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 PVA, Zap Mama, Archers of Loaf, and more.
PVA – Blush (Ninja Tune)
This London band’s debut full-length is a magnetic blend of dark electro-pop, post-punk, industrial and techno, combining pulsing synths, angular guitars and propulsive rhythms with Ella Harris’s deadpan vocals and hypnotic song hooks.
Zap Mama - Odyssée (self-released)
The 10th Zap Mama album from Belgian-Congolese artist Marie Daulne is a soulful, beautifully crafted set blending rumba, Afirobeats and other African styles with R&B and more.
Archers of Loaf – Reason in Decline (Merge)
The first album in 24 years (and fifth overall) from this North Carolina band led by Eric Bachmann is a sharply crafted set of indie-rock ranging from urgent, anthemic rockers to reflective, atmospheric ballads, with the songs alternating between personal lyrics of love, isolation and unsparing self-reflection and more politically charged ones aimed at war profiteering, misinformation and racism.
Dry Cleaning – Stumpwork (4AD)
This London band’s second album is a sharply crafted set of moody, psych-tinged post-punk and slacker rock combining inventive guitar riffs and atmospheric keyboards with Florence Shaw’s conversational, mostly spoken vocals and wry, observational lyrics reflecting the absurdities of modern life.
Frankie Cosmos – Inner World Peace (Sub Pop)
The fifth studio album from this New York band led by Greta Kline is a well-crafted set of warm, psych-tinged indie-pop combining fuzzy/jangly guitars, keyboards, occasional sax and more with Kline’s lilting vocals and lyrics of change and seeking contentment.
Arctic Monkeys – The Car (Domino)
This British band’s seventh album is a strong set of cinematic orchestral pop inflected at times with soul, funk and other styles. The album’s often-melancholy sound combines.lush string arrangements, guitars, piano, synths and more with Alex Turner’s falsetto croon and evocative, often-cryptic lyrics revolving around love and longing.
Nick Hakim – Cometa (ATO)
This New York-based artist’s third album is a potent set of psych-tinged soul combining a hazy, atmospheric sound with dreamy melodies and lyrics of love, desire and connection. Special guests include Alex G, Helado Negro, Arto Lindsay and other notables.
Loshh – akọle EP (Don’t Sleep)
This Nigerian-born, London-based artist’s second EP is a potent blend of Afrobeat, highlife, R&B, jazz and more, combining percolating rhythms and searing keyboards with his grainy, commanding vocals and intoxicating melodies.
Knifeplay – Animal Drowning (Topshelf)
The second album from this Philadelphia band led by TJ Strohmer is a potent blend of heavy shoegazer psych-rock and atmospheric slow-core, combining jangly acoustic and distorted electric guitars, keyboards, strings, saxophone and more with soaring melodies and dark lyrics of loss and living in dystopian times.
The Soft Pink Truth – Is It Going to Get Any Deeper Than This? (Thrill Jockey)
The seventh album from the solo project of Drew Daniel (who’s also one-half of the Baltimore electronic duo Matmos) is a potent set of hypnotic electronic grooves incorporating elements of disco, house, ambient, jazz and other styles. The album’s sound features a variety of live instrumentation including piano, guitars, horns, woodwinds, strings, harp, percussion and more, along with occasional guest vocals from Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner, Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart, Angel Deradoorian and other notables.
Brutus – Unison Life (Sargent House)
This Belgian trio’s third album is a potent set of post-hardcore inflected with metal, shoegaze, punk, post-rock and other styles, with a heavy, dynamic sound featuring crunchy, distorted guitars, muscular rhythms and drummer/vocalist Stefanie Mannaerts’ intense, raspy vocals and angst-fueled lyrics.
Arima Ederra – An Orange Colored Day (Arima’s Lab)
The latest album from this LA-based artist of Ethiopian heritage is a well-crafted set dreamy, folk-tinged R&B inflected at times with reggae, jazz and other styles, combining a gentle, atmospheric sound with ethereal vocals and lyrics of love, loss, change and resilience.
Hagop Tchaparian – Bolts (Text)
This London producer’s debut album is a magnetic blend of techno, ambient and other electronic styles with zurna, qanun and other traditional Armenian/Middle Eastern instrumentation, along with field recordings from around the world.
Mykki Blanco – Stay Close to Music (Transgressive)
This LA-based artist’s latest album is an expansive blend of hip hop, R&B, electro-pop and other styles, combining an atmospheric, genre-blurring sound with lyrics of identity and resilience. The album’s impressive guest lineup includes Saul Williams, Kelsey Lu, ANOHNI, Michael Stipe, Devendra Banhart, Ah-Mer-Ah-Su, Jonsi and other notables.
Robyn Hitchcock – Shufflemania! (Yep Roc)
This veteran Nashville-based British artist’s latest album (and first in five years) is a smartly crafted set of hook-filled psych-pop with a warm sound combining a variety of electric and acoustic instrumentation with often-surreal lyrics. Special guests include Brendan Benson, Johnny Marr, Sean Ono Lennon and other notables.
Bibio – BIB10 (Warp)
The 10th Bibio album from British producer Stephen Wilkinson is a solid set combining lightly propulsive beats inflected with disco, R&B, funk, yacht-rock and other styles with gentle, often folk-tinged guitars, bright synths and breezy melodies.
Whitmer Thomas – The Older I Get The Funnier I Was (Hardly Art)
This LA-based comedian/musician’s second album is a well-crafted set of power-pop, electro-pop, folk-pop and other styles. Produced by Melinda Duterte (aka Jay Som), the album combines a varied, hook-filled sound with lyrics depicting the uncertainties and traumas of childhood.
Cumulus – Something Brighter (Share It Music)
The third Cumulus full-length from Bellingham-based artist Alexandra Lockhart is a well-crafted set of wistful indie-pop combining guitars, keyboards, occasional strings and other instrumentation with bittersweet melodies and lyrics of love, hope and gratitude.
Shutups – I Can’t Eat Nearly As Much As I Want to Vomit (Kill Rock Stars)
This Oakland band’s second album is a fine set of often-politically charged indie-punk with volatile guitars, atmospheric synths, punchy rhythms and lyrics of living in dystopian times.
Lincoln Barr – Forfeit the Prize (Two Roads)
The second solo album from the Columbia, SC-based former frontman for Seattle band Red Jacket Mine is a well-crafted set of jazz-tinged torch-pop inflected at times with psych-pop, dub and other styles, with accompaniment by a stellar lineup including Calexico’s John Convertino, Keith Lowe, Daniel Walker and Johnny Sangster (who also produced the record), along with guest appearances from Kelly Hogan, Nora O’Connor and Andrew Joslyn.
Brian Eno – FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE (Verve)
This veteran British musician’s 29th album (which is also his first release of vocal-based songs since 2005’s Another Day on Earth) is a reflective, deeply mournful set of haunting ambient music with a bleak, glacial sound combining droning synths, shimmering electronic textures, occasional strings, guitars and other instrumentation with lyrics of environmental devastation.
Twain – Noon (Keeled Scales)
The second Twain album from former Low Anthem multi-instrumentalist Mat Davidson is a well-crafted set of gentle folk-pop with an often-spare sound combining guitars, keyboards, strings and more with his delicate vocals and lyrics of love, change and renewal.
Rival Consoles – Now Is (Erased Tapes)
The latest Rival Consoles release from London electronic musician Ryan Lee West is a reflective set of often-melancholy electronic grooves with moody synths, occasional acoustic instruments and spare rhythms.
Talk Show – Touch the Ground EP (Missing Piece)
This London-based band’s second EP is a sharp set of dance-friendly post-punk. Produced by Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard and Al Doyle, the EP combines buzzing synths, angular guitars, propulsive rhythms and half-sung/half-spoken vocals.