New Music Reviews (06/13)

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 Grace Ives, Vieux Farka Touré, Real Lies, and more.

Grace Ives – Janky Star (True Panther/Harvest)
This Brooklyn-based artist’s second full-length is a strong set of intricately constructed electro-pop combining angular synths and adventurous, off-kilter beats with vulnerable lyrics of addiction, sobriety, self-acceptance and self-preservation. — DY

Vieux Farka Touré – Les Racines (World Circuit)
The sixth solo album from this Malian guitarist (and son of the late Ali Farka Touré) finds him returning to his musical roots with a potent set of northern Malian Songhai music (also known as desert blues), combining stinging guitar lines, keyboards, kora, ngoni, calabash, flute and more with hypnotic rhythms and call-and-response vocals. — DY

Real Lies – Lad Ash (UNREAL)
The second full-length album from this London duo of singer/lyricist Kev Kharas and producer Patrick King is a brilliant set of addictive, cinematic, nostalgia-soaked electronic-pop that fuses Kharas' distinctive spoken-word vocal delivery with richly textured rhythms that sway from cerebral techno jams to gauzy post-rave soundscapes. At times reminiscent of The Streets' iconic debut album while also containing shades of Junior Boys and Erlend Øye's beloved solo album Unrest, Lad Ash revels in the duo's ability to lyrically reminisce over kinetic beats. — AR

ELUCID – I Told Bessie (Backwoodz Studioz)
The third solo album from this New York rapper/producer (and one-half of the duo Armand Hammer) is an impressive set of adventurous hip hop combining a variety of woozy, psych-tinged beats from an impressive list of producers including The Alchemist, The Lasso and other notables with his punchy delivery and densely constructed rhymes. — DY

Joyce Manor – 40 oz. to Fresno (Epitaph)
This Long Beach, CA band’s sixth album is a strong set of punkish power-pop with buzzing guitars, punchy rhythms, often-sardonic lyrics and catchy song hooks. — DY

Wilma Vritra – Grotto (Bad Taste)
The second full-length album from this collaborative project from Los Angeles-based rapper and Odd Future co-founder Pyramid Vitra alongside UK producer Wilma Archer (fka Slime) is another impressive set of adventurous hip-hop that pairs Pyramid Vitra's cool West Coast flow with Wilma Archer's richly-textured beats that boast a soulful, classic, orchestral flair. — AR

The Range – Mercury (Domino)
The fourth album (and first in six years) from this Vermont-via-Brooklyn producer (aka James Hinton) is a moody blend of rave and grime-influenced electronic grooves. Like his last album (2016’s Potential), this one features samples of vocalists taken from YouTube, Instagram and Periscope. — DY

Ural Thomas & The Pain – Dancing Dimensions (Bella Union)
The latest album from this veteran Portland artist and his band is a well-crafted set of psych-tinged soul and funk combining shimmering keyboards, fuzzy guitars and more with his soulful vocals and lyrics of love, reminiscing and desire. — DY

The Dream Syndicate – Ultraviolet Battle Hymns and True Confessions (Fire)
The latest album from this veteran LA-based band led by Steve Wynn is a strong set of expansive psych-rock combining intricately textured guitars, glowing keyboards and occasional sax, trumpet and more with driving, sometimes-motorik rhythms and hypnotic melodies. — DY

Raw Poetic – Laminated Skies (Def Pressé)
Produced entirely by his longtime friend and collaborator Damu The Fudgemunk, the 6th solo album from Virginia rapper Raw Poetic (aka Jason Moore, also a member of the underappreciated late 2000s trio Panacea) is a sharp set of expansive underground hip-hop with an organic approach and an adventurous sonic palette that often recalls the early discographies of Zion I and Blackalicious. — AR

Nu Genea – Bar Mediterraneo (NG)
Recently altering their name from Nu Guinea to Nu Genea, the third album from this Naples, Italy-based production duo (Massimo Di Lena & Lucio Aquilina) is another knockout set of timeless, global, infectious funk, disco, and jazz that's bursting with vibrant instrumentation, loose rhythms, and groovy supplemental vocals. — AR

LIFE – North East Coastal Town (The Liquid Label)
This British band’s third album finds them paying homage to their hometown of Hull with a solid set of spiky post-punk with angular guitars, punchy rhythms, sardonic vocals and lyrics of connection and belonging. — DY

The Inflorescence – Remember What I Look Like (Kill Rock Stars)
This young San Diego band’s debut album is a potent, ‘90s-steeped blend of pop-punk, grunge and other styles, combining buzzing guitars and energetic rhythms with anthemic song hooks and emotive lyrics revolving around relationships and identity. — DY

Ben Zaidi – Acre of Salt (Nettwerk)
This Seattle artist’s latest release is a well-crafted album of introspective folk-pop inflected with R&B, electro-pop and other styles, combining a hushed, often-spare sound with lyrics of change, mortality and identity. — DY

Michael Rault – Michael Rault (Wick/Daptone)
This Canadian-born, LA-based artist’s latest album is a solid, ‘70s-steeped blend of psych-pop, glam, prog-rock and other styles, combining jangly guitars, shimmering keyboards and other instrumentation with his high-pitched vocals, wistful melodies and lyrics of heartache and moving on. — DY

Precocious Neophyte – Home in the Desert (self-released)
This South Korean band’s debut album is a solid set of shoegazer dream-pop with fuzzy guitars, ethereal vocals and soaring melodies. — DY

Small Paul – Strangeland EP (Den Tapes)
The debut EP from this Seattle band comprised of Kevin Murphy of The Moondoggies, Chris King and Malcolm Roberts of Chris King & the Gutterballs and Seth McDonald of All Star Opera is a potent four-song set of psych-tinged rock with three-part harmonies, wistful melodies and lyrics of movement and change. — DY

Shearwater – The Great Awakening (Polyborus)
The latest album (and first in six years) from this Austin band led by Jonathan Meiburg is an evocative set of atmospheric art-rock with an often-spare sound combining guitars, keyboards, strings and occasional ambient samples with haunting melodies and lyrics revolving around hope and hopelessness. — DY

Ayala (IT) – Views (Batov)
The debut full-length album from this Italian multi-instrumentalist, producer, and DJ is a solid set of global funk grooves that taps into his deep love for Afrobeat and disco in loose, spacey, hypnotic fashion. — AR

Rusty – The Resurrection of Rust EP (Capitol)
Rusty was a short-lived Liverpool-based duo comprised of Elvis Costello (then known as Declan MacManus) and Allan Mayes (who now lives and regularly plays around Austin, TX). The group broke up in 1973, but they’ve now reunited and recorded their debut EP. Featuring two Rusty originals dating back to their original incarnation along with four songs they regularly covered back then, the EP is a warm, soulful set of folk-tinged pub-rock. — DY

Raz & Afla – Mama Weja EP (Mawimbi)
Raz & Afla is a London-based collaboration between electronic producer Raz Olsher and Ghanaian percussionist and vocalist Afla Sackey. Following a run of singles over the past two years, Mama Weja signals their debut EP of vibrant Afro-house grooves full of colorful rhythms, rich instrumentation, and joyful vocal harmonies. — AR

Noriko Shakti – Reunion (Saikai 再会) EP (SXN)
The second EP from this Tokyo-raised producer, composer, and tabla player is a promising set of global electronic grooves that blends heady beats with traditional Indian instrumentation in a fashion that brings to mind a contemporary spin on the late 1990s and early 2000s output of culture-blending artists such as Tabla Beat Science, Talvin Singh, and Karsh Kale. — AR

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