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new kexp album reviews

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New Album Reviews:

Shamir: Ratchet
Buy! - (XL)
This 20-year-old Las Vegas artist’s debut album is a masterful blend of R&B, funk, house, disco, hip hop, post-punk and electro-pop, featuring a variety of bright, sharply crafted songs with often-sparse accompaniment that puts a spotlight on his elastic, androgynous vocals and intimate lyrics. 5/15/2015 - Don Yates

Hot Chip: Why Make Sense?
Buy! - (Domino)
This British group’s sixth album is another smartly crafted set of hook-filled electro-pop inflected with funk, R&B, disco, house, post-punk, prog and other styles. The first Hot Chip album to be recorded live in the studio, Why Make Sense? sports a natural sound combining bright analog synths, sleek guitars and propulsive rhythms with Alexis Taylor’s vulnerable crooning and heartfelt lyrics. 5/15/2015 - Don Yates

Other Hot Chip album reviews:

In Our Heads - 6/8/2012
Made in the Dark - 1/18/2008
The Warning - 6/6/2006

Du Blonde: Welcome Back To Milk
Buy! - (Mute)
Du Blonde is the new project of British artist Beth Jeans Houghton. While her previous album released under her own name was orchestral avant-pop, the debut full-length from her new project is a more primal blend of brooding, bluesy rock a la PJ Harvey with wistful glam-pop and stately piano-driven ballads. Produced by Jim Sclavunos of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, the album features a muscular rock sound to hammer home Houghton’s often-cutting lyrics attacking sexism and misogyny. 5/15/2015 - Don Yates

Vaadat Charigim: Sinking As A Stone
Buy! - (Burger)
This Israeli trio’s second album is another excellent set of shoegazer psych-rock blended with moody post-punk and atmospheric dream-pop, combining loud, effects-drenched guitars with gloomy vocals, Hebrew lyrics and melancholy melodies. 5/15/2015 - Don Yates

Other Vaadat Charigim album reviews:

The World Is Well Lost - 11/22/2013

Unknown Mortal Orchestra: Multi-Love
Buy! - (Jagjaguwar)
The third album from this Portland band led by New Zealand expatriate Ruban Nielson is an adventurous, impressive blend of prog-rock, psych-pop, funk and R&B, with a variety of densely textured songs featuring spacy synths, atmospheric guitars, jagged rhythms, magnetic song hooks and oblique lyrics about a complicated relationship. 5/15/2015 - Don Yates

Thee Oh Sees: Mutilator Defeated At Last
Buy! - (Castle Face)
The ninth album from this LA-via-San Francisco band led by John Dwyer is another first-rate, adventurous blend of raw garage-rock, mind-bending psych-rock and a bit of acoustic folk-rock. 5/15/2015 - Don Yates

Other Thee Oh Sees album reviews:

Drop - 4/25/2014
Singles Collection Volume 3 - 11/27/2013
Floating Coffin - 4/5/2013
Carrion Crawler/The Dream EP - 11/18/2011

Tanlines: Highlights
Buy! - (True Panther)
This Brooklyn duo’s second album downplays the prominent tropical influences that colored their debut album in favor of a warmer, more laid-back sound with dreamy synths, gently chiming guitars and wistful melodies. 5/15/2015 - Don Yates

Fool's Gold: Flying Lessons
Buy! - (ORG Music)
The third album from this LA band is a confident, well-executed blend of various African and Caribbean styles with funk, psych and folk-pop, combining jangly guitars with percolating rhythms and sunny melodies. 5/15/2015 - Don Yates

Other Fool's Gold album reviews:

Leave No Trace - 7/26/2011

Ceremony: The L-Shaped Man
Buy! - (Matador)
This Rohnert Park, CA band’s fifth album finds them continuing to move away from their hardcore punk roots and straight towards brooding, Joy Division-style post-punk with astringent guitars, rubbery bass lines, gloomy baritone vocals and dark lyrics of a busted relationship. 5/15/2015 - Don Yates

Other Ceremony album reviews:

Zoo - 3/2/2012
Rocket Fire - 5/14/2010

Joanna Gruesome: Peanut Butter
Buy! - (Slumberland)
This Cardiff, Wales band’s second album is a strong set of ‘90s-influenced noise-pop with loud, scuzzy guitars, energetic rhythms, sugary pop hooks and Alanna McArdle’s mostly soft and ethereal though sometimes shouted vocals. 5/15/2015 - Don Yates

Other Joanna Gruesome album reviews:

Weird Sister - 8/30/2013

Flyying Colours: EPX2
Buy! - (Shelflife)
This new release combines this Australian band’s 2013 self-titled debut EP with their brand-new EP ROYGBIV. Both are stellar examples of loud, shoegazer psych-rock with walls of distortion-drenched guitars, driving rhythms, ethereal vocals and dreamy pop melodies. 5/15/2015 - Don Yates

The Living Eyes: Living Large
Buy! - (Agitated)
This Australian band’s second album is a strong set of ‘60s-steeped garage-rock incorporating elements of surf, psych-rock and other styles with a potent blend of crunchy, fuzz-encrusted guitars, energetic rhythms and catchy pop hooks. 5/15/2015 - Don Yates

Axel Krygier: Hombre de Piedra
Buy! - (Crammed Discs)
This Argentine artist’s fifth album is a playful, adventurous blend of a dizzying variety of musical styles, incorporating everything from cumbia, tropicalia, reggae and Balkan folk to psych-rock, electro-pop, funk, lounge, spaghetti western and much more. Along with the musical eclecticism, it’s also a concept album about a caveman speed-traveling through the entire history of mankind. 5/8/2015 - Don Yates

The Helio Sequence: The Helio Sequence
Buy! - (Sub Pop)
This Portland duo’s sixth album is another impeccably crafted set of atmospheric pop-rock with shimmering guitars, ethereal synths, hazy vocals, soaring harmonies and sparkling song hooks. 5/8/2015 - Don Yates

Other Helio Sequence album reviews:

Negotiations - 9/7/2012
Love and Distance - 5/24/2004
Young Effectuals - 10/15/2001
Com Plex - 9/15/2000

Crocodiles: Boys
Buy! - (Zoo)
This San Diego duo’s fifth album was recorded in Mexico City with production by Martin Thulin (lead singer of Mexican band Los Fancy-Free), and he brings some occasional Latin rhythms along with some other subtle Latin touches to their hook-filled blend of fuzzy, shoegazerish psych-rock and energetic garage-rock. 5/8/2015 - Don Yates

Other Crocodiles album reviews:

Crimes of Passion - 8/23/2013

Sick Sad World: Fear and Lies
Buy! - (Help Yourself)
The debut album from this Seattle band spearheaded by Jake Jones is a promising set of lo-fi, punkish power-pop inflected with surf, beach-pop, doo wop and other styles, combining raw, rumbling guitars and energetic rhythms with wry lyrics and an abundance of bright pop hooks. 5/8/2015 - Don Yates

Various Artists: The Alchemist + Oh No Present: Welcome To Los Santos
Buy! - (Rockstar/Mass Appeal)
Hip hop producers The Alchemist and Oh No teamed up for this genre-blending album inspired by the music they composed (along with Tangerine Dream and Woody Jackson) for the video game Grand Theft Auto V. They recruited a stellar supporting cast including Future Islands’ Samuel T. Herring, TV On The Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe, Freddie Gibbs, Phantogram, Earl Sweatshirt, Wavves, Killer Mike, Ariel Pink, Danny Brown, Action Bronson, Little Dragon, Aloe Blacc and other notables to help flesh out a cinematic blend of hip hop, rock, electro-pop, R&B, dancehall and more. 5/8/2015 - Don Yates

Other Various Artists album reviews:

Cut Copy presents: Oceans Apart - 11/21/2014
All Your Friend's Friends - 11/21/2014
Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell - 10/10/2014
After Dark 2 - 5/24/2013

Warm Soda: Symbolic Dream
Buy! - (Castle Face)
The second album from this Austin-via-Oakland band spearheaded by ex-Bare Wires frontman Matthew Melton is another smartly crafted blend of catchy power pop and buzzing garage rock with melodic guitar riffs, energetic rhythms and sparkling pop hooks. 5/1/2015 - Don Yates

Other Warm Soda album reviews:

Warm Soda - 2/15/2013

Hiatus Kaiyote: Choose Your Weapon
Buy! - (Flying Buddha/Sony Music Masterworks)
This Australian band’s second album is an expansive set of adventurous, jazz-tinged soul and funk, featuring a warm, shape-shifting sound combining a variety of acoustic and electronic instrumentation with intricate polyrhythms and Nai Palm’s elastic vocals. 5/1/2015 - Don Yates

Other Hiatus Kaiyote album reviews:

Tawk Tomahawk - 8/16/2013

Banditos: Banditos
Buy! - (Bloodshot)
This Nashville-via-Birmingham, AL band’s official debut album is an impressive set of roadhouse roots-rock with a gritty, diverse sound blending elements of rollicking garage-rock, John Lee Hooker boogie blues, garage-soul, vintage hokum, country-tinged folk-rock and more. 5/1/2015 - Don Yates

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