Each week, KEXP’s Music Director Don Yates (joined this week by DJ Alex Ruder) shares brief insights on new and upcoming releases. See what's coming up this week below, including reviews for new releases from U.S. Girls, Swamp Dogg, Cornershop, and more.
U.S. Girls – Heavy Light (4AD)
The seventh U.S. Girls album from this Chicago-bred, Toronto-based artist (aka Meghan Remy) revisits some of her earlier recordings, which were noisy and lo-fi compared to the more sophisticated music she’s making nowadays. Recorded live with nearly 20 session musicians, Heavy Light blends elements of arty chamber-pop, funk, disco, soul, gospel and more, while working in a wide variety of pop music references from the past. The album’s lush sound combines a variety of orchestral instrumentation with reflective lyrics blending the political and the personal.
Swamp Dogg – Sorry You Couldn’t Make It (Joyful Noise)
This 77-year-old artist follows up his acclaimed 2018 experimental space-age soul album Love, Loss, And Auto-Tune with this strong return to his country roots. Produced by Poliça’s Ryan Olson and featuring a stellar guest lineup including Justin Vernon, Jenny Lewis, John Prine, Poliça’s Channy Leaneagh and Chris Beirden, Sam Amidon and other notables, the album combines a warm, occasionally psych-tinged sound with his aching, grainy vocals.
Cornershop – England is a Garden (Ample Play)
The 9th album (and first album of original material in eight years) from this British band led by Tjinder Singh and Ben Ayres is a hook-filled blend of chugging Velvet Underground rock, swaggering glam, Punjabi folk and more. The album’s colorful sound features guitars, keyboards, strings, horns, flute, tamboura and sitar, along with buoyant melodies juxtaposed with often-politically charged lyrics aimed at intolerance and racism.
Stephen Malkmus – Traditional Techniques (Matador)
The Portland, OR-based Pavement frontman’s latest solo release finds him taking another left turn, this time into adventurous, ‘60s-steeped psych-folk, featuring a nearly all-acoustic sound with acoustic guitars, flute, bouzouki, tabla, sitar, pedal steel and more. The album’s warm, often-colorful and dreamy sound is countered by his often-sardonic lyrics aimed at various modern follies.
Disq – Collector (Saddle Creek)
This Madison, WI band’s debut album is a diverse, well-crafted set ranging from acerbic slacker-rock and urgent post-punk to psych-tinged folk-rock and heavy stoner-rock.
Snarls – Burst (Take This To Heart)
This Columbus, OH band’s debut album is a potent set of emotive dream-pop with a dynamic sound featuring fuzzy guitars, aching lead vocals, soaring harmonies, wistful melodies and heart-on-sleeve lyrics of love and loss.
Danny Barnes – Man On Fire (ATO)
The latest solo album from the Port Hadlock, WA-based former frontman for Austin duo Bad Livers is a sharply crafted set of acoustic-oriented country-folk incorporating elements of traditional string-bands, gritty country-funk and more. Featuring an all-star band including Bill Frisell on guitar, Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones on bass and mandolin and Matt Chamberlain on percussion, the album combines stellar musicianship with a sharp lyrical emphasis on the lives of hard-hit, downtrodden people.
Worriers – You or Someone You Know (6131)
The third album from this now LA-based band led by Lauren Denitzio is a strong set of anthemic punk-pop combining buzzing guitars, energetic rhythms and buoyant song hooks with lyrics of love, loss and troubled times.
Brownout – Berlin Sessions (Fat Beats)
This Austin nine-piece band’s latest album is the first to prominently feature vocals (courtesy of Alex Marrero). Produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos (hence the title), the album finds the group stretching out with a more varied and expansive blend of Latin funk and psych-rock.
Jonathan Wilson – Dixie Blur (BMG)
This LA-based producer/musician’s latest album finds him reconnecting with his southern roots by bringing a more acoustic-oriented and country-influenced approach to his psych-tinged folk-rock. It’s an often low-key, reflective set combining stellar musicianship from a strong supporting cast of Nashville musicians with Wilson’s gentle crooning and lyrics revolving around love, loss and the passing of time.
dumama + kechou – buffering juju (Mushroom Hour Half Hour)
This South African duo’s debut album is a hypnotic blend of traditional African styles with electronic beats and textures along with elements of jazz, soul and other styles, combining traditional African instrumentation with guitars, synths and piano along with occasional trombone, clarinet and more to accompany their mesmerizing vocals.
Honey Harper – Starmaker (ATO)
The debut Honey Harper full-length from this Georgia-bred, London-based artist (aka William Fussell) is a well-crafted blend of spacy psych-pop with country and folk-rock, combining an atmospheric sound with his honeyed croon and intimate lyrics of love and loss.
Slift – Ummon (Vicious Circle)
This French trio’s second album is a potent blend of heavy psych-rock and epic space-rock, combining fuzzy, effects-laden guitars, muscular rhythms, growling vocals and head-banging song hooks.
Acid Tongue – Bullies (Freakout)
This Seattle duo’s second album is a well-crafted blend of driving garage-rock, swaggering glam, psych-tinged electro-pop, propulsive New Wave and dramatic Bowiesque ballads.
Phantogram – Ceremony (Republic)
This Saratoga Springs, NY-bred duo continues to head in a sleeker, more mainstream direction on their fourth album of dark electro-pop, combining moody synths and booming hip hop beats with Sarah Barthel’s airy vocals.
THICK – 5 Years Behind (Epitaph)
This Brooklyn trio’s debut full-length is a fine set of anthemic punk-pop with crunchy guitars, energetic rhythms and angst-fueled, often-politically charged lyrics juxtaposed with buoyant song hooks.
Sam Doores – Sam Doores (New West)
The solo debut album from this member of New Orleans band The Deslondes (and before that, Hurray For The Riff Raff) is a soulful, mostly laid-back blend of New Orleans R&B, psych-pop, country-folk, and more.
lié – You Want It Real (Mint)
This Vancouver band’s fourth album is a fierce set of politically charged post-punk with buzzing angular guitars, energetic rhythms, snarling vocals and dystopian lyrics.
Anna Calvi – Hunted (Domino)
This British artist’s latest release is a reworking of her 2018 album Hunter, featuring a rawer, more intimate and stripped-down sound along with some special guests (Julia Holter, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Courtney Barnett, and IDLES).
(Various) – Penrose Records Vol. 1 (Penrose)
Penrose is a new imprint of Daptone Records, founded by Daptone’s Bosco Mann and based out of his hometown of Riverside, CA. The label’s inaugural release is a compilation collecting five singles from mostly Southern California artists (though one hails from Miami). It’s a fine set of wistful, ‘70s-steeped soul along with a slice of bouncy, jazz-tinged funk.
Hollis – Half-Life EP (self-released)
The debut solo EP from this member of Seattle band The Flavr Blue is a solid set of atmospheric R&B, combining a mostly spare sound steeped in melancholy with her silky vocals and intimate lyrics.
(Various) – Ball of Wax Volume 59: Winter 2020 (Ball of Wax)
The latest release in the quarterly compilation series of Seattle’s Ball of Wax features 11 Seattle artists covering each other’s songs.
Each week, KEXP’s Music Director Don Yates (joined this week by DJ Alex Ruder) shares brief insights on new and upcoming releases. See what's coming up this week below, including reviews for new releases from Caribou, Soccer Mommy, Christine and the Queens, and more.
Each week, KEXP’s Music Director Don Yates (joined this week by DJ Alex Ruder) shares brief insights on new and upcoming releases. See what's coming up this week below, including reviews for new releases from Moses Sumney, Grimes, Caroline Rose, and more.
Each week, KEXP’s Music Director Don Yates (joined this week by DJ Abbie Gobeli) shares brief insights on new and upcoming releases. See what's coming up this week below, including reviews for new releases from Tame Impala, Bambara, Jungle Fire, and more.