New Music Reviews (10/23)

Album Reviews

Each week, Music Director Chris Sanley and Associate Music Director Alex Ruder (joined this week by Albina Cabrera, Latin Partnerships and Editorial Manager and co-host of El Sonido) share 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 Sampha, Bombay Bicycle Club, HotWax, and more. 

Sampha - Lahai (Young) 
The highly anticipated follow up to 2017’s Process has been WORTH. THE. WAIT. Opening with twinkling keys, the instrumentation is varied throughout Lahai, with beats, piano, cello, acoustic guitar and more, while he incorporates a wide range of genres including soul, jazz, dance, hip hop, and West African music. His instantly recognizable vocal is the constant, as Sampha explores themes of spirituality, fatherhood and self-acceptance. This layered, emotive and complex album is a touchstone for contemporary R&B and soul from an artist that continues to grow and challenge himself with each release. — CS

Bombay Bicycle Club - My Big Day (AWAL) 
Don’t call it a comeback, but the sixth album from Bombay Bicycle Club finds the London four piece breathing new, fresh energy into the project. Their melodic guitar pop shines with tight arrangements, synth flourishes, drum machines and great hooks, not to mention some stellar guests from Nilüfer Yanya to legendary Chaka Khan. — CS

HotWax - Invite Me, Kindly EP (Marathon Artist)
The sophomore EP from this UK three piece is all killer, no filler. Their hard hitting and melodic post-punk is gripping, with heavy drums and guitars matching the fiery vocal delivery. I can’t wait to hear more. — CS

Sinego - Alterego (Sinego Music)
The debut album from the Mexican-Colombian artist is mesmerizing. Fusing together electronic music with Latin American traditions, each track on the album represents a different country, paying homage to their local folk genres and sounds while blending it with contemporary house and techno. Alterego is a one of a kind sonic endeavor that celebrates tradition and collaboration as Sinego takes the listener on a memorable trip. — CS

Barry Can’t Swim - When Will We Land? (Ninja Tune)
Following a brilliant run of singles and EPs over the past few years, Edinburgh-born, London-based electronic producer Joshua Mannie (aka Barry Can’t Swim) delivers his debut full-length album and it’s a stellar set of magnetic electronic grooves that fuse cutting-edge club rhythms with organic elements and a magnetic pop streak. Boosted by an eclectic cast of guest vocalists and sampled voices, When Will We Land? is a confident, buoyant, and expansive outing that leans into colorful house territory, but cohesively adds elements of downtempo, ambient, jazz, Afrobeat, and techno into its kinetic world. — AR

Emma Anderson - Pearlies (Sonic Cathedral Recordings)
Emma Anderson is a co-founding member of the seminal UK shoegaze band Lush and one-half of the early 2000s indie-pop group Sing-Sing. Over 35 years since making waves with her original band, she’s unveiled her debut solo album of warm, sophisticated, dreamy pop that – for the first time ever – places her majestic vocals fully into the spotlight. Produced entirely by James Chapman (aka Maps) and featuring contributions from guitarist Richard Oakes (of Suede) on four tracks, Pearlies found early inspiration, collaboration, and encouragement from Cocteau Twins’ Robin Guthrie, who urged Emma to flesh out material that she had written originally for Lush’s short-lived 2015-2016 reunion run and make it her own. — AR

Maria BC - Spike Field (Sacred Bones) 
The sophomore album from Oakland-based Maria BC is a stunning display of ethereal folk magic. Their classically-trained mezzo-soprano voice guides the listener through the intimate and expansive journey of Spike Field, with delicate guitar, piano, and strings creating an elegant and lush soundscape. — CS

Medejin - The Garden (Icy Cold Records/Den Tapes)
The debut album from this Seattle quartet is an impressive first outing. The Garden is a solid fusion of dream pop and post-rock, with hazy guitars and synths, exhilarating vocals and propelling percussion. — CS

Omar Apollo - Live For Me EP (Warner)
Omar Apollo's latest single, "Ice Slippin," offers a poignant musical journey that delves into the emotional challenges of coming out to his family. "Ice Slippin" is a testament to Omar's exceptional songwriting. — AC

Poolside - Blame It All On Love (Counter/Ninja Tune)
LA-based producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jeffrey Paradise is back with his fourth studio album. Blame It All On Love is a groovy, textured, hook laden pop record with healthy doses of chill wave and nu-disco. — CS

Screensaver - Decent Shapes (Upset the Rhythm)
Melbourne/Naarm synth based post-punk outfit maintain a frenetic energy throughout their sophomore album, with their urgency matching the lyrical content. As they tackle issues like climate change, materialism, capitalism, survivalist coping mechanisms and more, Decent Shapes is not for the faint of heart. — CS

Sun June - Bad Dream Jaguar (Run For Cover)
The third album from the Austin, TX outfit is a bittersweet set of folk tinged indie pop/rock. The captivating lyrics and equal parts dreamy and haunting vocals from frontwoman and bandleader Laura Colwell are the centerpiece of Bad Dream Jaguar, complimented by sparse synths, elegant percussion and hazy guitars. — CS

The Bug Club - Rare Birds: Hour of Song (We Are Busy Bodies)
The Welsh three-piece return with an ambitious sophomore album that is half spoken word, half endearing garage rock, with witty lyrics, memorable hooks and raw vocals. Lead single and album standout “Marriage” set the stage for an intriguing double album that is worth the deep dive, even for those with ornithophobia. — CS

chlothegod - Nearly Straight (EQT Recordings)
Making her official solo debut earlier this year with the knockout single “Camille,” emerging artist chlothegod unveils her first mini-album and it’s an impressive set of expansive R&B that also embraces her punk, alternative, and pop influences. — AR

Hania Rani - Ghosts (Gondwana)
Already a renowned pianist and composer following her first two critically-acclaimed albums, Polish musician Hania Rani expands upon her sound on her excellent third album. While her whimsical instrumental arrangements are still fully on display, Ghosts finds the versatile artist leaning more heavily into electronic foundations and adding her own delicate vocals for an stirring, sweeping, exciting sound that impressively blends classical roots with contemporary electronics, and dreamy ambient ideas with cerebral pop inclinations. — AR

Kacey Johansing - Year Away (Night Bloom)
The fifth solo album from this Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and frequent touring member of Fruit Bats and Hand Habits is another wonderful set of warm, elegant, sophisticated folk-pop featuring rich instrumentation, Johansing's gorgeous vocals, and a consistently timeless, inviting, charming touch. — AR

Land of Talk - Performances (Saddle Creek)
The latest from Montreal’s Lizzie Powell is an understated collection of melancholy indie rock, flexing their vocal range and radically honest lyricism. Let it soak in as you “take a deep breath, let it out, show the love in.” — CS

Laura Misch - Sample The Sky (One Little Independent)
The debut album from London-based multidisciplinary artist, saxophonist, producer, and vocalist Laura Misch is a solid set of colorful synth-pop and spectral R&B that’s distinguished by her intricate productions, expressive saxophone, and warm vocals. Hailing from a talented musical family that includes her prolific brother Tom, Laura’s long-awaited first full-length is the sound of an artist finding her own distinctive sound. — AR

Molécule - RE-201 (Mille Feuilles)
Sonically steeped in the rich history of Daft Punk, Cassius, and Etienne de Crecy, the latest album from veteran Parisian electronic producer Romain Delahaye (aka Molécule) is a fun set of colorful French House grooves with an infectious loop-happy spirit. For this record, Molécule traveled to Small World Studio in Kingston to record the voices of legendary reggae artists Johnny Clarke, Cédric Myton, Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace, Jah Thomas, Prince Alla and Big Youth, allowing him to infuse his love of Jamaican music into his productions. — AR

Molly Parden - Sacramented (Tone Tree Music)
The third solo album from singer-songwriter Molly Parden (also a touring member of the band Darlingside) is a gorgeous set of dreamy folk ballads highlighted by her honeyed vocals, warm melodies, and lush backdrops. Following a nearly 10-year run in the Nashville scene, Sacramented arrives soon after her move to western Massachusetts, perfectly released in mid-October as we enter peak autumn season. — AR

Teenage Halloween - Till You Return (Don Giovanni) 
On their sophomore album, the New Jersey outfit’s power pop punk is as explosive as ever, with killer guitar riffs, personal lyrics, and lead vocal duties shared between Luk Hendricks and Tricia Marshall. — CS

Related News & Reviews

Album Reviews

New Music Reviews (10/9)

Music Director Chris Sanley and Associate Music Director Alex Ruder share brief insights on new and upcoming releases for KEXP's rotation, including this week's new releases from Butcher Brown, Sufjan Stevens, Aiko el grupo, and more.

Read More
Album Reviews

New Music Reviews (10/2)

Music Director Chris Sanley and Associate Music Director Alex Ruder share brief insights on new and upcoming releases for KEXP's rotation, including this week's new releases from Blonde Redhead, Jorja Smith, Say She She, and more.

Read More
Album Reviews

New Music Reviews (9/25)

Music Director Chris Sanley and Associate Music Director Alex Ruder share brief insights on new and upcoming releases for KEXP's rotation, including this week's new releases from The National, Devendra Banhart, Benét, and more.

Read More