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new kexp album reviews

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New Album Reviews:

White Reaper: White Reaper Does It Again
Buy! - (Polyvinyl)
This Louisville band’s debut full-length is an impressive set of punkish power-pop with well-crafted, consistently strong songs featuring crunchy guitars, bright keyboards, energetic rhythms and an abundance of catchy pop hooks. 6/30/2015 - Don Yates

Bilal: In Another Life
Buy! - (Purpose/eOne)
This Philly-bred artist’s fourth album is another strong set of expansive, ‘70s-steeped funk and soul incorporating elements of hip hop, jazz, prog, psych-rock and other styles. Produced by Adrian Younge, the album combines a gritty analog sound with Bilal’s elastic vocals and bold lyrics balancing the personal and the political. 6/30/2015 - Don Yates

Other Bilal album reviews:

A Love Surreal - 2/28/2013
1st Born Second - 8/15/2001

Wavves x Cloud Nothings: No Life For Me
Buy! - (Ghost Ramp)
This collaborative album pairing Wavves’ Nathan Williams with Cloud Nothings’ Dylan Baldi is a visceral set of punkish power-pop with loud, buzzing guitars, driving rhythms, sing-along choruses and sharp song hooks. 6/30/2015 - Don Yates

Oscar: Beautiful Words EP
Buy! - (Wichita)
The debut EP from this London artist (aka Oscar Scheller) is a promising 7-song set of bedroom electro-pop with stylish, post punk-influenced songs combining bright synths, jangly guitars and hip hop-influenced beats with Oscar’s bittersweet lyrics and baritone croon reminiscent of Morrissey. 6/30/2015 - Don Yates

London O'Connor: O∆
Buy! - (self-released)
This New York-via-San Marcos, CA artist’s debut album is a promising blend of low-key hip hop, spacy R&B and dreamy psych-pop, with bright, playful synths and laid-back hip hop beats accompanying his elastic vocals and rhymes of alienation. 6/30/2015 - Don Yates

Desaparecidos: Payola
Buy! - (Epitaph)
The second album (and first in 13 years) from this Omaha-bred band led by Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes fame is a strong set of politically charged punk in the tradition of The Clash with roaring guitars, soaring keyboards, urgent rhythms, anthemic choruses, impassioned vocals and sharply pointed lyrics railing against corporate greed, apathy and economic and racial injustice. 6/18/2015 - Don Yates

Other Desaparecidos album reviews:

Read Music/Speak Spanish - 1/15/2002

Leon Bridges: Coming Home
Buy! - (Columbia)
This Fort Worth, TX artist’s debut album is an excellent set of early ‘60s-steeped soul with consistently strong, beautifully crafted songs combining a warm and lean sound with Bridges’ sweet, soulful croon and often-poignant lyrics. 6/18/2015 - Don Yates

Gengahr: A Dream Outside
Buy! - (Transgressive)
This British band’s debut album is a promising set of eccentric, hook-filled psych-pop with trippy, inventive guitar textures, eerie falsetto vocals, quirky, often-disquieting lyrics and sparkling pop melodies. 6/18/2015 - Don Yates

Jason Isbell: Something More Than Free
Buy! - (Southeastern/Thirty Tigers)
The latest solo album from the former Drive-By Trucker is another excellent set of expansive roots-rock with a warm, often acoustic-based sound and a consistently strong variety of beautifully crafted songs combining heart-tugging melodies with some of his finest lyrics to date. 6/18/2015 - Don Yates

Bully: Feels Like
Buy! - (Columbia)
The debut album from this Nashville band led by Alicia Bognanno is a promising set of ‘90s-influenced rock. Produced by Bognanno (who interned at Steve Albini’s renowned Electrical Audio studio), the album features a raw sound with fuzzy, grungy guitars and energetic rhythms accompanying her scuffed vocals and unflinching, sometimes cutting lyrics. 6/18/2015 - Don Yates

Sorority Noise: Joy, Departed
Buy! - (Topshelf)
This Connecticut band’s second album is a potent set of ‘90s-steeped, often-melancholy rock with a dynamic, smartly crafted sound combining crunchy guitars, keyboards, strings, horns and other instrumentation with Cameron Boucher’s plain-spoken vocals and confessional lyrics dealing with addiction, manic depression and busted relationships. 6/18/2015 - Don Yates

Wolf Alice: My Love Is Cool
Buy! - (RCA)
This British band’s debut full-length is an expansive blend of ethereal dream-pop, shoegazer psych-rock, bristling grunge-pop and much more, with a dynamic, wide-ranging sound on smartly constructed songs ranging from ethereal folk balladry to feral grunge-punk. 6/18/2015 - Don Yates

Buy! - (Domino)
Scottish band Franz Ferdinand hooked up with the veteran quirky art-rock duo Sparks for an impressive outing of theatrical dance-rock with bright keyboards, fuzzy glam-rock guitars, occasional bombastic strings, propulsive rhythms, melodramatic vocals and clever, often-sardonic lyrics. 6/12/2015 - Don Yates

Maribou State: Portraits
Buy! - (Counter)
This British duo’s debut full-length is a strong set of simmering deep house and downtempo grooves with a warm, atmospheric sound combining hypnotic piano lines, propulsive rhythms, often-melancholy melodies and chopped and manipulated vocal samples along with a few guest vocalists. 6/12/2015 - Don Yates

Annabel: Having It All
Buy! - (Tiny Engines)
This Akron, OH band’s third album is a strong set of dynamic, ‘90s-influenced emo-rock with crunchy intertwining guitars, energetic rhythms, earnest, smartly crafted lyrics, anthemic choruses and potent song hooks. 6/12/2015 - Don Yates

Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment: Surf
Buy! - (self-released)
The debut album from this Chicago collective led by trumpeter Nico Segal (aka Donnie Trumpet) and also featuring Chance The Rapper in a prominent role is a summery, expansive and beautifully crafted blend of hip hop with jazz, funk, R&B and other styles, combining a warm, sunny sound using lots of live instrumentation with an impressive lineup of guest singers and rappers including Janelle Monae, Busta Rhymes and Erykah Badu, though it’s often Chance who steals the show. 6/4/2015 - Don Yates

No Joy: More Faithful
Buy! - (Mexican Summer)
This Montreal band’s third album is a strong set of adventurous, densely textured dream pop with often shape-shifting songs featuring fuzzy, shoegazerish guitars and ethereal harmonies. 6/4/2015 - Don Yates

Other No Joy album reviews:

Ghost Blonde - 12/3/2010

Hudson Mohawke: Lantern
Buy! - (Warp)
The second full-length from Scottish producer Ross Birchard (aka Hudson Mohawke) finds him bringing a bit more restraint to his maximalist blend of various electronic styles with R&B and hip hop, with songs ranging from anthemic hip hop and rave instrumentals to widescreen, R&B-inflected electro-pop and moody orchestral music. 6/4/2015 - Don Yates

Active Child: Mercy
Buy! - (Vagrant)
The second full-length from LA-based artist Pat Grossi (aka Active Child) is an impressive set of R&B-tinged electro-pop with a spacious sound featuring atmospheric synths, stately piano, delicate harp and spare beats accompanying his souful choir-boy vocals and love-centered lyrics. 6/4/2015 - Don Yates

Other Active Child album reviews:

Rapor - 10/25/2013
You Are All I See - 7/22/2011

Christopher Owens: Chrissybaby Forever
Buy! - (Turnstile)
The former Girls frontman quickly follows up his rootsy 2014 full-length A New Testament with his third solo album, which finds him returning to a more guitar pop-oriented, retro-tinged sound that’s reminiscent of his work with Girls, as are the album’s lyrics centering around love, dissolution and survival. 6/4/2015 - Don Yates

Other Christopher Owens album reviews:

A New Testament - 9/25/2014

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