New Music Reviews (1/23)

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 The Murder Capital, OddiseeJohn Cale, and more. 

The Murder Capital – Gigi's Recovery (Human Season)
This Dublin band’s second album is a more expansive and reflective take on the band’s dark post-punk sound, with a variety of moody, often slow-burning songs combining ringing guitars and atmospheric keyboards with James McGovern’s dramatic croon and lyrics of love, loss, change and resilience. — DY

Oddisee – To What End (Outer Note)
This DC-bred, Brooklyn-based rapper/producer’s latest album is a potent set of hip hop combining warm beats inflected with funk and R&B with his agile delivery and reflective rhymes of love, struggle, motivation and growth. — DY

John Cale – Mercy (Domino)
The latest solo album (and first in ten years) from this legendary co-founder of the Velvet Underground is an impressive set of dark, avant dream-pop combining atmospheric synths, strings, piano and slow-moving, sometimes hip hop-influenced rhythms with his stately crooning and lyrics of loss and mortality. The album’s stellar guest list includes Weyes Blood, Animal Collective, Tei Shi, Laurel Halo, Actress, Sylvan Esso and Fat White Family. — DY

Velvet Negroni – Bulli (4AD)
The third album from this Minneapolis artist (aka Jeremy Nutzman) is a moody blend of R&B, electro-pop, hip hop, psych-pop and other styles, combining a hazy, atmospheric and sometimes-fragmented sound with often-dark, anxiety-fueled lyrics. — DY

Biig Piig – Bubblegum EP (Columbia)
The latest release from this London-based Irish artist (aka Jessica Smyth) is a strong seven-song mixtape of R&B-tinged electro-pop with moody synths, propulsive, sometimes skittering rhythms, breathy vocals, often-melancholy lyrics and bittersweet melodies. — DY

Fran – Leaving (Fire Talk)
The second album from this Chicago artist (aka Maria Jacobson) is a well-crafted set of ‘70s-steeped folk-pop, with a dreamy, sometimes country-tinged sound combining acoustic and electric guitars, strings, woodwinds, piano and more with her warm, lilting vocals and lyrics of love, loss, isolation and connection. — DY

Derya Yıldırım & Grup Şimşek – Dost 2 (Les Disques Bongo Joe)
The third album from Turkish singer, bağlama player and multi-instrumentalist Derya Yıldırım and her accompanying band Grup Şimşek (which translates into "Ocean Lightning and the Thunderbolts," a play on Derya’s surname “Yıldırım”, which means lightning in Turkish) is a stellar set of Anatolian folk music and poetry laced with electrifying grooves, adventurous jazz, 1970s Turkish rock, and a heavy dose of psychedelia. — AR

Ladytron – Time's Arrow (Cooking Vinyl)
This veteran Liverpool-bred band’s seventh album is a solid set of moody, goth-tinged electro-pop with icy, shimmering synths, hypnotic rhythms, haunting vocals and often-sinister melodies. — DY

СОЮЗ / SOYUZ – Force of the Wind (Сила ветра) (Mr Bongo)
The third album from this Minsk, Belarus-based outfit led by composer and singer Alex Chumak is a sublime set of elegant, sophisticated, mesmerizing pop with a timeless folk streak that's heavily inspired by the beauty and eccentricities of classic Brazilian recordings from the 1960s and 1970s. Featuring songs sung in Russian and Portuguese, Force Of The Wind boasts a lush, rich, magnetic instrumental palette that consistently captivates and yields one of 2022's brightest hidden gems. Kate NV and Sessa make guest appearances. — AR

Taylar Elizza Beth & WD4D – Undercover Lovergirl (self-released)
Seattle-bred rapper Taylar Elizza Beth collaborated with Seattle DJ/producer WD4D for this solid set of hip hop combining a variety of moody beats with her smoky, elastic delivery and rhymes of love and resilience. — DY

NO ZU – Heat Beat EP (Chapter Music)
The latest EP from this Melbourne-based disco/funk/groove outfit led by Nicolaas Oogjes marks their first release of original material since their stellar 2016 debut album Afterlife and the first since the passing of vocalist and NO ZU member Daphne Camf. Featuring Daphne's final recordings with the group and named after their own self-billed genre, Heat Beat is another stellar showcase of their addictive sound that's fun, loose, lively, and slinky that ranks right alongside the likes of !!! and Out Hud. — AR

Ikonika – Bubble Up EP (Hyperdub)
The latest EP from UK-based electronic producer Sara Abdel-Hamid (aka Ikonika) finds her adding a sultry pop slant to her addictive club rhythms for a hypnotic set of "queer love anthems for the dance floor." Sprinkling in her own low-key vocals on three tracks, Bubble Up also finds Sara applying rolling Amapiano rhythms and a warm deep house sensibility to her crisp productions. — AR

The C.I.A. – Surgery Channel (In the Red)
The second album from this LA-based trio comprised of Ty and Denée Segal along with Emmett Kelly is a solid set of experimental synth-punk with grimy synths, fuzzy bass guitars, urgent rhythms and ominous melodies. — DY

Klein Zage – Feed The Dog (Rhythm Section International)
The solo alias of Seattle-born, NYC-based musician Sage Redman, Klein Zage unveils her expansive debut full-length album and it's an evocative set of confessional synth-pop, poignant dream-pop, brooding trip-hop, adventurous alt-pop, and edgy grunge-tinted shoegaze that's powerful and personal. Written between Seattle, the remote confines of Hood Canal, and her beloved former home base of London, Feed The Dog lyrically tackles the existential, emotional, and dissociative weight of a relationship at its crossroads over sonic backdrops that consistently shift into exploratory territory, laying bare Sage's eclectic sonic palette and powerful songwriting talents. — AR

Bobbie Lovesong – On the Wind (Woodsist)
The debut full-length from this Brooklyn-based artist (aka Madelyn Strutz) is a solid set of woozy, psych-tinged folk-pop with a hazy sound combining shimmering keyboards, guitars, banjo and more with her ethereal vocals and playful melodies. — DY

Wau Wau Collectif – Mariage (Sahel Sounds/sing a song fighter)
Mariage is the vibrant second album from Wau Wau Collectif, a loose gathering of musicians from Toubab Dialaw, Senegal, a small fishing village turned hub of Senegal’s bohemian art scene. Stemming from the same sessions and recordings that yielded their stellar 2021 debut album Yaram Sa Doom, Mariage is based around improvised recordings done by Swedish music archeologist Karl Jonas Winqvist with the village's local musicians, percussionists, poets, and beat makers, and then stitched together between Sweden and Senegal as Winqvist traded recordings over WhatsApp with Senegal-based collaborator and studio engineer Arouna Kane. Although not quite as potent as its predecessor, this follow-up effort is a stylistically expansive affair that joyfully jumps around genres to explore a powerful and universally soulful sound. — AR

Born At Midnite – Alternity (Arbutus)
The latest EP from this Montreal duo composed of Amery Sandford (of Alpen Glow) and David Carriere (of TOPS) is a short-and-sweet set of groovy pop jams that tap into disco and New Wave flavors for a playful, buoyant, slinky sound. — AR

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