Each week KEXP's Music Director Don Yates and other KEXP DJs share brief insights on new and upcoming releases. See what's coming up this week below, including reviews for new releases from Janelle Monae, Speedy Ortiz, Forth Wanderers, and more.
Janelle Monae – Dirty Computer (Wondaland/Epic/Sony)
This Atlanta-based artist sets aside the sci-fi concepts of her first couple albums for her third and finest full-length to date. It's a much more personal set, with frank lyrics revolving around sexuality, identity, freedom, and oppression, while a strong Prince influence also runs through the album's bright, hook-filled blend of funk, R&B, hip-hop, synth-pop, and more.
Speedy Ortiz – Twerp Verse (Merge)
The excellent third album from this Northampton, MA band led by Sadie Dupuis brings more synths and brighter pop melodies to their '90s-influenced slacker-rock, while also featuring some of their most direct, politically charged lyrics to date, with Dupuis often taking dead aim at sexism and inequality.
Forth Wanderers – Forth Wanderers (Sub Pop)
This Montclair, NJ-bred band's second album is a strong set of emotive, '90s-influenced rock combining intertwining guitars and wistful melodies with Ava Trilling's aching vocals and emotionally direct, sometimes cutting lyrics of love, heartache, and independence.
Half Waif – Lavender (Cascine)
The third album from this Brooklyn artist (aka Nandi Rose Plunkett) is an impressive set of moody, classical-influenced electro-pop, with intricate arrangements featuring densely layered keyboards and atmospheric guitars accompanying her crystalline vocals and personal lyrics of love, loss, isolation, independence and the passage of time.
Cut Worms – Hollow Ground (Jagjaguwar)
The debut full-length from this Brooklyn-based artist (aka Max Clarke) is a well-crafted blend of Everly Brothers folk-pop and jangly early Beatles rock, with a warm, often-spare, and intimate sound featuring soaring harmonies and sunny melodies juxtaposed with melancholy lyrics.
Black Moth Super Rainbow – Panic Blooms (Rad Cult)
The sixth album from this Pittsburgh band led by Thomas Fec (aka Tobacco) is another fine set of sinister, disorienting psych-pop combining woozy keyboards and druggy rhythms with vocoder'ed vocals and dark lyrics revolving around modern anxiety and depression.
Okkervil River – In The Rainbow Rain (ATO)
The ninth album from this Austin band led by Will Sheff is a typically well-crafted set of literary folk-pop featuring a brighter, more playful sound than 2016's mostly somber Away, along with more colorful instrumentation and a more hopeful lyrical perspective.
Sleep – The Sciences (Third Man)
This reunited San Jose, CA-bred trio's first album in 19 years (and fourth overall) is a potent set of stoner doom-metal combining fuzz-caked guitar riffs and heavy rhythms with incantatory vocals and mystical, weed-inspired lyrics.
Trampled By Turtles – Life is Good on the Open Road (Banjodad/Thirty Tigers)
This Duluth, MN band's eighth studio album is a well-crafted set of acoustic-oriented folk-pop ranging from energetic, bluegrass-influenced tunes to wistful folk ballads.
JusMoni – Sweet to Me (self-released)
The latest album from this Seattle artist (aka Moni Tep) is a fine set of electro-soul with woozy synths and hip-hop-influenced beats accompanying her supple vocals.
Dr. Dog – Critical Equation (We Buy Gold/Thirty Tigers)
This Philadelphia band's latest album is a fine set of well-crafted psych-pop featuring a mostly dark sound along with a focus on more personal lyrics.
Jack Ladder & the Dreamlanders – Blue Poles (Terrible)
This Australian artist's fifth album is a solid set of brooding rock reminiscent at times of Nick Cave, combining a dark, noirish sound with his warm baritone.
Eternal Summers – Everyday It Feels Like I'm Dying (Nevado)
This Virginia-based band's fifth album is a bit more of a reflective, jazz-tinged take on their jangly indie-pop.
Stimulator Jones – Exotic Worlds and Masterful Treasures (Stones Throw)
The debut album from this Roanoke, VA vocalist/multi-instrumentalist (aka Sam Lunsford) is a fine set of breezy funk and R&B.
Vive la Void – Vide la Void (Sacred Bones)
Vive la Void is the solo project of Moon Duo keyboardist Sanae Yamada. Her debut album under that name is a fine set of psych-tinged space-pop featuring an eerie, densely layered and shapeshifting sound combining swirling synths and hypnotic rhythms with her ethereal vocals.
Daniel Blumberg – Minus (Mute)
The debut solo album from the former guitarist/vocalist with the British band Yuck is a fine set of dark avant-pop combining a mostly stark and glacial sound with dark lyrics revolving around lost love and mental illness.
Twin Shadow – Caer (Warner Bros./Reprise)
The fourth album from this LA-based artist (aka George Lewis Jr.) is a more brooding and downcast take on his '80s-steeped electro-pop. While it's a bit of a slog overall, a few songs stand out.
Whitney Lyman - Pain/Pleasure (self-released)
The second album from this Seattle artist (and former member of Pollens) is a fine set of dream-pop inflected with R&B, folk-pop and other styles, combining a lushly produced sound with her crystalline vocals.
Luke Winslow-King – Blue Mesa (Bloodshot)
This Cadillac, MI artist's sixth album is still steeped in the New Orleans sounds that flavored his previous albums, ranging from blues, soul, and R&B to roots-rock, country, and folk.
Ry Cooder – The Prodigal Son (Perro Verde/Fantasy)
This veteran guitarist's latest album is mostly comprised of covers of traditional gospel songs with sources ranging from the Pilgrim Travelers and Blind Willie Johnson to the Stanley Brothers and Alfred Reed. There are also three fine originals included.
Nuri Orman – Mattress Alcove (Hush Hush)
Nuri Orman is the new project of Portland-based musician Nuri Erdal, who formerly performed under the moniker of Hobbess. His debut album as Nuri Orman is a solid set of dreamy ambient pop.
Each week KEXP's Music Director Don Yates and other KEXP DJs share brief insights on new and upcoming releases. See what's coming up this week below, including reviews for new releases from Kali Uchis, Say Sue Me, A Place To Bury Strangers, and more.