New Music Reviews (11/11)

Album Reviews
11/11/2019
KEXP

Each week, KEXP’s Music Director Don Yates (joined this week by DJ Abbie) shares brief insights on new and upcoming releases. See what's coming up this week below, including reviews for new releases from FKA twigs, Brother Ali, Earl Sweatshirt, and more.


FKA twigs – Magdalene (Young Turks)
The second album from this British artist (aka Tahliah Debrett Barnett) is a masterful set of inventive electronic avant-pop incorporating elements of cinematic dream-pop, atmospheric ambient, woozy hip hop, medieval church music and more, combining a dark, shape-shifting sound with her quavering soprano and personal lyrics revolving around love, loss and rebirth. — DY

Brother Ali – Secrets & Escapes (Rhymesayers)
This Minneapolis rapper’s seventh album is a surprise release made in collaboration with Evidence of Dilated Peoples fame, who supplied a variety of raw, sometimes ominous, funk and soul-inflected hip hop beats to accompany Brother Ali’s emphatic flow and rhymes blending the political and the personal. Pharoahe Monch, C.S. Armstrong, Talib Kweli and Evidence contribute guest rhymes. — DY

Earl Sweatshirt – FEET OF CLAY (Tan Cressida/Warner)
The latest release from this LA rapper (aka Thebe Kgositsile) is an adventurous seven-song EP combining a variety of mostly dark, woozy beats with his tricky flow and densely packed, often-enigmatic rhymes dealing with loss, substance abuse and mortality during end times. — DY

Charly Bliss – Supermoon EP (Barsuk)
This Brooklyn band quickly follows up their second album Young Enough (which was released in May) with a strong surprised-released EP of five songs recorded during the Young Enough sessions that lean more towards the crunchy power-pop of their debut Guppy instead of the sleeker, more pop-oriented Young Enough. — DY

Low Hums – Zzyzx (self-released)
This Seattle band’s fifth album is a potent set of expansive psych-rock inflected with garage-rock, folk-rock and other styles. — DY

Jayomi – Wet Burrito (self-released)
Strong debut from this Seattle four-piece that features surfy guitars, bombastic cinematic post-punk, classical violin, and psych layered vocals. Frontman Jon Wu started writing the band’s debut in the basement of his brother’s coworking space in the beginning of 2019 then rounded out the group with Francisco Solis (guitar), Lizz Slabaugh (bass and vocals), and Casey Hudlow (drums).  —AG

Lucy Dacus – 2019 EP (Matador)
This Richmond, VA artist’s latest release is a 7-song EP collecting singles she released in 2019 to commemorate certain holidays and other special occasions (like Bruce Springsteen’s birthday), with the songs ranging from strong originals to a few charming covers.  — DY

Mount Eerie with Julie Doiron – Lost Wisdom pt. 2 (P.W. Elverum & Sun)
The latest Mount Eerie album from Anacortes artist Phil Elverum is a sequel to his 2008 album Lost Wisdom. As with that album, he’s joined here by Julie Doiron on vocals, and together they weave a haunting, intimate web of sound with just spare guitars and occasional piano accompanying their hushed, unadorned vocals and deeply personal lyrics of love and loss.  — DY

(Various) – Too Late To Pray: Defiant Chicago Roots (Bloodshot)
For their 25th anniversary, the Chicago alt-country label Bloodshot returns to their roots with a compilation of all-new recordings from Chicago-based artists, much like their first compilation (1994’s For a Life of Sin: Insurgent Chicago Country). A few famous names are here (Robbie Fulks, Freakwater, Jon Langford, Kelly Hogan, The Handsome Family), but most are newer and less well-known, with the music ranging from honky tonk, folk, rockabilly, western swing and bluegrass to punkish roots-rock and jangly garage-rock.  — DY

SebastiAn – Thirst (Ed Banger/Because Music)
The long-awaited follow-up to this French electronic producer’s 2011 debut album Total features some of the hard-hitting electro of his debut while also including some moody electro-pop, atmospheric R&B, brooding hip hop and more with the help of a diverse lineup of special guests including Syd, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Gallant, Sparks, and Mayer Hawthorne.  — DY

Whimsical – Bright Smiles & Broken Hearts (self-released)
This Griffith, IN-bred band’s third album is a well-crafted set of shoegazerish dream-pop with a dynamic sound featuring fuzzy guitars, ethereal vocals, and soaring song hooks.  — DY

Louise Burns – Portraits (Light Organ Records)
Vancouver, BC veteran singer/songwriter returned to Los Angeles where she got her first big break in Lillix at age 11 two decades earlier, to record and write her four solo effort. Burns crafts a perfect pop blend of glimmering synths, new wave guitars, soaring vocals, backing harmonies, jazz sax, and autobiographical lyrics that confront the past head-on.  — AG

Pendant – Through A Coil (Tiny Engines)
The debut full-length from this Oakland artist (aka Christopher Adams) is a fine set of shoegazer psych-rock and fuzzy power-pop, combining distortion-drenched guitars and sparkling song hooks with lyrics of loss and rebirth.  — DY

Green Buzzard – Amidst The Clutter & Mess (I OH You)
The debut full-length from this Sydney, Australia-based artist (aka Paddy Harrowsmith) is a well-crafted blend of hook-filled power-pop and moody, psych-tinged pop. Produced by Dave Sitek, the album combines jangly guitars and atmospheric keyboards with soaring melodies and personal lyrics of lost love and moving on.  — DY

Macseal – Super Enthusiast (6131)
This Long Island band’s debut full-length is a well-crafted set of emotive, hook-filled indie-rock, combining jangly guitars, tricky rhythms and anthemic choruses with wistful melodies and often-dark lyrics.  — DY

Land Of Kush – Sand Enigma (Constellation)
The fourth album from this big band led by Montreal/Cairo-based composer Sam Shalabi is an adventurous, wildly diverse set of experimental psych-rock, avant-jazz, modern classical, ambient electronic, various Middle Eastern styles and more.  — DY

Clams Casino – Moon Trip Radio (self-released)
The second official album from this New Jersey producer (aka Michael Volpe) is an evocative set of dark ambient instrumentals combining haunting synth textures with occasional murky beats.  — DY

GHUM – The Coldest Fire (Everything Sucks Music)
The London-based outfit hail from Spain, Brazil and London to deliver their rapturous brand of post-punk/ghost grunge coated with icy vocals that craft defiant anthems against the woes of relationships, sexism, and mental fragility.  — AG

LA Vampires Does Cologne – 10 Outta 10 (100% Silk)
100% Silk co-founder Amanda Kramer teams up with “bicoastal-tronica duo” Cologne (Danny Scott Lane and Vasilios Manoudakis) for the LA Vampires first release in seven years. She has previously released collaborative records with Psychic Reality, Octo Octa, and Maria Minerva. This release is filled with synthy seduction of internet spun fantasy combined with breathy pop vocals and lovesick texting.  — AG

Kevin – .ORG (self-released)
Kevin is a first name and a Los Angeles based band made up of many personalities including Quincy Larsen (Sextile), Julian Smith and Kimi Recor DRÆMINGS). This four-track debut captures a fuzzed-out bliss that combs through art-pop, playful feedback, and is overall punk AF.  — AG

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