New Music Reviews (12/16)

Album Reviews

Each week, KEXP’s Music Director Don Yates (joined this week by DJ Alex) shares brief insights on new and upcoming releases. See what's coming up this week below, including reviews for new releases from Kaytranada, Free Nationals, Burial, and more.

Kaytranada – Bubba (RCA)
This Haiti-born, Montreal-based producer’s second album is another impressive, buoyant blend of R&B, funk, house and other styles, combining propulsive beats and shimmering synths with a stellar lineup of guest vocalists including Kali Uchis, Mick Jenkins, Estelle, Pharrell Williams, Charlotte Day Wilson, GoldLink, Tinashe, Masego, Teedra Moses and other notables. — DY

Free Nationals – Free Nationals (OBE/Empire)
The debut album from Anderson .Paak’s LA-based live band is a beautifully crafted set of jazz-tinged soul and funk combining a warm, often-sultry ‘70s-steeped sound with an impressive lineup of guest vocalists including Syd, Anderson .Paak, Kali Uchis, Daniel Caesar, Kadhja Bonet and many more. — DY

(Various) – Hyperswim (Hyperdub)
London electronic record label Hyperdub celebrates their 15th anniversary with this impressive 19-track collection of previously unreleased recordings. While the label during its early days focused on London-based dubstep and related styles, this compilation reflects the label’s current, more wide-ranging sensibility with a diverse assortment of adventurous electronic grooves from artists from around the globe. — DY

Burial – Tunes 2011 to 2019 (Hyperdub)
This 149-minute anthology collects nearly all the London electronic producer’s EPs and singles for Hyperdub. Compiled in roughly reverse chronological order, the album begins with his recent beatless ambient excursions before moving towards more rhythm-driven, garage and house-infused tracks. — DY

Rocketship – Thanks To You (nonstop co-op)
The fourth album (and first in 13 years) from this Portland-via-Sacramento band led by Dustin Reske is a well-crafted blend of shoegazer psych-rock, atmospheric dream-pop, jangly indie-pop, motorik prog, orchestral electro-pop and more, combining inventive arrangements featuring fuzzy guitars, buzzing synths and prominent organ with often-dark lyrics of alienation and longing for love and community. — DY

Pelada – Movimiento Para Cambio (PAN)
Pelada is a Montreal-based duo comprised of vocalist Chris Vargas and producer Tobias Rochman. Their debut album is a captivating set of magnetic techno-pop that fuses Vargas' urgent, confrontational, punk-influenced singing/shouting vocals (all in Spanish) with Rochman's hard-hitting electronic rhythms that fuse techno, house, acid, rave, and breaks in addictive fashion. Currently being hailed as one of the strongest electronic LPs of 2019, Movimiento Para Cambio is undoubtedly one of the most striking and unique debut offerings from this calendar year. — AR

Duster – Duster (Mudguts)
This San Jose, CA trio released two albums for Seattle’s Up Records between 1998-2000 before breaking up without much notice, though the band’s brooding space-rock has now gone on to influence modern artists like Girlpool, (Sandy) Alex G, Hovvdy and other notables. They’re now back with their first album in 19 years, and it’s an evocative, moody set of sludgy, atmospheric rock with fuzzy, thickly textured guitars, soaked-in-molasses rhythms and half-buried vocals. — DY

IDLES – A Beautiful Thing: Live at Le Bataclan (Partisan)
This British band’s latest release is a ferocious double live album of aggressive, politically charged post-punk recorded December 2018 at Le Bataclan in Paris, featuring 19 songs from their first two albums. While not quite the same thing as being there, the album does a fine job of capturing the band’s live energy and dedication to community. — DY

Rema – Bad Commando EP (Mavin)
This young Nigerian artist’s third EP is a well-crafted blend of buoyant Afro-pop with trap and R&B. — DY

V/A – Jungle: Back To Mine (Back To Mine)
The eclectic London-based duo flex their deep record collections and exquisite taste with this stellar Back To Mine mix that compiles some of their most coveted influential cuts, hidden gems, and contemporary favorites while bouncing between soul, R&B, house, jazz, psych, hip-hop, and more. It's all quite excellent, and while many of these tracks can currently be found in our library, it's both a nice reminder of some stellar cuts and an introduction to some more under-the-radar fare. Dig in. — AR

Xenia França – Xenia (180g)
This debut album from Brazilian artist Xenia França is an impressive set of soulful, earthy, expansive African-Brazilian music that spotlights her warm and inviting vocals over backdrops that blend together jazz, samba, R&B, and electronic flavors. Originally released in 2017, this Latin Grammy-nominated album was just made available outside of Brazil for the first thanks to a recent reissue from Parisian label 180g Records. — AR

Eddy Current Suppression Ring – All In Good Time (Castle Face)
This Melbourne, Australia band’s first album in nine years (and fourth overall) is a potent blend of tension-filled post-punk and raucous garage-rock with clanging angular guitars, driving rhythms and sneering vocals. — DY

Atmosphere – Whenever (Rhymesayers)
This veteran Minneapolis duo’s 10th album is a surprise release combining brooding, often-bluesy hip hop beats from Ant with Slug’s emotive rhymes of love and life. — DY

PBDY – Careworn (Brainfeeder)
The debut album from this LA-via-Phoenix electronic producer (aka Paul Preston) is an evocative set of dark, brooding soundscapes blending elements of ambient, trip hop and other styles with help from an impressive lineup of guest vocalists including Samuel T. Herring, Anika and Salami Rose Joe Louis. — DY

Arthur Russell – Iowa Dream (Audika)
The latest posthumous release from legendary musician Arthur Russell collects 19 demos from his deep vault of recordings that spotlight his visionary, idiosyncratic, infectious pop talents. Most of these tracks are pulled from sessions he did with Columbia Records' legendary producer John Hammond as well as Mercury Records' Paul Nelson in the mid-1970s that never amounted to major label record deals. Now revered as one of the finest underground musicians of the late 20th century, Iowa Dream provides more proof of the Iowa native's multi-faceted genius. — AR

Hurt Valley – Glacial Pace (Woodsist)
Hurt Valley is the solo project of LA artist Brian Collins. His debut album under that name is a well-crafted set of dreamy, psych-tinged folk-rock with warm harmonies and wistful melodies. — DY

(Various) – Mark Ronson Presents the Music of Spies In Disguise EP (RCA)
British-American producer Mark Ronson put together the soundtrack to the animated film Spies In Disguise. It’s a six-song mix of four new hip hop/R&B/synth-pop heaters, along with a song that also appears on DJ Shadow’s new album and an old-school hip hop classic from Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock. — DY

Rodrigo y Gabriela – Mettal EP (ATO)
This Mexican acoustic guitar duo pays tribute to their thrash metal roots with three impressive covers of classics from Metallica, Slayer, and Megadeth. — DY

Daniel Caesar – Case Study 01 (Golden Child Recordings)
The sophomore album from this Toronto vocalist is another impressive set of seductive R&B and slow-motion grooves that finds his confidence at an all-time high following the massive success of his 2017 debut album Freudian. Lyrically tackling the highs and ows of sex, love, romance, and drugs, Case Study 01 features guest appearances from Pharrell Williams, Brandy, John Mayer, Jacob Collier, and Sean Leon. — AR

Skee Mask – ISS004 EP (Ilian Tape)
The latest EP from this Munich-based DJ/producer (aka Bryan Müller) is a propulsive blend of grime, techno and ambient, combining hard-hitting breakbeats with spacy synths. — DY

Jamael Dean – Black Space Tapes (Stones Throw)
The debut album from this young LA-based jazz musician and producer – who’s already closely collaborated with Kamasi Washington, Thundercat, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, and Carlos Niño, the latter handling co-producer duties on Black Spaces Tapes – is an impressive set of cosmic jazz that touches upon hip-hop and ambient angles whileconsistently carrying a spiritual, soulful, psychedelic streak. — AR

Ruby Yacht – 37 GEMS (Ruby Yacht)
37 GEMS is the debut compilation from Ruby Yacht, a collective of artists founded and centered around Maine-raised, LA-based rapper Rory Ferreira aka milo. Known for their adventurous left-field take on hip-hop that's characterized by creative vocal styles, robust vocabularies, crafty wordplay, and jazzy off-kilter beats, Ruby Yacht as a crew further cements the cerebral poetic hip-hop vision that milo has impressively laid out over the past decade. — AR

Berhana – HAN (EQT Recordings)
Reminiscent of N.E.R.D. and Steve Lacy, the debut album from Atlanta-born musician Amain Berhane (aka Berhana) is a promising set of smooth and sultry R&B infused with boogie, hip-hop, pop, psych, and rock flavors that sounds like a direct descendant of Calvin Harris' 2017 crossover smash "Slide" that featured Frank Ocean and Migos. — AR

Dengue Dengue Dengue – Zenit & Nadir (Enchufada)
The latest full-length album from this Lima, Perú production duo (Felipe Salmon and Rafael Pereira) is another mesmerizing set of poly-rhythmic instrumental-heavy global electronic grooves blending Afro-Peruvian rhythms with vibrant electro-acoustic  instrumentation, seductive low-end rumblings, heady psychedelic textures, and evocative tropical atmospherics. — AR

Space Ghost – Aquarium Nightclub (Tartelet)
The latest album from Oakland-based electronic producer Space Ghost (aka Sudi Wachspress) is a strong set of hypnotic, mellow, funky house/boogie grooves that largely leans into an aqueous and laid-back vibe with warm synths, restrained tempos, and tropical-tinged atmospherics. An entirely instrumental affair with a few meditative ambient pieces, Aquarium Nightclub is equally suited to soundtrack both a late-night drive as well as an open-minded dancefloor. — AR

Jakub Zytecki – Nothing Lasts, Nothing's Lost (self-released)
The sophomore album from this Kraków, Poland bedroom musician is a super unique set of shimmering experimental pop tunes that filters his prodigious guitar talents and wide-eyed pop sensibilities through a cinematic prism of prog rock, math rock, and electronics. With its heavy prog theatrics and sky-scraping guitar solos, Zytecki has unleashed a bold genre-blurring pop record that's reminiscent of El Ten Eleven, ODESZA, and Tycho, but very much in its own lane. — AR

Stephanie Anne Johnson & The Hidogs – Take This Love (self-released)
The latest release from this Seattle artist and her band is a well-crafted blend of soul, country and folk, combining a spare, warm sound with her soulful vocals. — DY

Gabriel Teodros – The Anniversary EP (self-released)
This Seattle rapper’s latest release is an EP made for his love for their anniversary, featuring four songs of warm, soulful hip hop celebrating love. — DY

Trampled By Turtles – Sigourney Fever EP (Banjodad)
This Duluth, MN band’s latest release is a solid 5-song EP featuring intimate acoustic covers of a variety of rock and folk material. Try 1 (Neil Young), 2 (Faces), 3 (Iris DeMent), 4 (Warren Zevon) & 5 (Radiohead). — DY

Related News & Reviews

Album Reviews

New Music Reviews (12/2)

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 Sons, Coma, The Ninth Wave, and more.

Read More
Album Reviews

New Music Reviews (11/25)

Each week, KEXP’s Music Director Don Yates (joined this week by DJ Alex) shares brief insights on new and upcoming releases. See what's coming up this week below, including reviews for new releases from Beck, Matt Maltese, Avalanche Party, and more.

Read More
Album Reviews

New Music Reviews (11/11)

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.

Read More
Click anywhere to return to the site