New Music Reviews (4/15)

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 Baby Rose & BADBADNOTGOOD, English Teacher, Nia Archives, and more. 

Baby Rose & BADBADNOTGOOD - Slow Burn EP (Secretly Canadian)
One minute and 15 seconds into this stunning EP, my mouth was already agape. The collaboration between Baby Rose and BADBADNOTGOOD is the stuff dreams are made of. Rose’s vocals are out of this world, with a rich, distinct tone and impressive range, while BADBADNOTGOOD’s production prowess and musicianship excel throughout. Together, the pair create a timeless, soulful, jazz influenced R&B record that flows flawlessly straight to the heart. – CS

English Teacher - This Could Be Texas (Island)
After an onslaught of teaser singles, the debut album from Leeds outfit English Teacher is finally here to substantiate the buzz. Featuring witty lyricism delivered expertly by Lily Fontaine, infectious guitar hooks, interesting basslines, and brilliant drum work, This Could Be Texas ebbs and flows through their distinct style of post-punk with flourishes of horns and keys, elements of art-rock, shoegaze and dream pop. Throughout the exhilarating twists and turns, you hear and a perfect balance of hard-hitting anthems and subdued meditations, culminating in one of the strongest debuts of the year. – CS

Nia Archives - Silence Is Loud (Hijinxx/Island)
The highly anticipated debut album from London-based producer Nia Archives is a masterclass in jungle revival. Her enthralling fusion of electronic soundscapes including elements of hip-hop, soul and pop with emotive lyricism creates a sound that is both innovative and nostalgic. She comes out the gate swinging with banger after banger on Silence Is Loud, keeping the listener transfixed by every backbeat as she marks her formidable arrival. – CS

Acid Tongue - Acid On The Dancefloor (self-released)
Following last year’s Blame It On The Youth EP, Seattle rockers return with another fiery fusion of psych, garage, glam, punk and more. With Acid On The Dancefloor they keep their influence deeply steeped in classic rock and punk with a modern twist to create their unmistakable Acid Tongue sound.  – CS

Cindy Lee - Diamond Jubilee (self-released)
Cindy Lee is the drag queen pop project of Durham, NC-based Canadian musician Patrick Flegel, former guitarist and lead singer of the revered band Women. Their latest album is a stunning magnum opus, 32 tracks of sublime, nostalgic, woozy psych-pop gems that tap into a timeless melancholic aura. With its reverential nods to 1950s girl groups, 1990s lo-fi guitar-rock, 1960s psychedelia, and 1970s AM rock, Diamond Jubilee creates its own singular universe, laying bare an epic statement from one of the underground’s most adored artists, and quietly unleashing one of the standout albums of the year. – AR

Dabeull - Analog Love (Roche Musique)
This collaborative-heavy album from Parisian electronic producer David Saïd (aka Dabeull) is a super slick set of slinky boogie, seductive disco, and slippery R&B grooves. With its fresh, funky, analog-heavy beats, a heavy dose of talk box vocals, and diverse cast of guest vocalists, Analog Love is an aptly-titled record that keeps that immaculate early 80s sound alive. – AR

girl in red - I’M DOING IT AGAIN BABY! (Columbia)
The sophomore album from breakout star girl in red – aka Norwegian singer-songwriter Marie Ulven – is simultaneously fun and earnest, as she utilizes her catchy indie-pop with a rock sensibility to tell personal tales of mental health journeys, the ups and downs of relationships and coming into her own in the spotlight. – CS

Maggie Rogers - Don’t Forget Me (Capitol Records)
The third studio album from singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers finds the artist collaborating with producer and songwriter Ian Fitchuk and serving up her signature alt. pop sound with a country sensibility. From heart wrenching ballads like title track and album closer “Don’t Forget Me” to pop earworms like “The Kill”, even the sun soaked songs have an air of sorrow, as Rogers refuses to let heartache take away the pep in her step. – CS

METZ - Up On Gravity Hill (Sub Pop)
Simply put, the first album in four years from the Toronto based noise/punk outfit absolutely rips. Without losing any of the heavy urgency we’ve come to know and love from METZ, the band has incorporated more melody and levity as they tear through themes of human connection, corporate greed and more with big guitars, propulsive drums and an excellent vocal performance from Alex Edkins. – CS

BODEGA - Our Brand Could Be Yr Life (Chrysalis)
The third LP from NYC quintet Bodega is a pointed concept album about the oft corporatization of indie-rock, as indicated by the album title. Their lively brand of post-punk/art-rock hits with  jangly guitar, compelling bass lines and effective percussion as Ben Hozie and Nikki Belfiglio share lead vocalist duties with witty lyricism. – CS

Cuffed Up - All You Got (Hit The North)
The debut album from LA trio Cuffed Up is a potent, high energy pop-punk tinged alt rock record with heavy guitar riffs and explosive percussion as they lyrically touch on the cornerstones of modern day human experience. – CS

Dana Gavanski - LATE SLAP (Full Time Hobby)
The exceptional third studio album from Serbian-Canadian musician Dana Gavanski finds the artist ascending to peak form, and not just leaning into the strange, but celebrating it. Her confident synth and guitar driven avant-pop is quirky, artful and catchy as hell as she showcases her rich vocal tone with a dynamic range, poetic lyricism and masterful songwriting. – CS

Klaus Johann Grobe - Io Tu il Loro (Trouble In Mind)
The fourth album from this Swiss duo composed of Sevi Landolt and Daniel Bachmann is a fascinating blend of styles, casually dipping into psychedelic, Krautrock, soft rock, dreamy disco, and New Wave with a mature, sophisticated, easy-going touch. – AR

Leyla McCalla - Sun Without The Heat (ANTI-)
The fifth solo album from NYC-born, New Orleans-based Leyla McCalla is a powerful and playful fusion of Afro-diasporic music including Tropicalia, American folk and blues and Afrobeat inspired by likeminded Black feminist Afrofuturistic thinkers like Octavia Butler. Wavering between heavy and light, up and down, McCalla achieves a well-balanced, rich, thought-provoking album that encourages personal growth and expression. “We all want the warmth of the sun but not everybody wants to feel the heat,” McCalla explains. “You have to have both.” – CS

The Reds, Pinks & Purples - Unwishing Well (Tough Love)
The latest album from this prolific DIY project of San Francisco-based singer-songwriter Glenn Donaldson is a strong set of melancholic jangle-pop that combines Donaldson’s downcast lyrics, pessimistic worldview, and plaintive vocals with spritely, sweeping, winsome backdrops.  – AR

UTO - When all you want to do is be the fire part of fire (InFiné)
The second full-length album from this Parisian duo – Neysa May Barnett and Emile Larroche – is a thrilling set of adventurous, edgy, arty techno-pop. Packed with enveloping hard-hitting beats and the duo’s provocative vocal stylings, UTO’s muscular sound is deceptively nuanced, sometimes punching straight from the jump, sometimes lulling the listener into a dreamy state before unleashing huge drums and big blockbuster beats. Either way, it’s an awesome adrenaline-inducing ride. – AR

Various Artists - My Black Country: The Songs of Alice Randall (Oh Boy Records)
Nearly thirty years after Alice Randall became the first Black woman to co-write a number one country hit (Trisha Yearwood’s "XXX’s and OOO’s"), she releases her book and album, My Black Country, chronicling her career and honoring other pioneers within the genre. The album consists of covers by incredible Black women contemporaries within the country, blues and folk scenes celebrating the legacy of this trailblazer, including Adia Victoria, Rhiannon Giddens, Valerie June and Allison Russell. – CS

Jembaa Groove - Ye Ankasa | We Ourselves (Agogo)
The second album from this Berlin-based collective founded by Ghana-born percussionist/vocalist Eric Owusu and Germany-born bassist/composer Yannick Nolting is another groovy blend of traditional West African and highlife rhythms infused with classic jazz and soul touchpoints that's all complemented beautifully by Owusu's vocals that are sung in Twi, Ga, and Pidgin English. – AR

Ki! - Yong‐Gwanglo Part One (Crunchy Frog)
The second full-length album from Korea-born, Denmark-raised, Copenhagen-based multi-instrumentalist/producer Christian Ki Dall (aka Ki!) is a super eclectic, cinematic, instrumental-heavy journey through psych, surf, funk, disco, chillwave, folk, and more. The Korean word for “melting pot,” Yong-Gwanglo is indeed a diverse, colorful, and tasty offering, boasting plenty of infectious moments alongside some unique lo-fi recordings reminiscent of archival pieces from the early 1900s. Yong-Gwanglo Part Two is due out in November 2024. – AR

Louisa Stancioff - When We Were Looking (Yep Roc)
The debut album from this Maine-based singer-songwriter is a promising set of intimate, diaristic, honest folk-pop that documents a trying period in her life marked by heartbreak and uncertainty. – AR

naafi - UVA (self-released)
The debut EP from this emerging Glasgow-based artist is an impressive set of glistening electronic music that confidently blends kinetic, skittering, propulsive beats with her ethereal vocals, dreamy melodies, and warm atmospherics. – AR

Woods - Five More Flowers EP (Woodsist)
Following 2023’s Perennial, prolific Brooklyn folk-rock outfit return with a new EP featuring five additional songs recorded during those sessions. Five More Flowers delightfully drifts from note to note with some psych grooves and bright melodies, at times with a melancholy undertone, serving as an excellent companion piece to its predecessor. – CS

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