New Music Reviews (2/6)

Album Reviews

Each week, Music Director Don Yates (joined this week by DJ Kevin Cole) 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 Young Fathers, ParannoulLil Yachty, and more. 

Young Fathers – Heavy Heavy (Ninja Tune)
This Scottish trio’s fourth album is an expansive, sometimes shapeshifting blend of post-punk, hip hop, psych-pop, soul, gospel, West African pop and much more, combining a densely produced, rhythm-driven sound with an abundance of celestial song hooks and often-cryptic lyrics that still strike deep. — DY

Parannoul – After the Magic (Topshelf)
This Korean artist’s third album is an impressive set of emotive, shoegazer psych-rock inflected at times with orchestral ambient, glitchy electronic and other styles, with dynamic, sometimes shapeshifting songs combining fuzzy guitars, strings, synths, piano and other instrumentation with soaring song hooks, wistful vocals and bittersweet melodies. — DY

Lil Yachty – Let's Start Here. (Quality Control/Motown/UMG)
This Atlanta rapper’s fifth album is an audacious left turn that features little rapping. Instead, the album is an adventurous blend of R&B-tinged electropop with spacy psych-rock and prog, combining an expansive, live-band sound with often-buoyant melodies. Executive produced by SadPony (aka Jeremiah Raisen) and former Chairlift member Patrick Wimberley, the album also features contributions from Nick Hakim, Alex G, Mac DeMarco, MGMT’s Benjamin Goldwasser, Jam City, Magdalena Bay, Justin Raisen and guest vocalists Fousheé, Daniel Caesar, Diana Gordon, Justin Skye and Teezo Touchdown. — DY

The Tubs – Dead Meat (Trouble In Mind)
The debut album from this London-based band fronted by former Joanna Gruesome guitarist Owen “O” Williams (and featuring other members of that band) is a potent blend of ‘80s/’90s-inspired post-punk and bittersweet indie-pop with jangly guitars, atmospheric keyboards, driving rhythms and often-sunny song hooks juxtaposed with dark, acerbic lyrics revolving around mental illness and alienation. — DY

The Men – New York City (Fuzz Club)
This Brooklyn band’s ninth album finds them getting back to basics with a strong set of visceral garage-punk with scuzzy guitars, urgent, punchy rhythms, occasional pounding piano, raspy vocals and anthemic song hooks. — DY

The Go! Team – Get Up Sequences Part Two (Memphis Industries)
The seventh album from this veteran British band led by Ian Parton is a vibrant, sample-heavy blend of electro-pop, hip hop, funk, calypso and other styles, combining a variety of colorful instrumentation with energetic rhythms, sunny melodies and often-politically charged lyrics. Along with regular band vocalist Ninja, guest vocals are provided by a wide range of artists from around the globe, including West African group Star Feminine Band, Indian Bollywood singer Neha Hatwar, Kokubo Chisato from J-pop band Lucie Too, Detroit rapper IndigoYaj, former Apples in Stereo member Hilarie Bratset, Brooklyn rapper Nitty Scott and more. — DY

Daníel Hjálmtýsson – Labyrinthia (Reykjavik)
Daníel Hjálmtýsson’s long awaited debut is a beautifully sequenced journey in the labyrinth of emotions, a sonic embrace that washes over you, saturates you in darkness.  Daniel’s deep, rich voice, similar in tone and emotion to the beloved Mark Lanegan, envelops you like a blanket, comforting you with its warmth while at the same time baring it’s soul to the darkness we face. Lanegan has said of Hjálmtýsson “Daníel plays icy neo-goth music which brings to mind the forbidding landscape of his native Iceland.” While it does, there’s also a classic ‘90s Seattle sound to Labyrinthia, an album that never blinks.  Walking with head held high, fearless, straight into the tsunami of sorrow knowing that after the darkest night, there will be light. — KC

James Brandon Lewis – Eye of I (ANTI-)
This New York saxophonist was joined by drummer Max Jaffe and Chris Hoffman on electric cello for this often-visceral set of jazz ranging from melodic, meditative post-bop to fiery and dissonant free jazz. — DY

Sunny War – Anarchist Gospel (New West)
The sixth album from this Nashville-based artist (aka Sydney Ward) is a well-crafted blend of folk-rock, soul, blues, country, gospel and other styles, combining her finger-picked guitar with keyboards, harmonica and a variety of other instrumentation accompanying her understated vocals and lyrics of struggle and healing. The album’s impressive supporting cast includes David Rawlings, Allison Russell, Jim James, Jack Lawrence, Dennis Crouch and other notables. — DY

Jonah Yano – portrait of a dog (Innovative Leisure)
This Hiroshima-born, Montreal-based artist’s second album is a well-crafted set of jazz-tinged indie-pop inflected at times with R&B, folk-pop and other styles. Produced by Toronto band BADBADNOTGOOD, the album combines guitar, piano, strings, horns and more with his delicate vocals and lyrics of identity, family, heartache and loss. — DY

The WAEVE – The WAEVE (Transgressive)
The debut album from this British duo comprised of Blur guitarist Graham Coxon and former Pipettes vocalist Rose Elinor Dougall is a moody blend of folk-pop, prog, psych-pop, jazz and other styles, with sometimes-shapeshifting songs combining guitars, sax, synths, strings, piano, flute and more with alternating lead vocals. — DY

Robert Forster – The Candle and the Flame (Tapete)
The eighth solo album from this veteran founding member of Australian band The Go-Betweens is a well-crafted set of bittersweet folk-pop combining a warm and intimate sound with lyrics of love and the passage of time. — DY

Alexis Evans – Yours Truly (Record Kicks)
This French artist’s third album is a well-crafted set of ‘60s/’70s-steeped soul inflected at times with hip hop, reggae and other styles, with a warm sound combining guitars, horns, keyboards and more with his soulful vocals and lyrics of love and loss. — DY

The Rodians – Melt EP (self-released)
This British band’s debut EP is a solid four-song set blending garage-rock with psych-rock, prog, funk and other styles, combining crunchy guitars and energetic rhythms with buoyant song hooks. — DY

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