Each week, KEXP’s Music Director Don Yates shares brief insights on new and upcoming releases. See what's coming up this week below, including reviews for new releases from Bully, Burna Boy, Old 97’s, and more.
Bully – Sugaregg (Sub Pop)
This Nashville project’s third album is the first conceived as a solo vehicle for Alicia Bognanno. Co-produced by Bognanno with John Congleton, it’s also the strongest Bully set to date of ‘90s-steeped grunge-pop and punk-rock. The album combines a muscular, hook-filled sound with Bognanno’s dynamic, angst-fueled vocals and sharp-edged lyrics of identity, upending gender roles, dysfunctional love, self-care and resilience.
Burna Boy – Twice As Tall (Atlantic)
The fifth regular studio album from this Nigerian artist (aka Damini Ogulu) is an impressive set of his Afro-fusion sound blending elements of Afro-beat, juju and other African styles with R&B, dancehall, hip hop and reggae, combining a blend of live and sampled instrumentation, percolating rhythms and radiant melodies with lyrics ranging from party-starting braggadocio to politically charged critiques aimed at racism and exploitation.
Old 97’s – Twelfth (ATO)
This veteran Dallas band’s 12th album is a strong set of roots-tinged rock ranging from hard-charging twang-rockers and buoyant power-pop to wistful folk-rock and haunting chamber-folk, with Rhett Miller’s recent sobriety inspiring some clear-eyed reminiscing of the past along with gratefulness for family and friends.
Chong The Nomad – A Long Walk EP (self-released)
The second EP from this Seattle DJ/producer (aka Alda Agustiano) is an impressive set of adventurous electro-pop with skittering, propulsive beats and woozy synths accompanying her airy vocals and hypnotic melodies. Ben Zaidi and Benjamin Gibbard also provide guest vocals on a song apiece.
No Joy – Motherhood (Joyful Noise)
With the departure of Laura Lloyd, No Joy is now the solo project of Montreal-based artist Jasamine White-Gluz. The fourth No Joy full-length was produced by Jorge Elbrecht (who also plays on the album). It’s an expansive, often shape-shifting blend of shoegazerish psych-rock with buoyant electro-pop, atmospheric dream-pop and blistering hard-rock, combining fuzzy, effects-laden guitars and driving, often propulsive rhythms with ethereal vocals and soaring song hooks.
Bettye LaVette – Blackbirds (Verve)
The latest album from the veteran soul singer pays tribute to some of her predecessors by covering songs made famous by some of the great interpreters of jazz and blues. Produced by Steve Jordan, the album combines a mostly spare, acoustic-oriented sound with her masterful, raspy vocals.
Secret Machines – Awake in the Brain Chamber (TSM)
This New York-via-Dallas duo comprised of guitarist/vocalist Brandon Curtis (whose brother and former bandmate Benjamin passed away from cancer in 2013) and drummer Josh Garza is back with their first album in 12 years. It’s a strong return-to-form of psych-tinged space-rock with driving, often-motorik rhythms, fuzzy synths, shimmering guitars and soaring melodies.
Naked Giants – The Shadow (New West)
This Seattle band’s second album is a more expansive and dynamic take on the band’s energetic garage-rock, with the sound ranging from driving New Wave, funk-inflected post-punk and atmospheric dream-pop to head-banging hard-rock, woozy psych-rock, quirky blues-rock and more.
Orville Peck – Show Pony EP (Columbia)
This mysterious Canadian artist follows up his excellent 2019 debut album with this potent six-song EP of cinematic, western-tinged ballads (along with a fun slice of country-pop), combining an atmospheric, cinematic sound with his dramatic vocals and lyrics of yearning and identity.
Meridian Brothers – Cumbia Siglo XXI (Bongo Joe)
The latest album from this Bogotá, Colombia-based project of Eblis Álvarez finds him dipping into the sounds of ‘80s cumbia, combining synths, guitars and drum machines with traditional Afro-Caribbean rhythms.
Sneaks – Happy Birthday (Merge)
The fourth album from this DC artist (aka Eva Moolchan) is an adventurous set of rhythm-driven post-punk inflected with hip hop and other styles, combining propulsive beats and shimmering synths with her elastic blend of spoken and sung vocals and evocative lyrics of self-discovery.
Marcos Valle, Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad – Marcos Valle JID003 (Jazz Is Dead)
The third volume in the Jazz Is Dead series from the LA-based duo of Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad features veteran Brazilian singer/songwriter/producer Marcos Valle on a solid set of breezy bossa nova and samba blended with jazz, psych-rock and more.
L.A. Witch – Play With Fire (Suicide Squeeze)
This LA trio’s second full-length is a more expansive take on their haunted garage-rock sound, ranging from driving post-punk and surf-inflected garage-rock to brooding rock and psych-tinged folk-rock.
Whitney – Candid (Secretly Canadian)
This Chicago band’s third album is a diverse, beautifully crafted set of covers ranging from Kelela, SWV and David Byrne & Brian Eno to Damien Jurado, John Denver and The Roches. While some of the covers are fairly faithful, others are more adventurous and showcase the band’s skill as arrangers and musicians, transforming a variety of styles into the band’s soul-tinged folk-pop.
Dent May – Late Checkout (Carpark)
The fifth album from this LA-via-Mississippi artist is a well-crafted set of ‘70s-influenced orchestral pop-rock combining piano, guitars, synths, strings and horns with his nasal croon and bittersweet melodies.
Bent Arcana – Bent Arcana (Castle Face)
The debut album from this group led by Oh Sees frontman John Dwyer (and featuring a stellar lineup including TV On The Radio’s Kyp Malone, drummer Ryan Sawyer and other notables) is a potent set of improvisational songs drawing upon astral jazz, ‘70s prog, spacy psych-rock and more.
Son Lux – Tomorrows I (City Slang)
The sixth album from this LA/New York trio is the first of a three-part work to be released over the next year. It’s an ominous set of avant electro-pop, featuring a spacious, tension-filled sound with atmospheric synths, spare, disjointed beats and haunting strings.
Black Marble – I Must Be Living Twice EP (Sacred Bones)
The latest release from this Brooklyn project led by Chris Stewart is a solid five-song EP of cover songs that mesh well with Black Marble’s goth-tinged synth-pop and post-punk.
Each week, KEXP’s Music Director Don Yates (joined this week by DJs Alex) shares brief insights on new and upcoming releases. See what's coming up this week below, including reviews for new releases from (Liv).e, Fantastic Negrito, Zara McFarlane, and more.
Each week, KEXP’s Music Director Don Yates (joined this week by DJs Alex) shares brief insights on new and upcoming releases. See what's coming up this week below, including reviews for new releases from Taylor Swift, Blimes & Gab, Fontaines D.C., and more.