains – I Walked With You A Ways (ANTI-)
The debut album from this duo comprised of LA-based artist Jess Williamson and Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield is a beautifully crafted set of country and folk-pop. Produced by Brad Cook with the backing band including Phil Cook and Spencer Tweedy, the album features a warm sound combining acoustic and electric guitars, piano, organ, mandolin, banjo, dobro and more with the duo’s heavenly harmonies, wistful melodies and lyrics of lost love and moving on.
Wild Pink – ILYSM (Royal Mountain)
The fourth album from this Brooklyn band led by John Ross is an expansive, often-poignant set ranging from atmospheric, country-tinged dream-pop, cinematic post-rock and anthemic heartland rock to moody, driving rock, sludgy shoegaze and desolate, piano-led ballads. Featuring a stellar supporting cast including Julien Baker, J Mascis, Ryley Walker, Yasmin Williams, Peter Silberman, Samantha Crain, Julia Steiner, Mike Bremmer and other notables, the album combines atmospheric guitars, shimming synths, piano, occasional pedal steel, horns and more with Ross’s hushed vocals and lyrics revolving around facing mortality with love, hope and gratitude. (Ross was treated for cancer during the recording of the album, and that experience weighs heavily on the album.)
The 1975 – Being Funny in a Foreign Language (Dirty Hit)
This British band’s fifth album finds them trimming their excesses for a mostly chaff-free set of ‘80s-steeped pop-rock combining sleek guitars, bright keyboards, smooth sax and bouncy rhythms with lyrics combatting isolation and alienation with the redemptive power of love.
Daphni – Cherry (Jiaolong)
The third Daphni album (and first in five years) from Canadian-born, London-based Caribou mastermind Dan Snaith is an energetic set of buoyant electronic grooves, combining propulsive house and techno rhythms, fidgety synths and looped samples.
Charlotte Dos Santos – Morfo (Because Music)
This Brazilian-Norwegian artist’s second album is a well-crafted set of airy, jazz-tinged R&B inflected at times with folk, funk, classical, batucada and other styles, combining pillowy synths, strings, guitars and more with her silky, agile vocals and lyrics of love and heartache.
Gilla Band – Most Normal (Rough Trade)
The third album from this Dublin band (and the first since changing their name from Girl Band) is a potent set of adventurous noise-rock with a warped, distortion-drenched sound combining effects-laden guitars and keyboards and sometimes-relentless rhythms with volatile vocals and surreal lyrics laced with sarcasm and dark humor.
Will Sheff – Nothing Special (ATO)
The debut album under his own name from the LA-based Okkervil River frontman is an impeccably crafted set of reflective folk-pop with intricately textured, patiently unfolding songs combining guitars, piano, strings and more with lyrics of loss, self-discovery and rebirth.
The Orielles – Tableau (Heavenly)
This British trio’s third full-length is an adventurous double-album set featuring a more experimental and sometimes electronic-oriented sound with often-shapeshifting songs incorporating elements of dream-pop, post-punk, prog, ambient, psych-pop, post-rock and other styles.
Sloan – Steady (Yep Roc)
This veteran Toronto-via-Halifax, Nova Scotia band’s 13th regular studio album is another sharply crafted set of hook-filled power-pop and related styles, combining jangly/fuzzy guitars, energetic rhythms and occasional strings with sparkling melodies. As usual for Sloan, all four members of the band contributed songs and lead vocals.
Winter – What Kind of Blue Are You? (Bar/None)
The fourth Winter album from LA-based artist Samira Winter is a well-crafted set of shoegazerish dream-pop with fuzzy guitars, ethereal vocals and wistful melodies.
Skullcrusher – Quiet the Room (Secretly Canadian)
The debut Skullcrusher full-length from LA-based artist Helen Ballentine is an evocative set of spectral ambient folk-pop combining acoustic guitar, atmospheric synths, piano, ambient samples and occasional strings, banjo and other instrumentation with ethereal vocals and lyrics revolving around memories of childhood.
Maajo – Water of Life (Wonderwheel Recordings)
This Afro-Finnish band’s third album is a well-crafted blend of various African influences with breezy Balearic electronic grooves, combining atmospheric synths, gently ringing guitars, kora, balafon and percolating rhythms with soulful harmonies.
Louis Cole – Quality Over Opinion (Brainfeeder)
The fourth regular studio album from this LA multi-instrumentalist (and regular collaborator with Thundercat, Genevieve Artadi and Sam Gendel, among other notables) is a double album offering a playful, adventurous blend of jazz, funk, R&B, various electronic styles and more, combining intricate arrangements with irreverent lyrics.
Toledo – How It Ends (Grand Jury)
This Brooklyn duo’s debut album is a well-crafted set of gauzy, folk-tinged dream-pop combining jangly acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, strings and more with gentle harmonies, wistful melodies and lyrics revolving around past traumas, resilience and renewal.
Wesli – Tradisyon (Cumbancha)
This Montreal-based Haitian-Canadian artist’s sixth album is a buoyant blend of various Haitian musical styles ranging from traditional Yoruba chants to rara and other Haitian dance styles, combining guitars, horns, violin, cello and more with a variety of traditional Haitian instrumentation.
The Reds, Pinks & Purples – They Only Wanted Your Soul (Slumberland)
The latest The Reds, Pinks & Purples release from San Francisco artist Glenn Donaldson combines a rare early four-song EP with six additional songs for a solid set of folk-tinged dream-pop with jangly guitars, atmospheric keyboards, hushed vocals and bittersweet melodies.
Batida – Neon Colonialismo (Crammed Discs)
The latest Batida album (and first in six years) from Angolan-born, Lisbon-bred producer (aka Pedro Coqueñao) is a vibrant, dance-friendly blend of Kuduro, Afro-House and other fusions of African and electronic music. The album features an impressive list of collaborators including Branko, DJ Dolores, Bonga and other notables.
Palm – Nicks and Grazes (Saddle Creek)
This Philadelphia band’s latest release is an adventurous set of experimental, noise-addled rock and psych-pop with shapeshifting songs combining unconventional rhythms, colorful synths, treated guitars and other instrumentation with often sing-song vocals.
Mightmare – Cruel Liars (Kill Rock Stars)
Mightmare is the solo project of non-binary artist Sarah Shook (of the Chapel Hill band Sarah Shook & The Disarmers). Their debut album as Mightmare is a solid set of brooding rock combining haunting guitars and moody keyboards with lyrics revolving around the ups and downs of love.
Pete Astor – Time on Earth (Tapete)
The latest solo album from this veteran British artist (and former frontman for Creation Records bands The Loft and The Weather Prophets) is an often-poignant set of autumnal, folk-tinged indie-pop with jangly guitars, piano, organ, horns, vibraphone and other instrumentation with bittersweet melodies and lyrics of loss, aging, death, faith and memory.
Mt. Fog – Spells of Silence (self-released)
The second album from this Seattle artist is a well-crafted set of psych-tinged electro-pop with shimmering synths, violin, often-propulsive rhythms, ethereal, layered vocals, introspective lyrics and haunting melodies.
Kutiman – Open (Siyal Music)
The latest release from this Israeli multi-instrumentalist (aka Ophir Kutiel) is a groove-driven blend of cinematic psych-rock, funk, soul and jazz along with various African and Middle Eastern influences. Frequent Kutiman collaborator Elran Dekel provides vocals on five songs.
Sault – 10 (Forever Living Originals)
The latest release from this mysterious British group led by producer Inflo features just one song that’s 10 minutes and 10 seconds long with vocals by Chronixx. The song features three parts, beginning with a loping reggae groove before transitioning into a soulful piano ballad, which leads to a spoken-word interlude before wrapping up with gentle acoustic soul-folk.
Dr. John – Things Happen That Way (Rounder)
This posthumous release from the New Orleans legend was recorded during the final few months of his life before he passed away from heart disease in 2019. It’s a low-key, beautifully crafted set of autumnal songs blending New Orleans R&B with country and gospel.
Fazerdaze – Break! EP (section1)
The latest release from this New Zealand artist (aka Amelia Murray) is a well-crafted set of bedroom pop inflected at times with grunge-pop, electronic dance-pop and other styles.