New Music Reviews (4/29)

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 Iron & Wine, St. Vincent, Bruk Rogers, and more. 

Iron & Wine - Light Verse (Sub Pop)
Sam Beam’s voice contains some kind of magic. On his seventh full-length, this cherished singer-songwriter does what he does best: tell beautiful stories, both personal and fictional, about the ups and downs of life with ornate soundscapes. Nearly half of the album features a 24-piece orchestra to enhance these prismatic songs, sweeping the listener up with every note sung, strung, plucked or otherwise, while then emphasizing the more subdued tracks that thrive in their right with a more simplistic intricacy. After more than seven years since the last Iron & Wine album, Light Verse is a triumphant return. – CS

St. Vincent - All Born Screaming (Virgin)
The inimitable Annie Clark returns with her seventh studio album, and first entirely self-produced, resulting in a confident, exploratory, singular vision. All Born Screaming finds Clark at her most artful, menacing self, with gnarly guitars, heavy synths and her signature, flawless vocals. From the first notes, she demands the listener’s attention as she takes them on a journey through her ingenious art-rock masterpiece. – CS

Bruk Rogers - Loopholes (Tru Thoughts)
Bruk Rogers is a new alias of London-based Irish electronic producer Cian McCann, an artist immersed in the UK underground electronic scene since the early 2000s releasing music under the names Zero Tolerance and Zero T. His debut full-length album under this new moniker is a stellar record of expansive, infectious, groovy broken-beat grooves inflected with hip-hop, soul, jazz, funk, reggae, and more. His productions are consistently sharp, and the vocal-laced songs featuring an eclectic cast of guest artists truly shine. – AR

Bullion - Affection (Ghostly International)
The bright and bouncy new album from UK producer and songwriter Nathan Jenkins is a brilliant showing of heartfelt synth pop. His masterful guitar work, glistening synths and killer bass lines bob and weave their way through these twelve tight tracks, and his excellent guests in Panda Bear, Carly Rae Jepsen and Charlotte Adigéry are just the perfect cherry on top of this super solid set. – CS

Corridor - Mimi (Sub Pop)
On their fourth full length, the Montreal outfit take us on a cinematic, psychedelic exploration of their intricate, melodic post-punk. Mimi is a blissed out, kaleidoscopic album with dreamy vocal harmonies, maze-like guitar work, moody synths and gripping drums, creating exhilarating textures throughout this hypnotic listen.  – CS

Hovvdy - Hovvdy (Arts & Crafts)
The self-titled double album from these Austin, TX indie-rock phenoms finds the outfit going bigger and more confidently than ever before. On their fifth album, Hovvdy have seemingly perfected their craft, offering up thrilling earworms, earnest ballads and everything in between. Their arrangements are flawless as the duo traverses through these nineteen tracks with sparkling keys, comforting guitar strums, experimental twists, and heartfelt lyricism. – CS

Justice - Hyperdrama (EdBanger/Because)
On their fourth studio album, and first in nearly eight years, the legendary French electronic duo brings the HEAT and a star-studded cast of collaborators, including Tame Impala and Thundercat. With endless funky bass lines, euphoric synths and psychedelic textures, Hyperdrama is a spaced-out FUN listen reminding fans why they fell in love with them in the first place. – CS

Asha Jefferies - Ego Ride (Nettwerk)
The debut album from Australian singer-songwriter Asha Jefferies is an emotive set of indie rock with a pop sensibility, outlining her personal experience of finding her queerness, and the highs and lows that came with it. From heart wrenching ballads to confident rockers, Ego Ride is an intimate, expressive journey of self-discovery that serves as an exceptional introduction to an artist on the rise. – CS

Babehoven - Water’s Here In You (Double Double Whammy)
The sophomore album from Hudson, NY-based duo Maya Bon and Ryan Albert – aka Babehoven – is a delicate, intimate folk-rock record with delectable guitar tones and heart wrenching lyricism. This emotional, understated collection was crafted with such care and intentionality, allowing these dreamy, slowcore gems to really sink in. – CS

Bad Bad Hats - Bad Bad Hats (Don Giovanni)
On their fourth full length, the Minneapolis outfit deliver earworm after earworm with their signature indie pop sound. The self-titled album consists largely of big, bright up-tempo jams with excellent guitar riffs and driving bass, punctuated with some darker, synth driven cuts, resulting in a compelling listen. – CS

IYAMAH - In Two Worlds (self-released)
The debut album from Brighton-born, London-based vocalist and songwriter IYAMAH is an impressive set of expansive alternative R&B with an earthy 90s-influenced spirit and a boom-bap undercurrent that introduces another exciting new name into UK’s underground R&B scene. – AR

Joh Chase - SOLO (Kill Rock Stars)
The official debut full-length album from this Seattle-raised, LA-based singer-songwriter is an impressive set of earnest, rootsy, catchy indie pop/rock that spotlights their sharp songwriting talents and deceptively expansive sound. A pure showcase of their DIY ethos that has found them opening for David Bazan and Noah Gunderson, ‘SOLO’ is a dynamic effort that feels both classic and of-the-moment as it chronicles a “lifetime of writing, losing, loving, and doing it all yourself.” – AR

Kindsight - No Shame No Fame (Rama Lama)
The second album from this Copenhagen-based four-piece band fronted by Nina Hyldgaard Rasmussen is a knockout set of propulsive, enveloping, addictive indie pop with a fuzzy, wall-of-sound, shoegaze-tinted streak that’s full of big guitars, dreamy melodies, airy vocals, and surging rhythms.  – AR

Maria Chiara Argirò - Closer (Innovative Leisure)
The scintillating new album from this London-based multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer is a captivating showcase of a full spectrum of electronic music while incorporating elements of jazz and experimental pop. The dreamy quality achieved by her exquisite synth work paired with dynamic drum programming make this both a soothing and urgent listen. – CS

Maxband - On Ice (Holm Front)
The Brooklyn quartet fronted by Parquet Courts’ Max Savage and A Beacon School’s Patrick Smith serve up melodic indie-rock with dynamic guitars, a punk ethos and hooks for days. This debut album certainly solidifies Maxband as more than just a side project, with each member playing a key part in their tight post-punk sound. – CS

Parsnip - Behold (Anti Fade/Upset the Rhythm)
The second album from this Melbourne-based four-piece – Paris Richens, Carolyn Hawkins, Stella Rennex, Rebecca Liston – is a sharp set of punchy, charming, pop-minded post-punk, garage punk, and DIY indie jams full of propulsive rhythms, angular arrangements, sweet melodies, soaring vocals, rad basslines, and some delightful saxophone-fueled moments. – AR

porij - Teething (Play It Again Sam)
The debut album from the UK outfit is a stunning display of organic electronic music with beautiful atmospherics, raw lyricism, airy vocals and shining production. Their fusion of drum and bass and indie pop/rock with infectious grooves makes a lasting impression. – CS

Sega Bodega - Dennis (ambient tweets)
Sega Bodega is the alias of London-based musician Salvador Navarrete, an innovative electronic producer and composer who has worked closely with shygirl and contributed official remixes for Björk, Caroline Polachek, Mura Masa, Dawn Richard, and more. His latest full-length album is an adventurous set of visionary synth-pop that filters his club-oriented roots through a futuristic pop prism, yielding his boldest and best work to date. – AR

Wine Lips - Super Mega Ultra (The Reverberation Appreciation Society/Levitation)
The fourth album from Toronto rockers Wine Lips is a hard-hitting journey through psych, garage and punk rock with ripping guitars and plenty of fuzz and swagger. Aptly titled, Super Mega Ultra is big and rebellious, and brings a lot to the table for psych rock fans to eat up. – CS

Annie-Claude Deschênes - LES MANIÈRES DE TABLE (Italians Do It Better)
The solo debut album from Montreal-based artist Annie-Claude Deschênes (aka Pauline Marois, formerly a member of Duchess Says and PyPy) is a promising set of arty synth-pop heavily informed by No Wave, Electroclash, New Wave, techno, and post-punk. With its sleek, fashionable, and nostalgia-soaked sound, this record feels right at home on Johnny Jewels’ label Italians Do It Better. – AR

Pet Shop Boys - Nonetheless (Parlophone)
The 15th studio album from this influential British duo is another confident set of symphonic synth-pop featuring triumphant disco/house anthems and a few tender ballads that touch upon the power of dancing and getting lost on the dancefloor in times of happiness and, maybe even more importantly, amidst heartbreak and loneliness. – AR

Wisp - Pandora EP (Music Soup/Interscope)
The debut EP from San Francisco musician on the rise, Wisp, is an impressive set of maximalist shoegaze with big walls of sound, effective distortions and hazy vocals, showcasing an artist whose love of the genre runs deep. – CS

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