New Music Reviews (7/13)

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 Dinner Party, The Beths, Smokey Brights, and more.

Dinner Party – Dinner Party (Sounds of Crenshaw/EMPIRE)
Dinner Party is the new supergroup comprised of Kamasi Washington, Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper and 9th Wonder. Their debut album under that name is a seamless, beautifully crafted blend of jazz, R&B and hip hop, combining impeccable musicianship, hip hop beats and buoyant melodies often juxtaposed with melancholy lyrics of heartache and racism. Chicago producer/musician/vocalist Phoelix provides guest vocals on four songs. — DY

The Beths – Jump Rope Gazers (Carpark)
The second album from this New Zealand band led by Elizabeth Stokes is a more expansive take on their hook-filled indie-pop, featuring songs ranging from crunchy power-pop to folk-tinged dream-pop with often-dark lyrics revolving around anxiety, distance and loneliness. — DY

Smokey Brights – I Love You But Damn (Freakout)
This Seattle band’s third album is a well-crafted set of ‘80s-steeped pop-rock with moody guitars, atmospheric synths, buoyant rhythms, alternating lead vocals and anthemic song hooks. — DY

Nadine Shah – Kitchen Sink (Infectious)
This British artist’s fourth album is an expansive set of blues-tinged post-punk combining a diverse, often rhythm-driven sound with her dramatic vocals and often-sardonic lyrics revolving around sexism, identity, societal expectations and individual freedom. — DY

Keleketla! – Keleketla! (Ahead Of Our Time)
Keleketla! is an international musical project that began as a collaboration between the British electronic duo Coldcut and various South African musicians including Sibusile Xaba and Yugen Blakrok. Since then, the project’s expanded to include the late pioneering Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen and longtime Afrobeat keyboardist Dele Sosimi (both members of Fela’s band), Brooklyn Afrobeat band Antibalas, LA spoken word veterans The Watts Prophets and West Papuan activist Benny Wenda. Their debut album as Keleketla! Is a vibrant blend of fiery Afrobeat, jazzy hip hop, propulsive gqom, atmospheric jazz and more. — DY

Dream Wife – So When You Gonna... (Lucky Number)
This British trio’s second album is a more pop-oriented, less raucous take on their hook-filled garage-pop. While there’s a bit of the fierceness that powered their debut, the sound more often ranges from moody post-punk to pulsing, synth-steeped pop and atmospheric dream-pop, while the often hard-hitting lyrics skewer sexism and complacency while celebrating empowerment. — DY

Cloud Nothings – The Black Hole Understands (self-released)
The latest album from this Cleveland group led by Dylan Baldi is a surprise release of summery, hook-filled indie-pop. Rather than the discordant, intense jams of recent Cloud Nothings records, this one features concise, brightly melodic songs with jangly guitars, driving rhythms and breezy melodies juxtaposed with often-melancholy, anxiety-fueled lyrics. — DY

Denai Moore – Modern Dread (Because Music)
This British-Jamaican artist’s third album is an expansive blend of electro-pop, R&B, folk-pop and more, combining a bright, kinetic sound with her elastic vocals and personal lyrics revolving around anxiety and self-esteem. — DY

Special Interest – The Passion Of (Thrilling Living/Night School)
This New Orleans band’s second album is a hard-hitting blend of punk, techno and industrial, combining grimy synths, jagged guitars, pounding rhythms and often politically charged lyrics of identity, sexism, racism and surviving dystopian times. — DY

keiyaA – Forever, Ya Girl (Forever Recordings)
The debut album from Chicago-born, NYC-based singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer keiyaA is a brilliant set of meditative soul, organic hip-hop, and healing R&B that introduces the world to her gorgeous voice, powerful mantra-esque lyrics, and woozy, heady, immersive beats in captivating fashion. — AR

The Jayhawks – XOXO (Sham)
This veteran Minneapolis band’s 11th album is their most collaborative release, with all four band members sharing songwriting and lead vocal duties. The sound ranges from jangly roots-pop and crunchy power-pop to ominous folk-rock and hypnotic psych-pop, highlighted by the band’s warm harmonies and sharp musicianship. — DY

NZCA Lines – Pure Luxury (Memphis Industries)
The third NZCA Lines album from British artist Michael Lovett is a well-crafted set of dance-friendly electro-pop combining bright synths and propulsive disco and funk rhythms with often-dark lyrics ranging from lost love to the perils of consumerism and environmental devastation. — DY

Rufus Wainwright – Unfollow the Rules (BMG)
This veteran Laurel Canyon-based singer-songwriter's ninth regular studio album (and first pop album in eight years) is an impressively crafted set of orchestral pop ranging from Laurel Canyon folk-pop and slinky country-rock to theatrical pop-rock and dramatic piano-based ballads. — DY

Clap! Clap! – Liquid Portraits (Black Acre)
The third album from Italian electronic producer Cristiano Crisci (aka Digi G'Alessio) is another wonderful transportive set of worldly-flavored electronic beats that uniquely fuse footwork, hip-hop, and traditional global rhythms with atmospheric field recordings and lush textures. Singer Martha Da'ro adds a stellar smoky pop vibe on album highlight "Moving On." — AR

Bo Ningen – Sudden Fictions (Alcopop!)
This London-based Japanese band’s fourth album is an adventurous blend of shoegazerish psych, hypnotic post-punk and motorik prog. — DY

Angelica Garcia – Cha Cha Palace (Spacebomb)
The second album from this LA-raised, Richmond, VA-based musician is a strong set of bold, adventurous, vibrant pop songs that meld together her Mexican and Salvadoran roots with a dense, upfront, genre-defying sound and bi-lingual lyrics. Infused with R&B, rock, electronic, reggaeton, and dancehall flavors, Cha Cha Palace is one of this year's most exciting under-the-radar pop albums. — AR

Soccer96 – Tactics EP (Moshi Moshi)
The latest release from this London trio comprised of two-thirds of The Comet Is Coming along with saxophonist/poet Alabaster DePlume is a strong three-song EP of politically charged dance-pop combining propulsive rhythms, atmospheric sax and sharp-edged, often-sardonic lyrics critiquing apathy, consumerism and exploitation. — DY

Guedra Guedra - Son Of Sun (On The Corner)
The debut EP from Casablanca, Morocco-based electronic producer Abdellah M. Hassak aka Guedra Guedra) is a thrilling set of high-energy celebratory club jams that touches upon Afro-house, juke, and global bass styles. — AR

V.V. Lightbody – Make a Shrine or Burn It (Acrophase)
The second album from this Chicago artist (aka Vivian McConnell) is a solid set of atmospheric dream-pop with a shape-shifting sound combining dreamy synths, piano, guitars, flute and more with wistful melodies. The supporting accompaniment includes members of Whitney and OHMME. — DY

Jayda G – Both Of Us / Are You Down EP (Ninja Tune)
The latest release from this London-via-Vancouver, BC DJ/producer is a four-song EP of buoyant house grooves featuring two new singles along with two corresponding remixes. — DY

Father John Misty – Anthem +3 EP (Sub Pop)
The latest release from this LA-via-Seattle artist (aka Josh Tillman) is a well-crafted four-song EP of covers, though all except the title song have been previously released. — DY

Greg Kramer – Tell Me EP (self-released)
The debut solo EP from this trombonist with Seattle band The True Loves is a smooth, well-crafted blend of mostly instrumental soul and jazz, with Seattle’s Otieno Terry providing guest vocals on the title song. — DY

Househead Samira – Radio Safia EP (Moveltraxx)
The debut EP from this Paris-based Tunisian DJ/producer (and Midnight In A Perfect World alum) is an addictive, funky, and refreshing set of high-energy house jams that showcases her sample-heavy sound that's filtered through a colorful prism of infectious party-starting beats. — AR

Dianna Lopez – Shapeshifting (La Luna Recordings)
The second EP from this NYC-based musician is an impressive set of earthy, dreamy, psych-tinged R&B/soul that confidently revels in slow-burning ethereal fare but also sways over to more upfront psych-rock territory on distinctive highlight "Euphoria." — AR

Peel Dream Magazine – Moral Panics EP (Slumberland)
The latest EP from this Brooklyn-based project led by Joe Stevens is a surprise six-song EP ranging from fuzzy, shoegazer psych-rock and hypnotic Stereolab motorik pop to atmospheric dream-pop and lo-fi folk-pop. — DY

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