New Music Reviews (1/30)

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 Fucked Up, SamiaHammock, and more. 

Fucked Up – One Day (Merge)
This Toronto band’s sixth album (and first in five years) is an impressive set of anthemic punk inflected with prog, classic rock, power pop and other styles, combining ringing guitars and pummeling rhythms with Damien Abraham’s gruff bark and hard-hitting lyrics ranging from meditations on mortality and family to critiques of toxic masculinity, colonialism and gentrification.

Samia – Honey (Grand Jury)
This Nashville-based artist’s second album is an intimate, well-crafted set ranging from bright, hook-filled indie-pop to spare, acoustic-oriented folk-pop, highlighted by her deeply personal, emotionally frank lyrics of troubled relationships and dysfunctional behavior.

Hammock – Love in the Void (Hammock Music)
This veteran Nashville duo’s 12th album is a cinematic, often-transportive blend of atmospheric post-rock, ambient, neo-classical and shoegazer dream-pop, combining shimmering guitars, majestic strings, piano, synths and more with occasional vocals and celestial melodies.

Adwaith – Mato Bato (Libertino)
This Welsh trio’s second album is a potent blend of dream-pop, psych-rock, post-punk and other styles, combining fuzzy guitars and keyboards with often-driving rhythms, ethereal vocals and hypnotic melodies.

Strawberry Fuzz – Strongs Dr. (CandyShop Recordings)
This LA-based band’s official debut album is a potent set of surf-punk and garage-rock with a dynamic sound featuring buzzing guitars, energetic rhythms, volatile vocals and angst-fueled lyrics revolving around the seedy underside of LA life.

Bass Drum of Death – Say I Won’t (Fat Possum)
The fifth album from this Oxford, MS band led by John Barrett is a solid set of ‘70s-steeped garage-rock with scuzzy guitars, driving rhythms and fist-pumping song hooks.

Sam Himself – Never Let Me Go (Taxi Gauche/Sony)
The second album from this Swiss-born, New York-based artist (aka Sam Koechlin) is an often-gorgeous blend of moody post-punk and psych-tinged indie-pop with an atmospheric sound combining shimmering synths and guitars and often-driving rhythms with his warm croon and lyrics of loss and renewal.

The Arcs – Electrophonic Chronic (Easy Eye Sound)
The second album from this group led by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach honors their late bandmate Richard Swift (who passed away in 2018) with a set of songs culled by Auerbach and keyboardist Leon Michels from dozens of recordings the band made following their 2015 debut release. The end result is a well-crafted blend of dreamy psych-pop and soul, combining a warm, often-lowkey sound with lyrics of lost love and mortality.

H.C. McEntire – Every Acre (Merge)
The third solo album from the Durham, NC-based, former leader of Mount Moriah is a well-crafted set of reflective folk-pop inflected with country, psych-rock, gospel and other styles, combining a warm, often-spare sound with bittersweet melodies and lyrics of loss, grief and healing.

King Tuff – Smalltown Stardust (Sub Pop)
The sixth album from this LA-based artist (aka Kyle Thomas) is a solid set of reflective, folk-tinged psych-pop. Co-produced by King Tuff and his housemate SASAMI (who also co-wrote most of the album and plays and sings throughout), the album combines guitars, keyboards, occasional strings, horns and more with warm harmonies, wistful melodies and lyrics revolving around love, nature and growing up in Brattleboro, VT.

White Reaper – Asking for a Ride (Elektra)
This Louisville band’s fourth album is a potent, hook-filled blend of garage-rock, power pop, hard rock and other styles, combining dueling lead guitars and punchy, muscular rhythms with fist-pumping song hooks.

R. Ring – War Poems, We Rested (Don Giovanni)
The second album from this Dayton, OH-based duo comprised of Kelley Deal of the Breeders and Mike Montgomery is a strong set of ‘90s-steeped indie-rock ranging from fuzzy, chugging rockers and hypnotic, funk-inflected rock to moody, atmospheric ballads.

Megadose – Heating Up (self-released)
This Seattle band’s second album is an expansive blend of power pop, New Wave, psych-rock and other styles, combining jangly/fuzzy guitars with an abundance of catchy song hooks.

Guided By Voices – La La Land (Guided By Voices, Inc.)
The latest album from this veteran Dayton, OH-based band led by Robert Pollard is a strong latter-day set ranging from fuzzy psych-pop and driving garage-rock to wistful jangle-pop, multi-part prog, atmospheric chamber-pop and more.

Meg Baird – Furling (Drag City)
The fourth solo (and first in eight years) from this San Francisco-based artist (and former member of Espers and Heron Oblivion) is a well-crafted set of psych-tinged folk-pop combining acoustic guitars, piano, harp, vibraphone, steel guitar and more with her wispy, ethereal vocals and bittersweet melodies.

Smokey Brights – Broken Too EP (Freakout)
This Seattle band’s latest release is a potent five-song set ranging from crunchy, hook-filled power-pop to more introspective, folk-tinged indie-pop.

Complete Mountain Almanac – Complete Mountain Almanac (Bella Union)
The debut album from this band comprised of Rebekka Karijord, Rebecca Dessner and The National’s Aaron and Bryce Dessner is a well-crafted set of chamber folk-pop with a haunting, atmospheric sound combining gentle guitars, strings, synths, horns and more with lyrics revolving around nature and climate change.

Dave Okumu & The 7 Generations – The Intolerable Suffering of (the) Other EP (Transgressive)
The latest release from this British artist is a four-song EP that’s also the second installment of his upcoming album I Came From Love (due out April 14th). It’s an adventurous blend of hip hop, spoken word, jazz and more, with hard-hitting lyrics revolving around legacy, racism and injustice. Special guests include Wesley Joseph, Kwabs, Anthony Joseph and ESKA.

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