New Music Reviews (11/9)

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 Oneohtrix Point Never, Sevdaliza, War on Women, and more.

(Various Artists) - After Dark 3 (Italians Do It Better)
The latest compilation from Johnny Jewel’s Italians Do It Better label is an excellent set of Italo disco and related styles featuring a variety of artists from the Italians Do It Better orbit. All but one of the album’s 18 recordings are previously unreleased, with many of them combining dark, moody synths, hypnotic, propulsive rhythms and often-eerie melodies. — DY

Oneohtrix Point Never - Magic Oneohtrix Point Never (Warp)
The latest Oneohtrix Point Never album from Brooklyn-based artist Daniel Lopatin is an evocative set of adventurous electronic music ranging from electro-acoustic ambient to warped electro-pop. The album’s woozy, shape-shifting sound combines hazy synths with the sounds of strings, hammered dulcimer, harpsichord and other instrumentation, along with samples of radio stations switching formats and occasional processed vocals from Lopatin and a few special guests including Caroline Polachek, The Weeknd, Arca and Nolanberollin. — DY

Sevdaliza - Shabrang (Twisted Elegance)
The second album from Iranian-Dutch artist Sevdaliza (aka Sevda Alizadeh) is a captivating set of visionary, illuminating, expansive pop anthems full of forward-thinking electronic production, powerful torch ballads, and exquisite instrumentation. Titled after a Persian phrase that translates to "night color," Shabrang is a breakout record that spotlights Sevdaliza's gorgeous voice and captures a sound that shares a kindred spirit with the likes of Björk, FKA twigs, Bat For Lashes, and serpentwithfeet. — AR

War on Women - Wonderful Hell (Bridge Nine)
This Baltimore band’s third album is an impressive, politically charged blend of anthemic garage-punk and metallic hard rock, combining crunchy guitar riffs and pummeling rhythms with fist-pumping song hooks, often-shouted vocals and pointed lyrics aimed at sexism, racism and other ills. — DY

Machinedrum - A View Of U (Ninja Tune)
The 9th solo album from veteran electronic producer Machinedrum (aka Travis Stewart) is a brilliant set of cutting-edge beats that showcases his exceptional production talents, his adventurous and constantly expanding sound palette, as well as his masterful balance of club-primed jams with an infectious pop streak. Now based in Los Angeles and nearly 20 years deep into his illustrious career, Machinedrum teams up with Freddie Gibbs, Mono/Poly, Sub Focus, Chrome Sparks, Jesse Boykins III, Rochelle Jordan, Father, and others on his latest opus, arguably the strongest in his stacked catalog. — AR

Common - A Beautiful Revolution, Pt. 1 (Loma Vista)
This Chicago rapper’s latest release is a potent mini-album of reflective hip hop. Produced by Karriem Riggins with Robert Glasper on keyboards, the album combines mostly subdued, jazz-tinged beats with thoughtful rhymes revolving around racism, resilience and self-love. — DY

Actress - Karma & Desire (Ninja Tune)
This British producer (aka Darren Cunningham) collaborated with a few guest vocalists (Sampha, Zsela, fellow producer Aura T-09, Rebekah Christel) for the first time on his eighth album, though their voices often appear in mysterious fragments. The album is a brooding blend of ambient, classical, house, techno and other styles, beginning in haunting ambient mode before ending with more rhythm-driven tracks, with many of the songs featuring hazy synth textures, classical piano and hypnotic melodies. — DY

Tiña - Positive Mental Health Music (Speedy Wunderground)
This London band’s debut album is a fine set of quirky, often-eerie psych-pop combining woozy keyboards and jangly guitars with Joshua Loftin’s deeply personal, sometimes self-deprecating lyrics dealing with anxiety, depression and self-doubt. — DY

Midnight Oil - The Makarrata Project (Sony)
This Australian band’s first release is 18 years is a moving seven-song mini-album made in collaboration with Australian First Nation musicians and vocalists, with the music ranging from surging, anthemic rock to melancholy folk-pop, and the lyrics revolving around indigenous rights. — DY

Jim-E Stack - Ephemera (AWAL)
This LA-based producer’s second album features an impressive lineup of guest vocalists including Empress Of, Bon Iver, Dijon and other notables for a solid set of R&B-tinged electronic grooves with bright synths, gently propulsive rhythms and breezy melodies. — DY

Adulkt Life - Book of Curses (What’s Your Rupture?)
Adulkt Life is a new British band featuring Chris Rowley (vocalist for the legendary early-‘90s riot grrrl band Huggy Bear) along with a couple members of Male Bonding. Their debut album as Adulkt Life is a potent set ranging from fierce hardcore punk to moody, aggressive post-punk and squalling noise-rock, with the songs’ apocalyptic lyrics railing against these dystopian times. — DY

Sam Burton - I Can Go With You (Tompkins Square)
This LA-via-Salt Lake City artist’s debut album is a well-crafted set of soulful, country-tinged folk-pop reminiscent at times of earlier troubadours like Tim Buckley and Tim Hardin. The album’s often-spare and melancholy sound combines acoustic guitar, warm keyboards, pedal steel and occasional strings with his soaring vocals and wistful melodies. — DY

Potatohead People - Mellow Fantasy (Bastard Jazz)
This Vancouver, BC duo’s third album is a fine set of soulful hip hop grooves inflected with jazz, R&B, house and other styles, combining warm keyboards and horns with blunted hip hop beats along with a variety of guest rappers and singers. — DY

Marika Hackman - Covers (Sub Pop)
The variety of source material used for the covers on this British artist’s latest album is impressive, ranging from Elliott Smith and Edith Frost to Radiohead and Alvvays to AIR and Beyonce, though the sound is more monolithic. It’s a dark, often spare-sounding set of atmospheric pop combining synths, guitars and strings with her haunting vocals and mostly downcast melodies. — DY

Tunng - Tunng Presents... DEAD CLUB (Full Time Hobby)
This British band’s seventh album began life as a podcast series where the band’s Becky Jacobs interviewed various philosophers, physicians, writers, musicians and others about death. Bits of those conversations are occasionally interspersed throughout the album as the band explores death, loss and grief through a lush soundscape of folk-tinged prog-pop combining a variety of instrumentation with deceptively sunny harmonies. — DY

Zoon - Bleached Wavves (Paper Bag)
The debut album from this Hamilton, Ontario artist (aka Daniel Monkman) is a well-crafted set of shoegazer psych-rock with swirling, effects-drenched guitars, half-buried vocals and occasional First Nation folk influences (Monkman is a member of the Ojibwe tribe). — DY

Atmosphere - The Day Before Halloween (Rhymesayers)
This Minneapolis duo’s 11th studio album is steeped in the music of horror film soundtracks, combining eerie, buzzing synths and ominous beats with dystopian rhymes of dysfunctional relationships and living life in a police state. — DY

Jessica Winter - Sad Music EP (Roya)
This British artist’s debut EP is a well-crafted five-song set of dark electro-pop with buzzing synths, often-propulsive rhythms, soaring vocals and lyrics revolving around the power of music to help get through hard times. — DY

Iska Dhaaf - Up EP (self-released)
This Brooklyn/Seattle duo’s latest release is a solid 5-song EP ranging from moody, often-propulsive electro-pop to some delicate folk-pop. — DY

Mi’ens - Future Child (Kill Rock Stars)
This Vancouver, BC duo’s fourth album is a solid set of mathy noise-rock with twisting, squalling guitar lines, intricate rhythms and occasional vocals. — DY

capsule hotel - jaded (self-released)
The second of two albums released in 2020 by this Seattle duo featuring a 15-year-old singer/guitarist (Henry) and a 17-year-old drummer (Solomon) is a super impressive set of fuzzy garage rock that's catchy, sweetly melodic, and refreshingly loose. — AR

Vibragun - Fade EP (self-released)
This Seattle band’s latest release is a solid 4-song EP of shoegazer psych-rock with effects-laden guitars, driving rhythms and soaring song hooks. — DY

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