New Music Reviews (07/18)

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 Steve Lacy, Lizzo, Burna Boy, and more.

Steve Lacy – Gemini Rights (L-M/RCA)
The second solo album from this LA-based musician/producer (and guitarist for The Internet) is an impressive set of R&B and funk inflected with psych-rock, jazz, bossa nova, folk-pop and other styles, combining an airy, diverse sound with lyrics revolving around the aftermath of a breakup.

Lizzo – Special (Nice Life/Atlantic)
This Minneapolis artist’s fourth album is a colorful, hook-filled blend of hip hop, R&B, disco, New Wave and more, combining energetic, dance-friendly rhythms and buoyant melodies with playful, positive-minded lyrics of healing and self-affirmation.

Burna Boy – Love, Damini (Atlantic)
The sixth album from this Nigerian artist (aka Damini Ogulu) is a potent blend of Afrobeats, dancehall, reggaeton, hip hop, R&B and other styles, with a groove-driven sound combining hypnotic melodies, percolating rhythms, bright keyboards and a variety of other instrumentation with his velvety vocals and often-introspective lyrics of love and desire.

Lil Silva – Yesterday is Heavy (Nowhere Music)
This Bedford, England producer/vocalist’s debut album is an expansive blend of R&B, hip hop and various electronic styles, combining a variety of beats, moody keyboards, strings and other instrumentation with his delicate falsetto. The album’s impressive guest list includes Sampha, serpentwithfeet, Little Dragon, BADBADNOTGOOD, Charlotte Day Wilson, Skiifall, Ghetts and Elmiene.

black midi – Hellfire (Rough Trade)
This British band’s third album is an adventurous blend of post-punk, prog, jazz, cabaret, orchestral pop and much more, with a wildly careening, sometimes cacophonous sound combining densely layered, rapidly shapeshifting arrangements with volatile vocals and often-sardonic lyrics of people behaving badly.

Momma – Household Name (Polyvinyl)
This Brooklyn duo’s third album is a potent set of ‘90s-steeped grunge-pop with fuzzy guitars, dulcet harmonies, an abundance of catchy song hooks and sometimes tongue-in-cheek lyrics of aspiring rock stardom in an era where there are very few rock stars.

Wu-Lu – Loggerhead (Warp)
The debut full-length from this South London artist (aka Miles Romans-Hopcraft) is an adventurous blend of hip hop, post-punk, various electronic styles and more, combining a dark, often-murky and sometimes claustrophobic sound with lyrics revolving around gentrification, racism and struggle. Special guests include Lea Sen, Lex Amor, Ego Ella May and Black Midi’s Morgan Simpson.

Moor Mother – Jazz Codes (ANTI-)
The latest album from this Philadelphia artist (aka Camae Ayewa) pays tribute to some of her jazz forebears with an atmospheric blend of jazz, hip hop, R&B, spoken word and other styles. A variety of special guests are also featured including Mary Lattimore, Jason Moran, Orion Sun, Melanie Charles and other notables.

Working Men’s Club – Fear Fear (Heavenly)
The second album from this young British band led by Syd Minsky-Sargent is a potent set of dark, dance-friendly post-punk with driving rhythms, shimmering synths, angular guitars and often-dystopian lyrics.

NoSo – Stay Proud of Me (Partisan)
The debut album from this LA-based non-binary Korean-American artist (aka Abby Hwong) is a promising set of atmospheric dream-pop combining celestial synths, gently ringing guitars, piano, strings and more with soaring melodies and evocative lyrics revolving around identity, insecurity, alienation and self-affirmation.

Quinton Brock – My Shadow (Shadow Panther)
This Buffalo, NY artist’s second album is a potent set of indie-rock inflected with surf, punk, R&B, hip hop and other styles, combining often-fiery guitars and driving rhythms with buoyant harmonies and sunny melodies.

Launder – Happening (Ghostly International)
The debut full-length from this LA-based artist (aka John Cudlip) is a promising set of shoegazer psych-rock with fuzzy guitars, soaring choruses and wistful melodies.

beabadoobee – Beatopia (Dirty Hit)
The second album from this Philippines-born, London-raised artist (aka Bea Kristi) is a well-crafted, ‘90s-steeped blend of dream-pop, shoegazer psych-rock, folk-pop, grunge, bossa nova and other styles, combining fuzzy/jangly guitars, atmospheric keyboards, lush strings and more with her angelic vocals and wistful melodies.

Metric – Formentera (Metric Music International)
This veteran Canadian band’s eighth album is a fairly diverse set ranging from New Waveish dance-rock to epic, motorik prog and hypnotic indie-pop, with the songs revolving around seeking solace in love and connection during troubled times.

The Deslondes – Ways & Means (New West)
This New Orleans band’s third album (and first in five years) is a well-crafted blend of roots-rock, soul/R&B, folk-rock, country, ‘60s pop, psych-rock and other styles, combining guitars, keyboards, horns, woodwinds, strings, harmonica and more with bittersweet melodies and alternating lead vocals from Riley Downing and Sam Doores.

JayWood – Slingshot (Captured Tracks)
The second full-length from Winnipeg, Manitoba artist Jeremy Haywood-Smith (aka JayWood) is a moody blend of atmosphereic psych-pop, R&B, funk and other styles, combining buoyant rhythms, shimmering keyboards, occasional horns and other instrumentation with lyrics reflecting on identity and growing up.

Gwenno – Tresor (Heavenly)
This Welsh artist’s third album is a well-crafted set of psych-tinged indie-pop with atmospheric guitars and synths, strings, woodwinds, sampled ambient sounds and more accompanying her ethereal vocals and lyrics of nature and motherhood sung almost entirely in Cornish (one song is in Welsh).

Interpol – The Other Side of Make-Believe (Matador)
This New York trio’s seventh album is a more reflective and low-key take on the band’s dark post-punk, combining angular guitars, atmospheric keyboards and mostly midtempo rhythms with Paul Banks’ stately croon and hope-filled lyrics acting as a balm for troubled times.

Katalyst, Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad – Katalyst JID013 (Jazz Is Dead)
The latest volume in Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad’s Jazz Is Dead series finds them collaborating with the young LA collective Katalyst for a seamless blend of jazz, funk, hip hop and R&B.

Stimulator Jones – Round Spiritual Ring (Stones Throw)
The third Stones Throw album from this Virginia artist (aka Sam Lunsford) is a well-crafted blend of R&B, funk, psych-rock and more, combining bright keyboards, occasional searing guitars, buoyant rhythms and lyrics of love and connection.

Naima Bock – Giant Palm (Sub Pop)
The debut album from this British artist of Brazilian and Greek heritage (and former member of Goat Girl) is an adventurous set of atmospheric folk-pop inflected with psych-rock, jazz, prog-pop and other styles, combining electronic textures, acoustic guitars and a variety of orchestral instruments with her serene vocals and lyrics depicting the aftermath of a breakup.

Superorganism – World Wide Pop (Domino)
This London-based band’s second album is a densely produced, sometimes overstuffed set of maximalist indie-pop inflected with hip hop, psych-pop and other styles, combining bright synths and an abundance of quirky samples with auto-tuned vocals and sugary melodies.

Cataldo – Older EP (Reunion Tour)
The latest Cataldo release from Seattle artist Eric Anderson is a well-crafted four-song set of folk-tinged indie-pop with occasional ringing guitars, atmospheric keyboards and sparkling song hooks.

Braxe and Falcon – Step by Step EP (Domino)
These two veteran French dance music DJ/producers collaborated for the first time on this EP of house, disco and yacht-rock grooves with propulsive rhythms, shimmering keyboards and buoyant song hooks. The title song (and EP highlight) features Animal Collective’s Panda Bear on vocals.

Sai Galaxy – Get It As You Move EP (Soundway)
The debut EP from this project spearheaded by Australian multi-instrumentalist Simon Durrington (and featuring musicians from Nigeria, Ghana and Papua New Guinea) is a vibrant four-song set blending disco, West African funk and Afrobeat, combining propulsive rhythms, searing keyboards and punchy horns with a variety of guest vocalists.

Laura Veirs – Found Light (Raven Marching Band Music)
This Portland-based artist’s 12th album is a well-crafted set of intimate folk-pop with an often-spare sound combining acoustic and electric guitars, atmospheric keyboards, woodwinds and other instrumentation with bittersweet melodies and lyrics of renewal and rebirth.

Ozomatli – Marching On (Blue Elan)
This LA-based band’s latest album is a diverse blend of various Latin styles with rock, hip hop, R&B, reggae and more, combining bright keyboards, soaring horns, maracas and more with sunny harmonies and lyrics blending the political and the personal.

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