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new kexp album reviews

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New Album Reviews:

TRAAMS: Modern Dancing
Buy! - (FatCat)
This British trio’s second album is a strong set of taut, urgent post-punk. Produced by Hookworms’ MJ, the album combines chunky, distortion-laced guitars and driving, sometimes motorik rhythms with angsty lyrics and anthemic song hooks. 11/20/2015 - Don Yates

Club 8: Pleasure
Buy! - (Labrador)
This Swedish duo’s ninth album is a fine set of moody electro-pop with atmospheric keyboards and propulsive rhythms accompanying Karolina Komstedt’s siren vocals and Johan Angergard’s often-dark lyrics of love falling apart. 11/20/2015 - Don Yates

Other Club 8 album reviews:

The People's Record - 5/10/2010
Spring Came, Rain Fell - 2/15/2002

Nadia Reid: Listen To Formation, Look For The Signs
Buy! - (Spunk/Scissor Tail)
This young New Zealand artist’s debut album is a promising set of mostly acoustic-oriented folk-pop reminiscent at times of Laura Marling, combining acoustic and occasional electric guitars and other instrumentation with her warm alto and finely chiseled, at times brutally honest lyrics. 11/20/2015 - Don Yates

Cool Uncle: Cool Uncle
Buy! - (Fresh Young Minds/EMPIRE)
Cool Uncle is the new project from veteran soul singer Bobby Caldwell and producer Jack Splash. Their debut album under that name is a beautifully crafted set of ‘80s-steeped soul inflected with funk, hip hop, rock and more, combining spacious production with Caldwell’s silky-smooth vocals. 11/20/2015 - Don Yates

Pale Noise: Some Crude Grace
Buy! - (Swoon)
The debut album from this band led by ex-Wallpaper frontman Spencer Kelley is a rock-solid set of glam-inflected pop-rock with a variety of well-crafted songs combining sharp musicianship with catchy pop hooks. 11/13/2015 - Don Yates

Buy! - (Warp)
This Scottish producer’s third album is an impressive set of ecstatic electronic grooves incorporating elements of hip hop, dubstep and other styles, featuring a densely produced sound with bright, glittering synths, busy, intricate rhythms and chopped and manipulated vocal samples. 11/13/2015 - Don Yates

Other Rustie album reviews:

Green Language - 8/22/2014

Grimes: Art Angels
Buy! - (4AD)
The excellent fourth album from this Montreal-via-Vancouver, BC artist (aka Claire Boucher) is her most brightly melodic and also her most aggressive-sounding release, featuring a cleaner, more luminous sound for her adventurous dance-pop while also incorporating a variety of live instrumentation and unusual textures on intricately crafted songs that juxtapose soaring melodies with dark lyrics. 11/6/2015 - Don Yates

Other Grimes album reviews:

Visions - 2/17/2012

Wimps: Suitcase
Buy! - (Kill Rock Stars)
This Seattle trio’s second full-length is their sharpest set yet of stripped-down garage-punk with angular guitars, driving rhythms, angsty vocals and often-sardonic lyrics. 11/6/2015 - Don Yates

Car Seat Headrest: Teens Of Style
Buy! - (Matador)
Prolific young artist Will Toledo (aka Car Seat Headrest) has released 11 albums on his own through Bandcamp since 2010 while living in his hometown of Leesburg, VA. He moved to Seattle last year and is now releasing his official label debut album. The album reworks 11 songs from his extensive Bandcamp catalog with help from a new backing band (this also marks the first time he’s recorded with a full band). The end result is an emotionally powerful set of lo-fi rock ranging from moody psych-pop and synth-pop to raging punk, with consistently strong, smartly written songs juxtaposing sunny melodies with often-dark and wry lyrics of frustration, loneliness and alienation. 10/30/2015 - Don Yates

EL VY: Return To The Moon
Buy! - (4AD)
The debut album from this collaboration pairing The National frontman Matt Berninger with Brent Knopf of Ramona Falls (and formerly with Menomena) is a sharply crafted blend of playful funk-inflected rock and moody, atmospheric ballads. 10/30/2015 - Don Yates

Martin Courtney: Many Moons
Buy! - (Domino)
The debut solo album from the lead singer/guitarist for Real Estate is an often-gorgeous set of breezy, ‘70s-influenced psych-pop with a warm sound featuring acoustic and gently ringing electric guitars, atmospheric keyboards, occasional strings and unhurried rhythms accompanying his wistful vocals and reflective lyrics. 10/30/2015 - Don Yates

Sports: All of Something
Buy! - (Father/Daughter)
The second (and final) album from this Gambier, OH-bred band is a first-rate set of punkish power-pop with jangly guitars, energetic rhythms, emotive vocals and bright pop hooks. 10/30/2015 - Don Yates

Other Sports album reviews:

Sports - 4/29/2011

Escort: Animal Nature
Buy! - (Escort)
This large New York band’s second full-length is another impressive set of slinky house and disco grooves with bright synths, funky guitars, occasional strings and horns, propulsive rhythms and Adeline Michele’s warm, confident vocals. 10/30/2015 - Don Yates

Other Escort album reviews:

Escort - 11/23/2011

Beat Connection: Product 3
Buy! - (Anti-)
This Seattle band’s second full-length is an first-rate set of sleek electro-pop inflected with New Wave, R&B, funk and other styles, with consistently strong songs featuring bright synths, jangly guitars, shimmering melodies and propulsive rhythms accompanying Tom Eddy’s breezy, soulful vocals. 10/23/2015 - Don Yates

Other Beat Connection album reviews:

The Palace Garden - 8/8/2012
Surf Noir EP - 7/16/2010

Joanna Newsom: Divers
Buy! - (Drag City)
This LA-based artist’s fourth album is her most focused and accessible effort, with 11 smartly crafted, relatively concise songs of expansive, intricately arranged chamber folk-pop incorporating elements of classical, psych-rock, traditional folk ballads, ragtime and more. Her elastic, warbling soprano is a bit more restrained than on previous albums, helping to bring greater emphasis to her evocative, densely packed lyrics reflecting on love, loss, mortality and the passage of time. 10/23/2015 - Don Yates

Fuzz: II
Buy! - (In The Red)
The second album from this California trio comprised of Ty Segall on vocals and drums, Moonhearts’ Charlie Moothart on guitar and Meatbodies’ Chad Ubovich on bass is another ferocious set of primal stoner-rock a la Black Sabbath and Blue Cheer with grungy guitar riffs, muscular rhythms, sneering vocals and dystopian lyrics. 10/23/2015 - Don Yates

Other Fuzz album reviews:

Fuzz - 9/27/2013

Sun Club: The Dongo Durango
Buy! - (ATO)
This Baltimore band’s debut full-length is a colorful set of exuberant, percussion-driven psych-pop with ringing guitars, energetic, time-shifting rhythms, yelping vocals, hand claps and sunny pop hooks. 10/23/2015 - Don Yates

Beach Slang: The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us
Buy! - (Polyvinyl)
This Philadelphia band’s debut album is an impressive set of anthemic Replacements rock with crunchy guitar riffs, driving rhythms, impassioned vocals, underdog lyrics and massive song hooks. 10/23/2015 - Don Yates

The Yawpers: American Man
Buy! - (Bloodshot)
This Denver band’s second album is an impressive set of punkish roots-rock combining loud electric guitars and energetic rhythms with slide guitars and occasional acoustic instrumentation on smartly crafted, sometimes politically charged songs ranging from anthemic rockers to dynamic ballads. 10/23/2015 - Don Yates

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Paper Mache Dream Balloon
Buy! - (ATO)
This Melbourne, Australia seven-piece band’s seventh album finds them going all-acoustic with a sweet set of gentle psych-pop combining a colorful blend of acoustic guitars, flute, harmonica, piano, fiddle, clarinet and more with often-dark lyrics and whimsical melodies. 10/23/2015 - Don Yates