New Music Reviews (6/22)

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 Let's Eat Grandma, Kamasi Washington, Gang Gang Dance, and more.

Let's Eat Grandma – I'm All Ears (Transgressive) 
This young British duo's excellent second album dramatically reinvents their sound with help from producers SOPHIE, David Wrench and The Horrors' Faris Badwan. More synth-oriented with bolder textures, I'm All Ears is an inventive blend of booming electro-pop, cinematic prog, dark psych-pop and more. — DY

Kamasi Washington – Heaven and Earth (Young Turks) 
This LA saxophonist's fifth album is an impressive set of spiritual jazz-inflected at times with R&B, funk, Latin jazz and more. Like his last album (2015's The Epic), this one's a lengthy affair with a mammoth sound featuring an orchestra and choir along with some of his longtime LA jazz collaborators. Masterfully arranged and beautifully played, the album is a powerful statement on the relationship between consciousness and collective action. — DY

Gang Gang Dance – Kazuashita (4AD) 
This New York band's sixth album (and first in seven years) is a seamless, beautifully crafted blend of psych-tinged dream-pop, ambient, electro-pop, dub and various styles from around the world, combining a lush, synth-heavy sound with Lizzi Bougatsos' ethereal vocals. — DY

DJ Healer — Nothing 2 Loose (All Possible Worlds) 
DJ Healer is a new alias from a mysterious and enigmatic artist also known as Prince of Denmark, Traumprinz, DJ Metatron, and Prime Minister of Doom. The debut album under this moniker is a masterful set of haunting, beautiful, cinematic soundscapes, expertly utilizing powerful vocal samples, slow-burning dynamics, simple-yet-hypnotizing rhythms, and lush ambient atmospheres to stunning widescreen effect. A vinyl-only release that has quickly sold out, Nothing 2 Loose is an intoxicating listen from a faceless artist whose current status quickly recalls the anonymous ascent of Burial between 2005 and 2007. — AR

SOPHIE – Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides (Transgressive/Future Classic) 
This LA-based Scottish producer's second album is an adventurous set of avant electro-pop combining warped synth sounds, jagged, often-distorted beats and bright pop melodies with processed vocals and lyrics revolving around sexuality, identity and gender fluidity. — DY

Wajatta Casual High Technology (Comedy Dynamics) 
Wajatta is a new collaboration between super talented former Seattleite Reggie Watts and Los Angeles electronic producer John Tejada. Their debut album is a top-notch set of soulful vocal-laced electro-pop that handsomely fuses Watts' dynamic and diverse vocal skills with Tejada's clean, kinetic, hypnotizing beats that sway between uptempo grooves to magnetic mid-tempo fare. — AR

The Essex Green – Hardly Electronic (Merge)
This Brooklyn-bred band's fourth album (and first in 12 years) is a well-crafted set of psych-tinged folk-pop with jangly guitars, bright keyboards, occasional strings and horns, soaring harmonies and bright melodies juxtaposed with often-melancholy lyrics exploring themes of connection and isolation. — DY

Wimps – Garbage People (Kill Rock Stars) 
This Seattle trio's third album is a smartly crafted blend of energetic post-punk, robotic New Wave, caffeinated garage-punk and more. While previous releases just featured guitar, bass and drums, they've added occasional keyboards and sax while also delivering some of their sharpest songs yet blending modern angst and irreverent humor. — DY

Proc Fiskal —​​​​​​​ Insula (Hyperdub) 
The debut full-length album from young Edinburgh, UK-based electronic producer Proc Fiskal (aka Joe Powers) is a strong set of inventive grime beats that infuse the genre with ear-grabbing samples, melodic IDM/glitch-hop intricacies, and razor-sharp production, creating an immersive and unique grime album that recalls the likes of genre torchbearers Terror Danjah and Mr. Mitch, as well as the collagist works of Prefuse 73 and The Range. — AR

Mommy Long Legs – Try Your Best (Youth Riot) 
This Seattle band's debut full-length is a fierce set of often-politically charged garage-punk combining crunchy guitars and caffeinated rhythms with in-your-face vocals and frank lyrics assailing the patriarchy. — DY

Parisalexa – Flexa EP (self-released) 
This Seattle artist quickly follows up her debut mini-album with this solid four-song mixtape of moody R&B combining warm, hip-hop-influenced beats with her limber vocals and self-assured lyrics. — DY

MorMor – Heaven's Only Wishful EP (Don't Guess) 
The debut EP from this Toronto artist (aka Seth Nyquist) is a strong five-song set blending synth-pop, R&B, disco, dream-pop and more, with an atmospheric sound combining celestial synths and moody guitars with his aching, soulful vocals and beatific melodies contrasted with often-dark lyrics. — DY

Ric Wilson – BANBA EP (Innovative Leisure) 
The third release (and Innovative Leisure debut) from Ric Wilson – a Chicago-based community activist, artist, and graduate of the legendary YCA (Young Chicago Authors), the same creative writing and poetry program that included the likes of Chance The Rapper, Vic Mensa, Mick Jenkins, Jamila Woods & Noname – is a strong set of vibrant hip-hop and sleek R&B that spotlights his playful delivery atop spacious, off-kilter beats, yielding a refreshing sound that's closely reminiscent of Aminé. — AR

Dos Santos – Logos (International Anthem Recording Co.) 
This Chicago-based band's second full-length is an expansive blend of jazz, cumbia, psych-rock, Afro-beat and more. — DY

Red Baraat – Sound the People (Rhyme & Reason) 
The fifth album from this Brooklyn band led by Sunny Jain is another energetic, party-starting blend of North Indian bhangra with jazz, funk, hip-hop, and more, with lyrics celebrating the South Asian diaspora. — DY

Neil Young – Roxy: Tonight's The Night Live (Reprise) 
This excellent previously unreleased 1973 live set from the rock legend was recorded on the opening night of the legendary LA club The Roxy and features all then-new songs that Young had written in memory of Crazy Horse guitarist Danny Whitten and roadie Bruce Berry (both of whom had recently died of drug overdoses). Almost all of the songs here would eventually end up on one of Young's darkest and most powerful albums, 1975's Tonight's The Night, but for this live set, they're presented with a warmer, more communal vibe. — DY

Bosq —​​​​​​​ Love and Resistance (Ubiquity) 
Now based in Medellin, Colombia, Boston-raised DJ/producer Bosq unveils his excellent third album of lively global grooves, blending Latin, Afro-beat, funk, disco, soul, jazz, and more styles in an infectious and cohesive manner. While his instrumental creations standout on their own, a majority of the album gets a boost from a talented roster of guest vocalists. — AR

Hana Vu – How Many Times Have You Driven By EP (Luminelle) 
This young LA artist's debut EP is a diverse, sharply crafted set ranging from moody New Wave and post-punk to R&B-tinged electro-pop and wistful torch-pop. — DY

Calpurnia – Scout EP (Royal Mountain)  
The debut EP from this young Vancouver, BC band led by Finn Wolfhard (best known for his roles in Stranger Things and It) is a smartly crafted set of jangly garage-pop. — DY

lostodysseydont mind me EP (Hush Hush) 
The third EP from this Hawaii-born, Eugene-based artist (aka Jameson Williams) is an evocative set of ambient downtempo grooves with spacious beats, atmospheric textures and fragile vocals. — DY

The Autumn Stones – Emperor Twilight (self-released)
This Toronto band's third album is a solid set of yearning post-punk reminiscent at times of The Smiths and The Go-Betweens with jangly guitars, warm sax, driving rhythms and wistful melodies. — DY

Nine Inch Nails – Bad Witch (The Null Corporation) 
The latest release from Trent Reznor & co. is a solid six-song mini-album of dark, industrial-tinged electro-rock ranging from propulsive, noise-addled industrial to more experimental ambient fare. — DY

Ivy Lab —​​​​​​​ Death Don't Always Taste Good (20/20 LDN Recordings) 
Well-known in the underground bass/club community for their sharp productions and futuristic beats that blend grime, instrumental hip-hop, and halftime styles in an intoxicating fashion, this London production outfit unveil their long-awaited debut album and it's an excellent set of progressive speaker-rattling beats, fit for both premiere sound systems and headphones. — AR

Will DiMaggio —​​​​​​​ At Ease (Future Times) 
The debut album from NYC electronic producer Will DiMaggio (aka Jaw Jam) is a strong set of jazzy leftfield house grooves full of loose rhythms, breezy melodies, and lush psych-tinged atmospherics. — AR

No Mono —​​​​​​​ Islands (Part 1) (Pieater)
The debut album from this Australian duo (Tom Snowdon and Tom Iansek) is a fantastic set of moody, spacious, brooding synth-pop distinguished by Snowdon's haunting vocals, yielding an icy, hypnotizing, downcast sound reminiscent of Majical Cloudz, James Blake, and ANOHNI. — AR

Videotapemusic —​​​​​​​ Souvenir Music (180g) 
Reminiscent of Quiet Village, The Avalanches, and Cornelius, the debut album from this young Tokyo-based musician is a heady set of psychedelic sample-heavy downtempo beats with a playful breezy streak. Carrying a heavily-textured collage aesthetic, Videotapemusic's crafty songs are based around re-purposed old Japanese and Asian VHS tapes found in dusty recycle shops and closed video stores. — AR

Baba Stiltz —​​​​​​​ Showtime EP (XL) 
This Swedish artist's latest release is a solid 4-song EP ranging from playful, R&B-tinged electro-pop to quirky left-field house. — DY

Johnny Sangster —​​​​​​​ The Moon on the Ceiling and Other Night Hags (Book) 
The debut solo album from this veteran Seattle musician/producer is a solid set of mostly spare, late-night ballads, though there's also a welcome injection of power pop. — DY

Biig Piig —​​​​​​​ Big Fan of the Sesh, Vol. 1 (self-released) 
Biig Piig is the alias of 20 year-old London-based vocalist Jess Smyth, an emerging artist who made waves last year with a few stray singles pushing a distinctive vibe that blurred seductive low-key R&B with sleepy lo-fi hip-hop instrumental beats. Her official debut EP continues to revel in this smoky and sultry territory, providing a more fleshed-out showcase for her hazy, whispery, slow-motion sound. — AR

J. James —​​​​​​​ Slow Controlled Burn (self-released) 
J. James is the latest alias of Seattle's Jordan Koplowitz, a founding member of Beat Connection who's also released solo music under the guises Fjord Morrison and J.Koplowitz. His debut album under this new alias is a nice set of groovy, vocal-laced, psych-tinged synth-pop, displaying his most band-oriented sound yet that recalls the breezy pop aesthetic of post-chillwave acts such as Chad Valley, Millionyoung, Memory Tapes, and TOPS. — AR

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