New Music Reviews (6/29)

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 Sault, Bob Dylan, Haim, and more.

Sault – Untitled (Black Is) (Forever Living Originals)
The third album from this mysterious London-based band brings a sharper political edge to their hypnotic blend of funk, soul, spoken-word, post-punk, Afro-Beat and more, combining a groove-driven sound with a variety of vocalists and lyrics celebrating black culture and resilience. — DY

Bob Dylan – Rough and Rowdy Ways (Columbia)
The songwriting legend’s first album of original songs in eight years is a masterful blend of elegiac folk-rock and gritty blues, combining a warmly glowing, twilight sound with dream-like lyrics stuffed with cultural and historical references while reflecting on love, impermanence and mortality. While he can still sound gruff at times, his vocals are often surprisingly tender sounding here. — DY

Haim – Women In Music Pt. III (Columbia)
This LA sister trio continue to expand their sound on their excellent third album, a diverse, sharply crafted set that moves beyond the summery, hook-filled pop-rock of their first two albums for darker shades of moody electro-pop, wistful, stripped-down folk, strutting glam, hip hop-inflected pop and much more. The album’s often-dark sound echoes their most personal lyrics to date, revolving around depression, longing and dealing with sexism. — DY

Khruangbin – Mordechai (Dead Oceans)
This Houston trio’s third album is their most vocal-oriented and also their strongest to date. The wistful lyrics bring more emotional resonance to their dreamy blend of atmospheric psych-rock and funk with Thai surf-rock, dub, Middle Eastern funk, cumbia, West African blues and more, with a fluid sound combining shimmering guitars, airy harmonies, buoyant rhythms and hypnotic song hooks. — DY

Arca – KiCk i (XL)
The fourth album from this Barcelona-based Venezuelan artist (aka Alejandra Ghersi) is an impressive set of shape-shifting, beat-driven avant-pop inflected with techno, reggaeton, electro, trap and other styles, combining an occasionally disorienting blend of bright synths, noisy textures and clattering, distorted beats with her elastic vocals and pointed lyrics of identity and pride. Special guests include Bjork, Shygirl, Rosalía and SOPHIE. — DY

Neil Young – Homegrown (Reprise)
This previously unreleased album from the rock legend was recorded in December 1974-January 1975 after his relationship with actress Carrie Snodgress ended. He decided the results were too personal and shelved it until now. While it might not be a stone-cold classic like After the Goldrush or Tonight’s The Night, it’s still a first-rate set of raw, intimate-sounding country-rock pairing accompaniment by Crazy Horse along with members of The Band and Emmylou Harris with Young’s poignant lyrics of heartache and loss. — DY

Hum – Inlet (Earth Analog)
This Urbana, IL-bred band’s first album in 22 years (and fifth overall) is a strong return to form confidently blending shoegazer psych-rock with sludge metal and grungy hard rock, combining scuzzy, distortion-drenched guitars, pounding rhythms, serene vocals and soaring song hooks. — DY

Gabriel Teodros – What We Leave Behind (self-released)
This Seattle rapper’s latest release collects previously unreleased recordings from his archives along with a few new songs. Considering the songs come from different eras, the album holds together surprisingly well, combining a sound that ranges from warm and soul-tinged to harder-edged hip hop and African-influenced beats with often-politically charged rhymes critiquing racism, police brutality and inequality and celebrating solidarity. — DY

Jessie Ware – What's Your Pleasure? (PMR)
This British artist’s fourth album finds her successfully returning to a more club-oriented electro-pop sound, combining moody synths, lush strings, buoyant melodies and propulsive disco and funk beats with her velvety vocals and intimate lyrics of love and desire. — DY

Bad Moves – Untenable (Don Giovanni)
This D.C. band’s second album is another excellent set of punkish power-pop with ringing guitars, energetic rhythms, alternating lead vocals, exuberant harmonies and buoyant song hooks juxtaposed with anxiety-fueled lyrics revolving around identity and economic exploitation. — DY

Pottery – Welcome to Bobby’s Motel (Partisan)
This Montreal band’s debut album is a strong set of playful post-punk and New Wave reminiscent at times of quirky icons like Talking Heads and Devo, combining urgent, funk-inflected rhythms and angular guitars and synths with gang vocal choruses and catchy song hooks. — DY

Terror/Cactus – Confluencia (self-released)
The latest album from this Seattle-based producer (aka Martin Selasco) is a beautifully crafted blend of psych-tinged electronic grooves with cumbia, Andean folk and other South American styles, combining psychedelic guitars, ambient field samples and hypnotic rhythms. — DY

Gordi – Our Two Skins (Jagjaguwar)
The second album from this Australian singer-songwriter (aka Sophie Payten) is a well-crafted set of introspective folk-pop with a spare sound combining piano, synths and guitars with personal lyrics of identity, love and loss. — DY

oui ennui – Sirius Bismuth (self-released)
This recent album from Chicago-based electronic producer oui ennui (pronounced "we-on-we") is a magnificent set of adventurous electronic grooves full of hypnotic loops that build and expand with joyous sample-heavy layers that often burst into powerful, kaleidoscopic, euphoric moments. Quirky, funky, and unpredictable, Sirius Bismuth serves as a nice introduction to this mysterious prolific artist adding some refreshingly fun vibes into their propulsive house rhythms. — AR

Becca Mancari – The Greatest Part (Captured Tracks)
This New York-born, Nashville-based artist’s second album brings edgier rock and electronic textures and beats to her wistful folk-pop, along with sharply crafted, unflinchingly honest lyrics of identity, loss and resilience. — DY

Cassowary – Cassowary (Fat Possum)
Cassowary is the solo project of Los Angeles-based tenor sax player, vocalist, and producer Miles Shannon. His debut album is a sweet set of groovy jams that blend jazz, funk, R&B, hip-hop, and psych-rock in a slick and sultry fashion, yielding a thick enveloping sound reminiscent of Thundercat. — AR

Park Hye Jin – How Can I EP (Ninja Tune)
This LA-based South Korean DJ/producer/vocalist’s second EP is a strong 6-song set of propulsive club grooves combining a variety of house, techno, footwork and hip hop beats with her sung/rapped vocals alternating in Korean and English. — DY

Dirty Projectors – Flight Tower EP (Domino)
This Brooklyn band’s latest release is the second of five planned EPs for 2020. The first four EPs feature a different band member on lead vocals, while the fifth one will feature all four trading lead vocals. This one features the fluid alto of Felicia Douglass (who also co-wrote the songs with Dave Longstreth) for a beautifully crafted 4-song set of often-buoyant, R&B-tinged electro-pop. — DY

Flock of Dimes – Like So Much Desire EP (Sub Pop)
The latest Flock of Dimes release from Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner is a 5-song EP of reflective ballads with an airy, melancholy sound combining piano, strings, atmospheric synths, acoustic guitar and ambient sounds with intimate lyrics revolving around desire, grief and solace. — DY

Twin Peaks – Side A EP (Grand Jury)
This Chicago band’s latest release is a well-crafted 4-song set of summery psych-pop. The impressive guest lineup includes OHMME, Lala Lala, V.V. Lightbody and Tomo Reeder. — DY

Willie Nelson – First Rose of Spring (Legacy)
The country legend’s latest album is another solid release of autumnal country combining a warm, often acoustic-oriented sound with reflective lyrics of love, outlaws, mortality and the passage of time. — DY

MHYSA – NEVAEH (Hyperdub)
The second album (and Hyperdub debut) from Brooklyn-based artist MHYSA – a "Queer Black Diva and underground pop-star for the cyber resistance from Prince George’s County, Maryland" – is an at-times captivating set of woozy experimental club-centric R&B/hip-hop that also contains some beautifully haunting and powerful a capella tracks ("breaker of chains," "when the saints (reprise)"). — AR

Somni – Home (Friends Of Friends)
The second full-length album from UK-born, LA-based electronic producer and vocalist Leo Shulman (aka Somni) is another impressive set of cerebral beat-centric psych-pop that blends his lush, swirling, richly-textured downtempo beats with a psychedelic West Coast bedroom soul vibe that carries a similar spirit to Koushik, Bibio, and the psych-pop moments of Teebs. — AR

Ray LaMontagne – MONOVISION (RCA)
This Massachusetts-based singer-songwriter's latest album is truly a one-person show, with LaMontagne playing all the instruments, engineering and producing the album. Musically, it’s an intimate blend of often stripped-down folk-pop inflected with soul, blues, Everlys balladry and more. — DY

Klein Zage – Tip Me Baby One More Time EP (Orphan.)
The second EP from Klein Zage (aka Seattle-born, NYC-based musician Sage Redman, also one-half of electro-pop duo FKL) is another strong set of edgy, empowering, emphatic dance-pop that fuses her heavily-treated expressive vocals and biting lyrics with cutting-edge club-friendly productions. An ode to the service industry, Tip Me Baby One More Time's thematic bent adds an enhanced comical bite to her kinetic jams. — AR

Lobec – 5am Nostalgia (self-released)
The latest EP from this emerging Leeds, UK-based electronic producer is a knockout set of widescreen electronic grooves that's heavy on breaks, bass, and rave-tinged euphoria, and primed for adventurous late-night dancefloors. — AR

Sindy – Hits For Kids EP (PNKSLM)
The debut EP from this Stockholm-based artist (aka Tom Serner) is a well-crafted blend of shoegazerish dream-pop and shimmering electro-pop, combining fuzzy guitars and synths with buoyant song hooks. — DY

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