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new kexp album reviews

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New Album Reviews:

Todd Terje: It's Album Time
Buy! - (Olsen)
This Norwegian producer’s debut full-length is an adventurous, irreverent blend of space disco, motorik prog, jazz-funk, ‘60s lounge, samba and more, featuring playful, masterfully constructed songs fleshed out with colorful synths, propulsive beats and effervescent melodies along with occasional lush strings, guitars, pianos, woodwinds, live drums and other instrumentation. 4/11/2014 - Don Yates

EMA: The Future's Void
Buy! - (Matador)
This second album from this South Dakota-raised, California-based artist (aka Erika M. Anderson) is an emotionally intense blend of industrial rock and moody grunge, combining buzzing electronics, clanging guitars and distorted, tremulous vocals on hard-hitting songs exploring the alienating effects of modern technology, online identity and internet surveillance. 4/11/2014 - Don Yates

Chad VanGaalen: Shrink Dust
Buy! - (Sub Pop)
This Calgary artist’s fifth album is one of this strongest sets yet of spacy psych-folk, featuring a warped sound with acoustic and electric guitars, aluminum pedal steel and more, along with folk-rock harmonies, eerie lead vocals and often-surreal lyrics. 4/11/2014 - Don Yates

Other Chad VanGaalen album reviews:

Infiniheart - 8/16/2005

Karol Conka: Batuk Freak
Buy! - (Mr. Bongo)
This Brazilian rapper’s debut album is an impressive, hard-hitting blend of hip hop, baile funk, batucada and other styles, combining trap rhythms, bright synths, booming bass and her fiery delivery with Afro-Brazilian percussion and other traditional Brazilian instrumentation for a sound that’s both deeply rooted and ultra-modern. 4/11/2014 - Don Yates

Fear Of Men: Loom
Buy! - (Kanine)
This British band’s official debut full-length is a promising set of dark dream-pop with an atmospheric sound juxtaposing catchy pop melodies with bleak lyrics of loneliness, boredom and anxiety. 4/11/2014 - Don Yates

Other Fear Of Men album reviews:

Early Fragments - 1/25/2013

Woods: With Light and With Love
Buy! - (Woodsist)
The eighth album from this New York band finds them continuing to sharpen their song craft while polishing their sound on a consistently strong set of songs ranging from brightly colored pastoral pop to torrid psych-rock jams. 4/4/2014 - Don Yates

Other Woods album reviews:

Bend Beyond - 9/14/2012
Sun and Shade - 6/10/2011
At Echo Lake - 5/10/2010

Protomartyr: Under Color of Official Right
Buy! - (Hardly Art)
This Detroit band’s second album is an impressive set of bleak post-punk featuring a dark, astringent sound with angular guitars, taut rhythms and acerbic lyrics. 4/4/2014 - Don Yates

Wye Oak: Shriek
Buy! - (Merge)
This Baltimore duo recasts their sound for their fourth album, leaving behind guitars for a strong set of dreamy electro-pop with bright cascading synths and piano, stately bass lines and mostly mid-tempo rhythms accompanying Jenn Wasner’s supple alto and lyrics of loss and renewal. 4/4/2014 - Don Yates

Other Wye Oak album reviews:

Civilian - 2/25/2011

Bobby Bare Jr's Young Criminals' Starvation League: Undefeated
Buy! - (Bloodshot)
The latest album from this Nashville artist is a diverse, expertly crafted set of break-up songs ranging from distortion-drenched rockers and jangly power-pop to moody, tension-filled rock and melancholy roots-tinged ballads. 4/4/2014 - Don Yates

Sohn: Tremors
Buy! - (4AD)
The debut album from this London-born, Vienna-based producer/vocalist (aka Toph Taylor) is an impressive set of brooding post-dubstep soul reminiscent at times of James Blake and Rhye, featuring a dark, atmospheric sound combining intricate electronic rhythms and analog synths with his soulful falsetto and lovelorn lyrics. 4/4/2014 - Don Yates

Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks: Enter The Slasher House
Buy! - (Domino)
This Brooklyn band led by Animal Collective’s Avey Tare and also featuring former Dirty Projectors bassist Angel Deradoorian and former Ponytail drummer Jeremy Hyman debuts with an adventurous album of off-kilter, shape-shifting psych-pop with a murky, densely produced sound featuring buzzing guitars, funhouse keyboards, busy drums, strained, manipulated vocals and half-buried pop hooks. 4/4/2014 - Don Yates

Jessica Lea Mayfield: Make My Head Sing...
Buy! - (ATO)
The third album from this Kent, OH singer-songwriter recasts her atmospheric folk-pop into something darker and heavier. Featuring a stripped-down, primal rock-band sound, the album combines thick, grungy guitars and muscular rhythms with Mayfield’s sultry deadpan vocals and dark, often-seedy lyrics. 4/4/2014 - Don Yates

Other Jessica Lea Mayfield album reviews:

Tell Me - 2/1/2011
With Blasphemy So Heartfelt - 7/28/2008

Saintseneca: Dark Arc
Buy! - (Anti-)
The second album from this Columbus, OH band led by Zac Little is a smartly crafted set of stirring, expansive folk-pop combining a wide variety of acoustic and electric instrumentation with buoyant harmonies juxtaposed by often-dark lyrics of alienation. 4/4/2014 - Don Yates

Cloud Nothings: Here And Nowhere Else
Buy! - (Carpark)
The fourth album from this Cleveland trio led by Dylan Baldi is a ferocious, consistently engaging set of anthemic punk-pop with raw, distorted guitars, relentless driving rhythms, strained vocals, angst-filled lyrics and an abundance of memorable song hooks. 3/28/2014 - Don Yates

Other Cloud Nothings album reviews:

Attack On Memory - 1/23/2012
Cloud Nothings - 1/28/2011
Turning On - 10/22/2010

Mac DeMarco: Salad Days
Buy! - (Captured Tracks)
This Brooklyn-based Canadian artist’s second full-length is his finest effort yet of psych-tinged slacker-pop with a hazy, off-kilter sound featuring gently chiming guitars, loping rhythms, casual, cigarette-stained crooning, dreamy melodies and reflective lyrics of youthful indulgence. 3/28/2014 - Don Yates

Other Mac DeMarco album reviews:

2 - 11/2/2012

The Afghan Whigs: Do to the Beast
Buy! - (Sub Pop)
The veteran rockers reunited for a tour last year, and now they’re back with their first album in 16 years. It’s a strong return-to-form of brooding, soul-inflected rock with atmospheric guitars and keyboards and occasional strings accompanying Greg Dulli’s husky vocals and dark, often-ominous lyrics of degeneration and mortality. 3/28/2014 - Don Yates

Other Afghan Whigs album reviews:

Black Love - 2/15/1996

De Lux: Voyage
Buy! - (Innovative Leisure)
This LA duo’s debut full-length is a fun set of New Waveish disco/funk that’s strongly reminiscent at times of Talking Heads and LCD Soundsystem, featuring bright synths, sleek guitars, propulsive rhythms and catchy song hooks. 3/28/2014 - Don Yates

Future Islands: Singles
Buy! - (4AD)
This Baltimore trio’s fourth album is a masterful set of impassioned, ‘80s-steeped electro-pop with glittering synths, streamlined guitars and driving rhythms accompanying Samuel T. Herring’s dramatic, emotion-wracked vocals. 3/21/2014 - Don Yates

Other Future Islands album reviews:

In Evening Air - 4/9/2010

Chimurenga Renaissance: riZe vadZimu riZe
Buy! - (Brick Lane)
This Seattle duo comprised of Shabazz Palaces multi-instrumentalist Baba Maraire along with Hussein Kalonji debuts with an adventurous, hard-hitting set of avant hip hop incorporating elements of Zimbabwean chimurenga, dub, dancehall, funk and more. Mixed by Erik Blood, the album combines woozy, densely produced beats with politically charged rhymes. 3/21/2014 - Don Yates

Liars: Mess
Buy! - (Mute)
The seventh album from this LA-based trio finds them carrying forward the dark, synth-oriented sound of 2012’s WIXIW, while moving away from that album’s brooding and atmospheric tone in favor of a more brash, dance-floor sensibility with pounding beats, buzzing synths, pulsing rhythms, gloomy, often-distant vocals and dark lyrics. 3/21/2014 - Don Yates

Other Liars album reviews:

WIXIW - 6/1/2012

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