New Music Reviews (05/02)

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 Toro y Moi, Let’s Eat Grandma, Poppy Ajudha, and more.

Toro y Moi – Mahal (Dead Oceans)
The seventh Toro y Moi album from South Carolina-raised, Bay Area-based artist Chaz Bear hearkens back to a more guitar-oriented sound while still containing plenty of sonic experimentation with one of his more diverse blends of psych-pop, funk, jazz and other styles. The album combines often-adventurous guitar work, atmospheric keyboards and mostly breezy rhythms with sunny melodies and lyrics revolving around isolation and longing for connection. Special guests include Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Salami Rose Joe Louis, The Mattson 2, Neon Indian’s Alan Palomo and other notables. — DY

Let’s Eat Grandma – Two Ribbons (Transgressive)
This British duo’s third album is a well-crafted set featuring shimmering synth-pop on the album’s first half, while the latter part focuses more on acoustic-oriented folk-pop. Whatever the style, it’s all beautifully produced, with the songs revolving around personal, often-poignant themes of love, friendship, change, loss and mortality. — DY

Poppy Ajudha – The Power in Us (self-released)
This London-based St. Lucian-British artist’s debut album is an expansive, beautifully crafted blend of R&B, funk, hip hop, rock, jazz and more, combining a varied, genre-bending sound with her powerful, slightly husky vocals and pointed lyrics ranging from politically-charged critiques aimed at patriarchal oppression and colonialism to a couple more personal songs of self-care. — DY

Girlpool – Forgiveness (ANTI-)
This LA duo continues to musically evolve on their fourth album, a well-crafted set of moody dream-pop with a more atmospheric and electronic-leaning sound combining hazy synths, guitars and occasional glitchy electronic textures with ethereal vocals and lyrics revolving around self-forgiveness and acceptance. — DY

Oumou Sangaré – Timbuktu (World Circuit)
This veteran Malian artist’s ninth album is an impressive set blending Malian Wassoulou music with blues, rock and other styles. The album’s cross-cultural sound combines kamele ngoni and other traditional West African instrumentation along with dobro, slide guitar, synths and more with her powerful vocals. — DY

Melody’s Echo Chamber – Emotional Eternal (Domino)
The third album from this French artist (aka Melody Prochet) is a well-crafted set of psych-tinged dream-pop with densely produced, sometimes shapeshifting songs combining fuzzy guitars, keyboards, woodwinds and more with her breathy vocals and haunting melodies. — DY

Diane Coffee – With People (Polyvinyl)
The fourth Diane Coffee album from LA-based former Foxygen member Shaun Fleming is a diverse set of folk-tinged pop ranging from bright jangle-pop and breezy folk-rock to sweeping orchestral pop, stomping glam-rock and acoustic-oriented ballads, combining a warm, often-sunny sound with wistful melodies and lyrics of love, trauma and resilience. — DY

Şatellites – Şatellites (Batov)
A loving homage to the glorious and colorful legacy of Turkish psychedelic funk music, the debut album from this Haifa, Israel-based six-member band is a brilliant set of vibrant, mesmerizing, Middle Eastern grooves that balance intoxicating instrumentals with soaring vocal-laced tracks. — AR

Tomberlin – i don’t know who needs to hear this... (Saddle Creek)
The second full-length from Brooklyn-based artist Sarah Beth Tomberlin is a well-crafted set of slow-burning, atmospheric folk-pop with an often-spare, lowkey sound combining acoustic and occasional electric guitars, synths, piano, woodwinds and more with her mellifluous vocals, melancholy melodies and intimate lyrics of self-care and acceptance. — DY

Alai K – Kila Mara (On The Corner)
The debut album from this Kenya-born, Berlin-based percussionist, vocalist, DJ, producer, and “musical witchdoctor” is a vibrant set of kinetic, immersive, techno-influenced global grooves distinguished by his mesmerizing percussive workouts, weaving polyrhythmic beats, and jubilant complimentary vocals. — AR

Sofi Tukker – Wet Tennis (Ultra)
This Florida-based duo’s second album is a solid set of buoyant electro-pop inflected with a diverse range of styles from around the globe, combining bright synths and a variety of other colorful instrumentation with propulsive rhythms and often-celebratory lyrics. — DY

Bodysync – Radio Active (self-released)
Bodysync is a new collaborative project between veteran electronic producers Ryan Hemsworth and Giraffage. Their debut album is a colorful, carefree, addictive set of joyful dancefloor jams that blend classic house influences with energetic R&B flourishes. Nite Jewel, Tinahse, Daniela Andrade, and Devin Morrison make standout guest vocal appearances. — AR

SO.Crates – Malcolm After Mecca (bedroom suck)
SO.Crates is a Melbourne-based duo comprised of producer Skomes and California-born MC/poet Cazeaux O.S.L.O. Their debut full-length album is a strong set of conscious hip-hop full of warm, jazzy, boom-bap beats and insightful lyrics that recalls the golden legacy of Solesides/Quannum's turn-of-the-millennium catalog. — AR

Ebi Soda – Honk If You’re Sad (Tru Thoughts)
This British band’s second album is a visceral, adventurous blend of jazz with funk, trap, drill, post-punk, dub, various electronic styles and more. — DY

Royksopp – Profound Mysteries (Dog Triumph/PIAS)
This veteran Norwegian duo’s sixth album (and first in eight years) is a well-crafted set of dark electro-pop combining moody synths, piano and propulsive rhythms with haunting melodies and occasional guest vocalists. — DY

S. Carey – Break Me Open (Jagjaguwar)
The fourth S. Carey solo album from Eau Claire, WI-based artist (and Bon Iver member) Sean Carey is a well-crafted set of ambient chamber-folk with a delicate sound combining piano, strings, horns, guitar, synths, electronic loops and textures and glacial rhythms with his ethereal vocals and emotionally vulnerable lyrics of fatherhood, lost love and mortality. — DY

Finn – Everything Is Alright (2 B Real)
Following a steady run of brilliant EPs over the past 8 years, Manchester, UK-based DJ/producer Finn McCorry delivers his debut full-length album and it's a fun set of high-energy, loop-heavy house grooves that finds the joy in pairing propulsive hypnotic rhythms with effective vocal samples. — AR

The Head and the Heart – Every Shade of Blue (Warner)
This Seattle band’s fifth album is a more widescreen and fully produced take on the band’s wistful folk-pop, featuring a dramatic, often-anthemic sound with rich harmonies, soaring melodies and lyrics of emotional struggle, isolation, resilience and celebration. — DY

Sarah MK – Wax & Gold (self-released)
This Montreal-based artist’s second album is a well-crafted set of warm, soulful R&B with glowing keyboards, horns, rhythm guitar and more accompanying her smooth, understated vocals and lyrics of love, longing and resilience. — DY

Branko – OBG (Enchufada)
The third solo album from Lisbon's Branko (aka João Barbosa, co-founder of Enchufada Records and a driving force behind the seminal global trio Buraka Som Sistema) is another stellar set of seductive global electronic rhythms that beautifully fuses Afro-Latin house grooves with rich R&B-tinted atmospherics. — AR

Lola Kirke – Lady For Sale (Third Man)
This LA-based artist’s second album is a solid set of ‘80-steeped country-pop combining bright synths, light guitars, pedal steel, driving, dance-friendly rhythms and often-sunny melodies with her breathy vocals and lyrics of love and heartache. — DY

Missy D – Case Départ (Birthday Cake)
This Vancouver, BC artist’s latest EP is a potent blend of hip hop and R&B, combining bright keyboards and propulsive beats with sometimes rapped, sometimes sung bilingual lyrics ranging from reminiscing about childhood to depicting grief, homesickness and longing. — DY

Frog Eyes – The Bees (Paper Bag)
The latest album from this reunited Toronto-via-Victoria, B.C. band led by Carey Mercer is a solid set of eccentric, psych-tinged prog-pop. — DY

Lightning in a Twilight Hour – Overwintering (Elefant)
The second album from this London-based band led by former Field Mice and Trembling Blue Stars frontman Bobby Wratten is a well-crafted set of bittersweet folk-pop combining acoustic and electric guitars, woodwinds, keyboards, soft harmonies, melancholy lyrics and wistful melodies. — DY

Francis of Delirium – The Funhouse EP (Dalliance)
The latest EP from this Luxembourg-based duo comprised of Vancouver, B.C and Seattle expatriates is a fine four-song set ranging from shoegazer dream-pop to grungy, ‘90s-steeped rock and driving post-punk. — DY

CARRTOONS – Homegrown (Wichita)
The second CARRTOONS album from New York-based producer/multi-instrumentalist Ben Carr is a buoyant, beat-driven blend of R&B, jazz and hip hop, with many of the songs featuring guest vocalists. — DY

Flock of Dimes – Head of Roses: Phantom Limb (Sub Pop)
The latest Flock of Dimes release from Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner is a companion volume to her previous album (2021’s Head of Roses) featuring demo recordings, outtakes, cover songs and live recordings made around the same time as Head of Roses. — DY

Coco Em – Kilumi EP (InFiné)
The debut release from this Nairobi, Kenya-based DJ, electronic producer, and filmmaker is a promising set of powerful club-influenced Afro-futuristic pop that pairs her hard-hitting beats that touch upon amapiano, Afro-house, kuduro, and trap with guest vocals from fellow Kenyan artists. — AR

Faye Webster – Car Therapy Sessions EP (Secretly Canadian)
The latest release from this Atlanta artist is a five-song EP featuring orchestral versions of four songs from her previous albums along with one new song. — DY

Overmono – Cash Romantic EP (XL Recordings)
The latest EP from this British electronic production duo is another strong showcase of their magnetic, bass-heavy, club-primed rhythms that's informed by their love of hard-edged '90s techno, rave, breakbeat, electro, bass, and trance styles, yet they sneak in some more low-key surprises here with the hazy dancehall-inflected R&B of "Gfortune" and the brooding low-slung tempos on "Phosycon." — AR

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