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new kexp album reviews

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New Album Reviews:

The Tallest Man On Earth: Dark Bird Is Home
Buy! - (Dead Oceans)
The fourth album from this Swedish singer-songwriter (aka Kristian Matsson) features a fuller, more produced sound for his melancholy folk-pop and some of his most personal and direct songwriting to date. Alongside acoustic and electric guitars are atmospheric synths, piano, horns and other instrumentation fleshing out songs ranging from plaintive folk ballads to anthemic rockers. 5/1/2015 - Don Yates

Other Tallest Man On Earth album reviews:

There's No Leaving Now - 6/1/2012

Nightmare Fortress: The Wanting
Buy! - (self-released)
This Seattle band’s debut full-length is a strong set of goth-tinged synth-pop with dark synths, atmospheric guitars and propulsive rhythms accompanying Alicia Amiri’s haunting vocals. 5/1/2015 - Don Yates

Hop Along: Painted Shut
Buy! - (Saddle Creek)
This Philadephia band’s second album is a strong set of ‘90s-influenced rock with tightly coiled, angular guitar riffs, muscular rhythms and potent song hooks framing Frances Quinlan’s dynamic, impassioned vocals and finely chiseled, narrative-driven lyrics of everyday struggles and not-so-quiet desperation. 5/1/2015 - Don Yates

Palma Violets: Danger In The Club
Buy! - (Rough Trade)
This British band’s second album is another strong set of ramshackle garage-rock with buzzing guitars, droning organ, shifting rhythms, anthemic song hooks and rowdy gang sing-along choruses. 5/1/2015 - Don Yates

Other Palma Violets album reviews:

180 - 3/15/2013

Django Django: Born Under Saturn
Buy! - (Ribbon)
This Scottish band’s second album is a smoother, more polished take on the band’s blend of electro-pop and psych-pop, combining propulsive dance-friendly rhythms with trippy song textures and sunny harmonies. 5/1/2015 - Don Yates

Other Django Django album reviews:

Django Django - 8/31/2012

Other Lives: Rituals
Buy! - (tbd)
This Portland-via-Stillwater, OK band’s third album is their most adventurous set to date, featuring a moody, densely layered prog-pop sound with atmospheric synths and guitars, piano, horns, strings and other instrumentation accompanying Jesse Tabish’s ethereal vocals. 5/1/2015 - Don Yates

Warm Soda: Symbolic Dream
Buy! - (Castle Face)
The second album from this Austin-via-Oakland band spearheaded by ex-Bare Wires frontman Matthew Melton is another smartly crafted blend of catchy power pop and buzzing garage rock with melodic guitar riffs, energetic rhythms and sparkling pop hooks. 5/1/2015 - Don Yates

Other Warm Soda album reviews:

Warm Soda - 2/15/2013

Hiatus Kaiyote: Choose Your Weapon
Buy! - (Flying Buddha/Sony Music Masterworks)
This Australian band’s second album is an expansive set of adventurous, jazz-tinged soul and funk, featuring a warm, shape-shifting sound combining a variety of acoustic and electronic instrumentation with intricate polyrhythms and Nai Palm’s elastic vocals. 5/1/2015 - Don Yates

Other Hiatus Kaiyote album reviews:

Tawk Tomahawk - 8/16/2013

Banditos: Banditos
Buy! - (Bloodshot)
This Nashville-via-Birmingham, AL band’s official debut album is an impressive set of roadhouse roots-rock with a gritty, diverse sound blending elements of rollicking garage-rock, John Lee Hooker boogie blues, garage-soul, vintage hokum, country-tinged folk-rock and more. 5/1/2015 - Don Yates

Downtown Boys: Full Communism
Buy! - (Don Giovanni)
The second album from this Providence, RI band led by Victoria Ruiz is an impressive set of sax-driven punk with pummeling rhythms, shouted vocals and politically militant, bilingual lyrics. 5/1/2015 - Don Yates

Sheer Mag: II EP
Buy! - (Katorga Works/Wilsuns RC)
This young Philadelphia band’s second EP is a promising 4-song blend of lo-fi garage-punk with classic-rock guitar riffs and high-energy soul, combining a blown-out sound with defiant lyrics attacking gentrification and class privilege. 5/1/2015 - Don Yates

Braids: Deep In The Iris
Buy! - (Arbutus)
This Montreal trio’s third album is a warmer, more melodic take on the band’s arty electro-pop, combining atmospheric synths, solemn piano, skittering beats and Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s ethereal vocals. 4/24/2015 - Don Yates

Other Braids album reviews:

Flourish // Perish - 8/23/2013

Oddisee: The Good Fight
Buy! - (Mello Music Group)
The latest album from Oddisee, the alias of NYC-via-DC emcee/producer Amir Mohamed el Khalifa that's also a member of Diamond District, is a standout set of fresh, soulful, smart hip-hop with a warm, organic touch. Both commanding on the mic with his crafty wordplay and everyman lyrics as well on the beats with his jazzy, colorful productions, The Good Fight is a no-frills record that brings the goods top-to-bottom. 4/24/2015 - Alex

Nadine Shah: Fast Food
Buy! - (Apollo/R&S)
The second album from UK singer/songwriter Nadine Shah is a strong set of dramatic avant-pop that displays her rich, soulful voice atop grandiose, theatrical backdrops. Focused, serious, and rewarding, Shah's sophomore offering recalls the likes of PJ Harvey, Anna Calvi, and Nick Cave. 4/24/2015 - Alex

Mew: +/-
Buy! - (Play It Again Sam)
This Danish band’s sixth album (and their first in six years) is a strong set of psych-tinged prog-pop featuring a densely layered sound, shape-shifting arrangements and starry-eyed melodies. 4/24/2015 - Don Yates

Nai Harvest: Hairball
Buy! - (Topshelf)
This British duo’s second album is a promising set of punkish garage-pop that’s not far-removed from groups like Japandroids and Cloud Nothings, combining buzzing, effects-drenched guitar riffs, driving rhythms, angst-ridden lyrics and anthemic song hooks. 4/24/2015 - Don Yates

Mac McCaughan: Non-Believers
Buy! - (Merge)
While the Superchunk frontman has released a number of solo records under the name of Portastatic, this is the first album released under his own name. It’s a consistently strong set of heart-tugging indie-pop rooted in the more melancholy side of early post-punk and New Wave. 4/24/2015 - Don Yates

Rose Windows: Rose Windows
Buy! - (Sub Pop)
This Seattle band’s second (and final) album is another excellent set of expansive psych-rock featuring a variety of beautifully crafted songs blending elements of ritualistic psych, crunchy hard rock, hypnotic prog, majestic folk rock and more. 4/24/2015 - Don Yates

Other Rose Windows album reviews:

The Sun Dogs - 10/26/2012

Blur: The Magic Whip
Buy! - (Warner Bros.)
This reunited British band’s eighth studio album (and first in 12 years) is a strong return-to-form incorporating everything from classic-sounding, crunchy Brit-pop to excursions into spacy electro-pop, brooding, dub-inflected ballads and other styles that are more representative of some of frontman Damon Albarn’s other projects (Gorillaz, The Good The Bad & The Queen). 4/24/2015 - Don Yates

Other Blur album reviews:

Think Tank - 5/25/2003
13 - 3/15/1999

Best Coast: California Nights
Buy! - (Harvest)
This LA duo’s third album is a consistently strong set of ‘90s-influenced power pop, featuring a big, punchy sound with fuzzy guitars, energetic rhythms and Bethany Cosentino’s honeyed, often multi-tracked vocals and emotive, often-melancholy lyrics, along with an abundance of sparkling pop hooks. 4/24/2015 - Don Yates

Other Best Coast album reviews:

Fade Away - 10/4/2013
The Only Place - 4/27/2012
Crazy For You - 7/30/2010