New Music Reviews (5/25)

Album Reviews

Each week KEXP's Music Director Don Yates shares brief insights on new and upcoming releases. See what's coming up this week below, including reviews for new releases from Thunderpussy, Fatoumata Diawara, A$AP Rocky, and more.

Thunderpussy – Thunderpussy (Stardog/Republic)
This Seattle band's debut album is a potent set of '70s-steeped hard rock with crunchy guitars, pummeling rhythms and wailing vocals, though the band occasionally slows down for some fine reflective ballads.

Fatoumata Diawara – Fenfo "Something To Say" (Shanachie)
This Malian vocalist's second album is more expansive and electric than her more folk-oriented 2011 debut album Fatou, with electric and acoustic guitars, cello, subtle synths and propulsive rhythms along with traditional West African instrumentation like kora and ngoni accompanying her husky, agile vocals and lyrics of migration and identity.

A$AP Rocky – Testing (RCA) 
This New York rapper's third regular studio album is a strong set of expansive hip hop combining a woozy, bass-heavy sound flavored with lots of creative samples with his swagger-heavy rhymes. The album's impressive guest list includes Frank Ocean, FKA twigs, Dev Hynes, Skepta, Moby and other notables.

Kadhja Bonet – Childqueen (Fat Possum) 
This LA-based artist's second album is a beautifully crafted blend of woozy psych-pop, lush chamber-pop, and astral soul. Written, produced, mixed and mostly played by Bonet herself, the album combines an ethereal, atmospheric sound with her powerful, acrobatic vocals.

Pinkshinyultrablast – Miserable Miracles (Club AC30) 
This Saint Petersburg, Russia band's third album mostly leaves behind the distorted shoegazer guitars of their first couple albums in favor of a sleeker, synth-oriented dream-pop sound combining sparkling synths with driving rhythms and ethereal vocals.

Lithics – Mating Surfaces (Kill Rock Stars) 
This Portland band's second album is a potent set of jittery post-punk with angular guitar riffs and jagged rhythms accompanying Aubrey Hornor's intoned vocals and often-absurdist lyrics.

Ocean Hope – Rolling Days (Hush Hush) 
The debut full-length from the Greek brother-and-sister duo of Angeliki and Serafim Tsotsonis is a well-crafted set of atmospheric, psych-tinged dream-pop combining woozy synths, chiming guitars and driving rhythms with ethereal vocals and lyrics of love, connection, and resilience.

Sudan Archives – Sink EP (Stones Throw) 
The second EP from this LA-based vocalist/violinist (aka Brittney Parks) is another mesmerizing blend of Northeast African folk violin with looped electronic beats and textures along with her breathy, soulful vocals.

Brownout – Fear of a Brown Planet (Fat Beats) 
The sixth album from this Austin band transforms a variety of iconic Public Enemy songs into tight Latin-funk instrumentals. While nothing here is as earthshaking as the originals, it's all worth checking out.

The Love-Birds – In The Lover's Corner (Trouble In Mind) 
This San Francisco band's debut album is a fine set of jangly, '90s-steeped power pop reminiscent at times of Teenage Fanclub.

Maps & Atlases – Lightlessness Is Nothing New (Barsuk) 
This Chicago band's third album (and first in six years) is a fine set of '80s-steeped prog-pop combining ringing guitars, bright keyboards and propulsive beats with lyrics revolving around love and loss.

Tancred – Nightstand (Polyvinyl) 
The fourth Tancred album from former Now, Now guitarist Jess Abbott is a well-crafted set ranging from fizzy, '90s-steeped power-pop to stark, intimate folk-pop.

Jo Passed – Their Prime (Sub Pop) 
The debut full-length from this Vancouver, BC band led by Jo Hirabayashi is an intriguing blend of skewed psych-pop and grungy post-punk that combines fuzzy guitars and shape-shifting rhythms with lyrics revolving around issues of gentrification and identity.

Phil Cook – People Are My Drug (Psychic Hotline/Thirty Tigers) 
The third solo album from this Durham, NC-based member of Megafaun and Hiss Golden Messenger is a soulful, well-crafted blend of roots-rock, New Orleans R&B, gospel, blues, folk and other styles, with the songs often revolving around hope and community.

Modern Studies – Welcome Stranger (Fire) 
This Scottish band's second album is a beautifully crafted set of chamber folk-pop, with adventurous arrangements featuring jangly guitars, soaring horns, and lush strings along with Mellotron, harmonium, tape loops and more accompanying the dual lead vocals of Emily Scott and Rob St. John.

Planes on Paper – Edge Markings (Rainwater) 
This Yakima duo's debut album is a well-crafted set of acoustic-oriented folk-pop with a hushed, intimate sound featuring delicate finger-picked guitar, occasional strings, warm harmonies and often-dark lyrics.

Beach Skulls – Las Dunas (PNKSLM) 
This British band's second album is a potent blend of hazy psych-rock, surf, and garage-rock, combining jangly guitars with sun-baked melodies.

TT – LoveLaws (self-released) 
TT is the new project from Warpaint guitarist Theresa Wayman. Her debut album under that name is a fine set of brooding dream-pop with an atmospheric sound combining keyboards, occasional guitars and forceful, downtempo beats with intimate lyrics revolving around connection and isolation.

Pleasures – Softly Wait (self-released) 
This Seattle duo's second album is an intoxicating set of dreamy, '80s-steeped yacht-pop with shimmering keyboards, atmospheric guitars, smooth sax, seductive vocals and slinky pop hooks.

Sam Evian – You, Forever (Saddle Creek) 
The second solo album from the former frontman for Brooklyn band Celestial Shore is a solid set of warm, '70s-steeped folk-pop.

Chad Valley – Imaginary Music (Cascine) 
The third album from this British DJ/producer (aka Hugo Manuel) is a solid set of smooth, '80s-steeped electro-pop with shimmering synths, yearning vocals, and wistful melodies.

Dear Nora – Skulls Example (Orindal) 
The fourth album (and first in 12 years) from this Portland-based project led by Katy Davidson is a fine set of folk-tinged indie-pop combining a sparse sound comprised of jangly guitar, atmospheric synths and stark beats with lyrics of resilience and the passage of time.

Wand – Perfume EP (Drag City)
This LA band's latest EP is a fine set of expansive, prog-tinged psych-rock.

Chvrches – Love Is Dead (Glassnote)
This Scottish trio's third album finds them working with outside producers for the first time (including mainstream pop types Greg Kurstin and Steve Mac), and the end results are disappointing, pairing a slick and melodramatic over-produced sound with bludgeoning song hooks and repetitive, platitude-filled lyrics.

Eggshells – Promises (Mammal Trouble) 
The second album from this Seattle trio comprised of Peter Verdoes (In Praise of Folly), Benjamin Verdoes (Iska Dhaaf, Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band) and newcomer Sarah Han is an adventurous set of brooding electro-pop.

The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices – BooCheeMish (Prophecy) 
Formerly known as Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares, this acclaimed Bulgarian vocal choir is back with their first album of new studio recordings in over 20 years. It's an often-gorgeous blend of Bulgarian folk with various other styles, combining a variety of traditional and modern instrumentation with the choir's haunting vocals. Dead Can Dance's Lisa Gerrard also joins them on four songs.

Eli Paperboy Reed – Eli Paperboy Reed Meets High & Mighty Brass Band (Yep Roc) 
This Brooklyn-based artist's sixth album features accompaniment from Brooklyn's High & Mighty Brass Band, and they provide him with a boisterous, horn-driven sound for his '60s-inspired blend of soul, funk & R&B.

Related News & Reviews

Album Reviews

New Music Reviews (5/18)

Each week KEXP's Music Director Don Yates and DJ Alex Ruder share brief insights on new and upcoming releases. See what's coming up this week below, including reviews for new releases from Parquet CourtsCourtney Barnett, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, and more.

Read More
Click anywhere to return to the site