New Music Reviews (3/4)

Album Reviews

Each week, Music Director Chris Sanley and Associate Music Director Alex Ruder 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 Brittany Davis, Mannequin Pussy, Sheer Mag, and more. 

Brittany Davis - Image Issues (Loosegroove)
The deeply personal, expansive debut album from the Seattle-based artist is a 26-track opus from their unique perspective as a Black, non-binary, blind musician. With intimate, spoken word interstitials punctuating the diverse sonic landscape, their exploration of hip-hop, soul, funk, R&B and jazz invites the listener into their world, one experienced by sound. A truly Brittany Davis project, they singularly wrote every song, played every instrument and performed every vocal part on Image Issues as they tell their story.  — CS

Mannequin Pussy - I Got Heaven (Epitaph)
Urgent, raw, honest and intimate, the fourth album from the Philadelphia outfit finds them digging deeper both lyrically and musically than ever before. Ranging from absolute punk rippers ("I Got Heaven") to dreamy shoegaze ("I Don’t Know You"), I Got Heaven is an exhilarating listen from an exceptional rock band who refuses to be put in a box. — CS

Sheer Mag - Playing Favorites (Third Man)
The third studio album, and first for Third Man Records, from this Philadelphia four-piece is a robust rocker boasting punchy guitar riffs, sharp bass lines, killer hooks and Tina Halladay’s commanding vocals. A decade into their career, Sheer Mag have perfected their signature fusion of punk, power-pop and garage rock – now with a very welcome hint of disco – for an undeniable set of anthemic new tunes. — CS

Yard Act - Where’s My Utopia? (Republic)
The bombastic sophomore release from the Leeds quartet is an enticing and outlandish slice of art-rock, post-punk and disco. With driving bass, ornamental synths, syncopated percussion, delicious guitar licks and spoken word, what could have been a truly chaotic combination instead results in a cohesive, playful and eclectic album that explores subject matter from parenthood to grappling with success. — CS

Faye Webster - Underdressed at the Symphony (Secretly Canadian)
The fifth studio album from the Atlanta native is a beautiful, sweeping, understated collection of emotive indie rock. Sonic intricacies including orchestral flourishes, pedal steel and vocoder accompany her pristine, ethereal vocals, adding a rich depth to these intimate songs that explore desire, conflict and platonic love. — CS

Gen and the Degenerates - ANTI‐FUN PROPAGANDA (Marshall)
The debut album from Liverpool-based Gen and the Degenerates oozes with personality, showcasing guitar driven, energetic art-punk paired with angsty, witty, confrontational lyrics and the passionate vocal delivery to match. While not being afraid to explore heavy themes (the opening line on the album is “The truth is the world is ending,”) the 10 tracks on Anti-Fun Propaganda also offer up some levity and pure, unabashed FUN. — CS

Liam Gallagher & John Squire - Liam Gallagher & John Squire (Warner)
The collaboration between Brit-Rock royalty Liam Gallagher (Oasis) & John Squire (Stone Roses) is larger than life and chock full of anthemic jams. The duo hit just the right amount of keystones from the glory days of their projects, while also incorporating 60s psych rock and modern art-rock influences for a timeless, instant classic. — CS

Mildlife - Chorus (Heavenly Recordings)
The third studio album from this Melbourne-based four-piece outfit is another stellar set of cosmic groove-based jams that harmoniously fuse funk, disco, psych, krautrock, jazz, yacht rock, house, and dream-pop for a lush, deep, spaced-out sonic journey.  — AR

STRFKR - Parallel Realms (Polyvinyl)
The seventh album from Portland outfit STRKR is a sparkling, groovy celebration of synth pop. Their infectious, dance worthy rhythms and melodies juxtapose the introspective, thought-provoking lyrics for another tight collection of indie pop goodness fifteen years into their career.  — CS

The Narcotix - Dying (self-released)
The extraordinary debut album from composers and multi-instrumentalist Esther Quansah and Becky Foinchas is mesmerizing. A true melting pot of influences, the duo fuse together elements of art-rock, avant-pop, West African rhythms, jazz, alternative R&B and more, achieving a haunting, multi-faceted, polyrhythmic sonic journey. Their dynamic vocal affect drives home the existential themes throughout Dying, allowing the songs to deeply touch the listener. — CS

Chalk - Conditions II (Nice Swan Records)
The fast, furious and frenetic new EP from the Belfast three-piece is an eclectic mix of industrial, post-punk and darkwave. These gripping four tracks are not to be missed as we (im)patiently await a full album. — CS

Gulfer - Third Wind (Topshelf)
The fourth album from this Montréal band marks the first time that Gulfer vocalist/guitarist Joseph Therriault – originally a local fan and peer of the band who joined in 2016, five years into the band’s journey – serves as the group’s primary songwriter and this shift finds them infusing a more dynamic and expansive indie rock sound into their foundational emo, math rock, and punk-pop roots. — AR

Heems & Lapgan - LAFANDAR (Veena Sounds/Mass Appeal India)
The first solo album in nine years from Queens, NY-based Punjabi-American rapper Himanshu “Heems” Suri (formerly of Das Racist and part of Swet Shop Boys alongside Riz MC and Redinho) finds him teaming up with Chicago-based Indian-American producer Lapgan for a sharp set of clever, comical, and confident hip-hop. Heems’ trademark wit, lyricism, flow, and unique cross-cultural perspective shine bright over Lapgan’s cinematic boom-bap beats that utilize South Asian samples to accent the record’s diasporan influences. The album title LAFANDAR stems from “an old-country insult for a vagabond, a wanderer, a loomer, a lurker, an urban dilettante, and especially in Heems’ case, a flaneur.” All jokes aside, it’s great to hear Heems back on the mic, and he’s joined by an all-star cast of guests along the way, including Kool Keith, Saul Williams, Open Mike Eagle, Quelle Chris, Blu, Your Old Droog, Sid Sriram, Sir Michael Rocks, Fatboi Sharif, and more.  — AR

Late Bloomer - Another One Again (Self Aware/Dead Broke)
The fourth album from this Charlotte, NC trio is a solid set of dynamic indie rock with a 1990s and early 2000s emotive streak that balances searing guitars, sharp hooks, and inquisitive lyrics in a manner reminiscent of The Wrens, Archers of Loaf, and The Bats. — AR

Mini Trees - Burn Out EP (Run For Cover)
The new EP from LA based project led by Lexi Vega is a big, bright, sugary indie-pop delight. These five tracks pack a punch and hit their mark with Vega’s vocal acrobatics, shimmering guitars, insanely catchy pop hooks and intimate lyricism. — CS

Pissed Jeans - Half Divorced (Sub Pop)
The Allentown, PA outfit is going full force on Half Divorced, their sixth album and first in seven years. With seething guitars, explosive percussion, intense lyrics and a fiery delivery from frontman Matt Korvette, their quick wit, tight arrangements, heavy sonics and even heavier subject matter is executed in a way that is just so distinctly Pissed Jeans. Of the fast and furious twelve tracks, Korvette says: “Half Divorced has an aggression within it, in terms of saying, I don’t want this reality. There’s a power in being able to say, I realize you want me to pay attention to these things, but I’m telling you that they don’t matter. I’m already looking elsewhere.” — CS

RIP Dunes - RIP Dunes (self-released)
RIP Dunes is a new solo alias of Brooklyn-based musician Matthew Iwanusa who’s also a member of the NYC indie-pop outfit Caveman. His debut release under the alias is a sweet set of 80s-tinged pop full of nostalgia-soaked synths, lyrical guitar work, sweeping orchestral touches, and dreamy melodies that frequently recalls the cinematic anthems of Tears for Fears and the contemporary widescreen vision of The War on Drugs.   — AR

SAVAK - Flavors of Paradise (Peculiar Works Music/Ernest Jenning Record Co.)
The sixth album from this Brooklyn band composed of former members of Obits, The Cops, Holy Fuck, and Enon is another sharp set of propulsive post-punk, blistering garage-rock, and spunky power-pop that boasts potent dueling guitars, lively rhythms, and idiosyncratic lyrics tackling marriage, espionage, self-reflection, absurdity, vulnerability, polarization, and more. — AR

Coco - 2 (First City Artists)
The sophomore album from the NY trio is a moody, lush set of shoegaze influenced baroque pop, largely carried by the classic, buttery vocals of Maia Friedman. Throughout these nine smooth, spellbinding songs, Coco transports you, not necessarily to a specific time or place, but rather to a peaceful elsewhere. — CS

Lucie Antunes - Amazing Carnaval (InFiné)
Amazing Carnaval’ is an extended version of Parisian electronic producer and composer Lucie Antunes’ 2023 sophomore album Carnaval that adds five collaboration-focused songs to the setlist to provide a refreshed look at her adventurous, quirky, arty synth-pop vision. The new songs offer immediate highlights, with a standout contribution coming from Swiss-Guatemalan artist Baby Volcano on opening track “Luchadora'' alongside appearances from French actress Anna Mouglalis, veteran French/British psychedelic poets François and the Atlas Mountain, and emerging artist Superette. — AR

Shelf Nunny - Pronoia (Bitter Boi)
The second solo album from Seattle-based producer Christian Gunning (aka Shelf Nunny) is another immersive set of dreamy electronic beats that sway between cinematic downtempo fare and spritely house-leaning rhythms with his intricate electro-acoustic sound design techniques shining bright throughout. Titled after the phrase that’s the opposite of paranoia, Pronoia finds Shelf Nunny operating in a more lively and optimistic space than his past solo releases, a shift that mirrors his own life’s recent pivotal experiences that have witnessed significant new beginnings, new love, and playing more and more live shows. — AR

Suite Simone - Bird (self-released)
The debut album from this Stockholm-based duo composed of Swedish actress, DJ, and vocalist Rebecca Scheja and Swedish electronic producer Viggo Dyst (solo releases on Shall Not Fade and DJ Seinfeld’s Young Ethics label) is an addictive set of club-pop anthems that leans heavily into rave, trance, Eurodance, breaks, and house for its sleek, hi-NRG, dancefloor-primed sound. Early single and standout track “The Sound of Disco” namechecks San Francisco in its repeated vocal refrain for a KEXP-relevant highlight. — AR

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