New Music Reviews (04/11)

Album Reviews

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 Wet Leg, Father John Misty, Romero, and more.

Wet Leg – Wet Leg (Domino) 
This British duo’s debut album is a fun, sharply crafted set of playful post-punk with bursts of angular guitars, driving rhythms, occasional keyboards, deadpan vocals and often-sardonic lyrics depicting the absurdities and annoyances of love and life as a young adult during these tumultuous times.

Father John Misty – Chloe and the Next 20th Century (Sub Pop)
The fifth Father John Misty album from LA-via-Seattle artist Josh Tillman is a beautifully crafted blend of cinematic orchestral pop, swing jazz, ‘70s folk-rock, bossa nova and other vintage styles. Produced by longtime collaborator Jonathan Wilson, the album combines a lushly arranged blend of strings, horns, woodwinds, piano and more with his gentle croon and lyrics of love in a world falling apart.

Romero – Turn It On! (Feel It)
This Melbourne band’s debut album is a strong set of punkish power-pop reminiscent at times of Sheer Mag, early Blondie and The Strokes, combining fiery dual lead guitars, energetic rhythms and summery song hooks with Alanna Oliver’s soulful, powerhouse vocals and lyrics of love and desire.

Syd – Broken Hearts Club (Columbia)
The second solo album from this LA-based artist (and frontwoman for The Internet) is an excellent set of expansive R&B ranging from slinky, funk-inflected pop to pillowy, atmospheric ballads, combining a plush sound with her hushed, silky vocals and personal lyrics depicting a relationship from the beginning joys of love and desire to the ending depths of heartache and devastation. Special guests include Kehlani, Smino and Lucky Daye.

Orville Peck – Bronco (Columbia)
The second Orville Peck album from this masked Canadian artist features a more cinematic and fully fleshed out sound for his Orbisonesque take on country-rock, combining atmospheric guitars, soaring strings, pedal steel, banjo, harmonica and more with his deep croon and impassioned lyrics of love and desire.

Kae Tempest – The Line is a Curve (American/Republic)
This London-based spoken-word artist’s fourth album is their most personal work to date. Produced by Dan Carey, the album features moody, beat-driven soundscapes combining a variety of acoustic and electronic instrumentation with evocative lyrics of love, family, anxiety, identity and growth.

The Linda Lindas – Growing Up (Epitaph)
The debut full-length from this young LA band (whose members are all between the ages of 11 and 17) is a promising set of hook-filled punk-pop with buzzing guitars, energetic rhythms, buoyant harmonies and lyrics ranging from celebrating a cat to taking down racist, sexist boys.

Daniel Rossen – You Belong There (Warp)
The debut solo album from this New Mexico-based multi-instrumentalist/vocalist (and Grizzly Bear member) is an impressive set of baroque folk-pop incorporating elements of neo-classical, free jazz, bossa nova and other styles, with intricate, often shape-shifting arrangements combining his labyrinthine guitar work with woodwinds, cello, piano and other instrumentation with his airy vocals and lyrics of isolation, nature and renewal.

Vince Staples – Ramona Park Broke My Heart (Blacksmith/Motown)
This Long Beach, CA rapper’s fifth album pays tribute to the Long Beach neighborhood where he grew up. It’s an often-powerful set of reflective hip hop, combining often-spare and moody hip hop beats with his trenchant, clear-eyed rhymes of love, family, trauma and resilience.

Calexico – El Mirador (ANTI-)
The 10th studio album from this veteran Tucson-bred duo now living in Boise and El Paso is a beautifully crafted, cinematic blend of psych-tinged desert rock with mariachi, cumbia and other Latin styles. Special guests include Gaby Moreno, Jairo Zavala, Sam Beam and other notables.

Alabaster dePlume – Gold: Go Forward in the Courage of Your Love (International Anthem)
This British saxophonist/poet’s second album for International Anthem is an adventurous blend of spiritual jazz and spoken word incorporating elements of dub, folk and other styles, combining an often-warm and exploratory sound with his hushed vocals and lyrics of self-care and resilience.

Christian Lee Hutson – Quitters (ANTI-)
This LA artist’s fourth album is a sharply crafted set of understated folk-pop reminiscent at times of Elliott Smith. Co-produced by Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst, the album combines acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, strings, brass and other instrumentation with his hushed vocals and sharply crafted, conversational and often black humor-laced lyrics of down-and-out lives.

Jack White – Fear of the Dawn (Third Man)
The first of two albums planned for this year, the fourth solo album from the Nashville-based former frontman for The White Stripes is his hardest-rocking solo release, while still carrying forward the more experimental, anything-goes approach of his last album (2018’s Boarding House Reach) with often shape-shifting songs featuring a dizzying array of effects-laden guitars, playful keyboards, samples and more.

Lucius – Second Nature (Mom+Pop)
The fourth album (and first in six years) from this LA-via-Brooklyn band led by Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig is an ‘80s-steeped blend of rhythm-driven dance-pop and airy synth-pop ballads. Co-produced by Brandi Carlile and Dave Cobb, the album combines bright synths, often-propulsive rhythms and buoyant melodies with personal lyrics of heartache, loss and rebirth.

Arre! Arre! – We Ride the Universe (PNKSLM)
This Swedish band’s third album is a potent set of riot grrrl-influenced garage-punk inflected with post-punk, ‘60s girl-group pop and other styles, combining fuzzy guitars and energetic rhythms with lyrics revolving around female motorcycle gangs.

Renata Zeiguer – Picnic in the Dark (Northern Spy)
This New York artist’s second album is a well-crafted set of psych-tinged dream-pop inflected with bossa nova, folk-pop and other styles, combining shimmering guitars and synths, strings and occasional other instrumentation with her ethereal vocals and lyrics of healing, renewal and self-actualization.

Proper. – The Great American Novel (Father/Daughter)
This Brooklyn-based trio’s third album is a solid set of expansive, emotive indie-rock inflected with post-hardcore, metal, folk-pop and other styles. Produced by Bartees Strange, the album features a variety of sometimes shape-shifting songs with often politically charged lyrics aimed at inequality and racism.

Good Looks – Bummer Year (Keeled Scales)
This Austin-based band’s debut mini-album is a promising seven-song set of folk-tinged indie-rock combining shimmering guitars and wistful melodies with sharply crafted lyrics ranging from self-care and connection to equality and class solidarity.

Homeschool – Book II EP (KRO)
The second Homeschool EP from Brooklyn-based artist (and former Active Bird Community member) Tom Agustino is a well-crafted six-song set ranging from anthemic indie-rock to wistful folk-pop.

Pendant – Harp (Saddle Creek)
The second Pendant album from LA-via-Oakland artist Chris Adams is a well-crafted blend of house, breakbeat, hip hop and shoegazerish indie-pop, featuring a moody, rhythm-driven sound combining fuzzy synths with lyrics of loss and mortality.

Field School – Hey Satellite EP (Small Craft Advisory)
The second Field School EP from Olympia-based, former Math & Physics Club frontman Charles Bert is a potent five-song set of lo-fi indie-pop with fuzzy/jangly guitars, bittersweet lyrics and wistful melodies.

John Carroll Kirby – Dance Ancestral (Stones Throw)
Produced by Canadian artist Yu Su, this LA-based keyboardist/producer’s latest album is a more electronic-oriented take on his smooth blend of atmospheric jazz, cinematic prog and other styles.

Hiatus Kaiyote – Mood Variant (The Remixes) (Brainfeeder/Ninja Tune)
This Melbourne-based avant-soul band’s latest release features remixes of songs from their previous album (2021’s Mood Valiant) by an impressive assortment of remixers including Nick Hakim, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Mndsgn and other notables.

Claudine Magbag – Better Luck Next Time EP (self-released)
This Seattle artist’s second EP is a well-crafted blend of electro-pop, R&B and folk-pop, combining shimmering keyboards, acoustic and electric guitars, gently propulsive rhythms and lyrics of heartache and resilience.

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