New Music Reviews (11/2)

Album Reviews

Each week, KEXP’s Music Director Don Yates shares brief insights on new and upcoming releases (joined this week by DJs Alex Ruder and Ashley McDonald). See what's coming up this week below, including reviews for new releases from J Mascis, Grapetooth, Vince Staples, Drug Church, and more.

J Mascis – Elastic Days (Sub Pop)
Like most of his solo albums, the Dinosaur Jr. frontman's latest features a warm, acoustic-oriented sound, though he also makes room for some typically scintillating electric guitar solos. More important, the songs are consistently strong, ranging from wistful folk-rock to smoldering psych-rock. — DY

Grapetooth – Grapetooth (Polyvinyl)
The debut album from this Chicago duo comprised of Chris Bailoni and Twin Peaks guitarist Clay Frankel is an impressive set of New Waveish synth-pop inflected at times with anthemic folk-pop, combining bright analog synths, propulsive drum-machine beats and sparkling pop melodies. — DY

Vince Staples – FM! (Def Jam)
This Los Angeles rapper’s third official album is a potent set of West Coast hip hop combining a variety of banging beats with his silky flow and often-dark and acerbic lyrics of life on the edge in Long Beach. — DY

Drug Church – Cheer (Pure Noise)
This Albany, NY band’s third album is a strong set of ‘90s-influenced post-hardcore with grungy guitars, punchy rhythms and sardonic, often-politically charged lyrics. — DY

Georgia Anne Muldrow – Overload (Brainfeeder)
This LA artist’s 16th album is an atmospheric, psych-tinged blend of R&B, hip hop and jazz, combining a lush, keyboard-heavy sound with her powerful vocals and lyrics of love, resilience and resistance. — DY

Sloucher – Be True (Swoon)
This Seattle band’s debut full-length is a promising set of ‘90s-influenced rock ranging from buoyant jangle-pop to moody grunge. — DY

Baba Commandant and the Mandingo Band – Siri Ba Kele (Sublime Frequencies)
The second album from this Burkina Faso band is a potent blend of Afro-beat with more traditional West African styles, combining fiery guitar and ngoni riffs with hypnotic rhythms and Baba Commandant’’s grainy vocals. — DY

Gaye Su Akyol – Istikrarli Hayal Hakikattir (Glitterbeat)
This Turkish artist’s third album is a vibrant blend of traditional Turkish styles with psych-rock, surf, dream-pop and more, combining a lush sound featuring reverbed surf and psych guitars and spacy synths along with a variety of horns, strings and traditional instrumentation with her elegantly sinuous vocals. — DY

milo — budding ornithologists are weary of tired analogies (The Order Label/Ruby Yacht)
The latest album from Maine rapper/producer milo (aka Rory Ferreira) is another strong set of leftfield hip-hop, propelled by milo's creative vocal style, robust vocabulary, and crafty wordplay, which all find a perfect partner in the album's warm, jazzy, adventurous beats. — AR

Alex Anwandter – Latinoamerica (Nacional)
For his fourth solo album, Chilean-born (now L.A.based) singer-songwriter, musician and film and music video director, Alex Anwandter achieves pop perfection! From the super catchy, dance-worthy melodies to the effortlessly classy Brazilian ballad covers, there's not a dull moment on the album. Along with the often- disco theme, some Talking Heads-type riffs/structures come to mind. Latinoamericana is characteristically political as well as personal, touching on all of the subjects Alex has become well-known and respected for and in Chile and Latin America, at the forefront of; race, gender, sexuality and politics. Alex has previously been nominated for Latin Grammy's both for his music and his videos. Though this could be his best release to date! — AM

David Nance Group – Peaced and Slightly Pulverized (Trouble In Mind)
While this Omaha, NE artist has released three previous albums under his own name, this is the debut album of David Nance Group. It’s a potent set that sounds like a more punkish take on Neil Young & Crazy Horse, with searing guitars, muscular rhythms and often-politically charged, class-conscious lyrics. — DY

Hermit and the Recluse —​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​Orpheus vs. the Sirens (Obol for Charon)
Hermit and the Recluse is a new collaborative project between Brooklyn-based MC Ka and Los Angeles producer Animoss. Their debut album finds Ka's distinctive voice and razor-sharp flow tackling a thematic mythological lyrical angle on Orpheus vs. The Sirens as he embodies the titular character on his harrowing journey. The result is another top-notch set of cerebral hip-hop from Ka as he finds an excellent podium space over Animoss' cinematic, regal, and slightly ominous beats. — AR

Primo —​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​Amici (Upset The Rhythm)
The debut album from this Melbourne-based trio is a strong set of angular post-punk full of smart hooks and sharp lyrics detailing the mundane absurdity of everyday life over crafty arrangements. Another gem of a debut from London label Upset The Rhythm. — AR

Beacon – Gravity Pairs (Ghostly International)
This Brooklyn production duo’s third album is a solid set of moody electro-pop combining hypnotic piano chords and guitar riffs with propulsive beats and sighing vocals. — DY

Sandro Perri —​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​In Another Life (Constellation)
The third album from Toronto-based musician Sandro Perri (aka Polmo Polpo, also one-half of Glissandro 70) is another transportive set of fluid, melodic, and whimsical pop that's self-described as "an experiment in ‘infinite’ songwriting." The 24-minute title track is easily one of the best 20+ minute songs of the year, an effortlessly epic tune that moves sideways rather than forward, making it incredibly easy to get lost within. The "b-side" is a 3-part thematic series featuring vocal turns from Perri, André Ethier (of The Deadly Snakes), and Den Bejar (of Destroyer) all working off of a shared lyrical motif. — AR

Bad Sports – Constant Stimulation (Dirtnap)
The latest album from this Denton, TX band comprised of members of Radioactivity and OBN III’s is a fine set of driving garage-rock and post-punk. — DY

Nathan Bowles – Plainly Mistaken (Paradise of Bachelors)
This Durham, NC artist’s fourth album is his first to feature a full band, with drummer Rex McMurry of Cave and bassist Casey Toll of Mount Moriah accompanying his hard-edged banjo picking on songs that bring an avant-garde approach to traditional folk. — DY

Freeway —​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​Think Free (New Rothchilds/Roc Nation)
The latest album from veteran Philly rapper Freeway (aka Leslie Pridgen) finds the distinctive hard-hitting MC navigating his tried-and-true combo of uplifting, passionate, reality rap over soul-steeped beats while testing out a couple trap-leaning bangers. Lil Wayne, Fat Foe, Lil Uzi Vert, Jadakiss, BJ The Chicago Kid, and Faith Evans make guest appearances. — AR

audiobooks – Now! (In a Minute) (Heavenly)
The debut album from this London-based duo comprised of young vocalist/musician Evangeline Ling and veteran producer David Wrench is a fine set of quirky, ‘80s-steeped electro-pop with odd lyrics of bubblebaths with friends, dealing with hoarders and other esoteric subjects. — DY

Heaters – Suspended Youth (Beyond Beyond Is Beyond)
This Grand Rapids, MI band’s fourth album is a solid set of driving psych-rock with atmospheric guitars, often-motorik rhythms and dreamy melodies. — DY

1010 Benja SL – Two Houses EP (Young Turks)
The debut EP from this London-based vocalist/producer is an adventurous set of experimental R&B featuring atmospheric, densely produced ballads along with a trap-influenced banger. — DY

Levi Fuller & The Library —​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​such bad things happen EP (self-released)
This Seattle band’s latest release is a well-crafted six-song EP ranging from intense, angular post-punk to tension-filled ballads, with the EP’s politically charged lyrics of environmental destruction. — DY

HANDSOME— ​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​No Hat No Play (Dot Dash Recordings)
The debut EP from this queer Sydney-based musician is a fantastic set of buoyant and uplifting electronic-pop that's carried by her emotionally-charged songwriting, anthemic vocals, and glistening widescreen beats. — AR

Down North – No Retreat, Vol. 1 EP (self-released)
This Seattle band’s latest EP is a solid set of gritty funk-rock and soul. — DY

Foxxxy Mulder —​​​​​​​ Heretic (self-released)
The debut album from this Seattle-based duo comprised of Kori Hensell and David Kumler is a promising set of 80s-steeped post-punk and darkwave that carries a brooding, shadowy, noirish streak throughout. — AR

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