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 Bill Callahan, Disclosure, Lomelda, and more.
Bill Callahan – Gold Record (Drag City)
This Austin-based artist’s seventh album under his own name is a strong set of country-tinged folk-pop narratives, combining an often-spare sound with his deep speak-singing vocals and finely chiseled, sometimes wry lyrics revolving around family, love, loss and music.
Disclosure – ENERGY (Island)
The third album from the British production duo of Howard and Guy Lawrence is a high-energy set of dance-friendly electro-pop inflected with house, UK garage, hip hop, R&B, Afrobeats and other styles, combining propulsive rhythms with an impressive lineup of guest vocalists including Kelis, Channel Tres, Aminé, slowthai, Mick Jenkins, Fatoumata Diawara, Kehlani, Syd, and other notables.
Lomelda – Hannah (Double Double Whammy)
The fifth Lomelda album from LA-via-Silsbee, TX artist Hannah Read is a potent set of intimate folk-pop ranging from delicate, atmospheric ballads with piano and finger-picked acoustic guitar to dynamic, emotive folk-rock with muscular arrangements and soaring melodies.
Angel Olsen – Whole New Mess (Jagjaguwar)
The latest release from this Asheville, NC-based artist mostly features songs from her last album (2019’s excellent orchestral set All Mirrors) in their original stripped-down form. Olsen recorded the songs originally at Phil Elverum’s Unknown studio, located in a former Catholic church in Anacortes, and that’s a perfect environment for these starkly intimate interpretations of songs suffused with heartache and lost love, with a haunted, reverb-drenched sound combining just guitar and occasional organ with her dynamic vocals.
Protoje – In Search of Lost Time (In.Digg.Nation Collective)
This Jamaican artist’s fifth album is a potent set of reggae blended with hip hop, R&B and other styles, combining a variety of reggae and trap beats with lyrics ranging from love and weed to critiques of oppression and racism. Special guests include Koffee, Wiz Khalifa, Lila Iké, and Popcaan.
(Various) – AngelHeaded Hipster: The Songs of Marc Bolan and T. Rex (BMG)
This double album, 26-song tribute to the great British glam rocker was the final project from producer Hal Willner, who passed away in April from COVID-19 complications at the age of 64. Willner was famed for his multi-artist album tributes to musical greats, and this one features a typically wide assortment of singers both familiar and obscure interpreting Bolan’s songs, from Nick Cave, Beth Orton and Marc Almond to Kesha, Joan Jett and U2. The results range from pretty great to perfunctory.
Vusi Mahlasela – Shebeen Queen (ATO)
This veteran South African guitarist/vocalist’s latest release is an effervescent live album of traditional South African mbaqanga and related styles, made in tribute to his grandmother, who was known for hosting lively musical gatherings in her speakeasy (“shebeen”) in the township of Mamelodi (where Mahlasela still lives). The album’s sound is warm and inviting, with jangly guitar riffs, percolating rhythms, bright harmonies and sunny melodies.
Josiah Johnson – Every Feeling on a Loop (ANTI-)
The debut solo album from this former member of The Head and The Heart is a well-crafted set of yearning folk-pop with a lush sound combining a variety of guitars, keyboards, horns, strings and more with warm harmonies, wistful melodies and lyrics of identity, connection, regret and resilience.
Aluna – Renaissance (Mad Decent)
The debut solo album from London artist Aluna Francis (who was formerly one-half of the duo AlunaGeorge) is a smooth, well-crafted blend of dance-friendly electro-pop with R&B, occasional Caribbean influences and more, combining propulsive rhythms and bright synths with her light, silky vocals and lyrics of love and empowerment. Special guests include Kaytranada, Princess Nokia, SG Lewis, Rema and Jada Kingdom.
Grant-Lee Phillips – Lightning, Show Us Your Stuff (Yep Roc)
The 10th solo album from the former leader of Grant Lee Buffalo is a solid set of well-crafted, mostly low-key folk-rock inflected at times with country, blues, gospel and other styles.
Bob Moses – Desire (Domino)
This LA-based duo’s latest release is a solid 6-song EP of moody, club-friendly electro-pop combining propulsive house rhythms and haunting melodies with lyrics revolving around the ups and downs of desire in the modern world.
Ricky Reed – The Room (NIce Life)
The debut album from this Bay Area pop producer grew out of his “Nice Live” YouTube series, which features collaborative music-making sessions between Reed and a variety of guest musicians. The album’s impressive guest list includes Terrace Martin, Lido Pimienta, Jim James, duendita, Leon Bridges, Dirty Projectors, and other notables, while the music doesn’t stray far from a smooth, atmospheric blend of pop and R&B.
Throwing Muses – Sun Racket (Fire)
The 10th studio album (and first in seven years) from this veteran Boston-bred band led by Kristin Hersh is a diverse set of darkly poetic songs ranging from noisy sludge-pop to airy, haunting ballads.
Ruston Kelly – Shape & Desire (Rounder)
This Nashville-based artist’s second album is a well-crafted, often-poignant set of intimate, country-tinged folk-pop with a warm, often-spare sound combining acoustic and electric guitars, atmospheric keyboards and pedal steel with his yearning vocals and emotive lyrics of love, struggle and redemption.
Initiates – Esoteric Pop (PNKSLM)
Initiates is the new Stockholm-based band led by Holograms member Andreas Lagerström. His debut album under that name is a solid seven-song set of moody post-punk and shoegazerish psych-rock, combining fuzzy angular guitars and soaring melodies.
The Avett Brothers – The Third Gleam (Loma Vista)
This North Carolina band’s latest release is the third volume in their Gleam series of acoustic-oriented recordings. Like the other two, it’s a warm and wistful set of intimate acoustic folk-pop with reflective songs revolving around love, family, and spirituality.
All Them Witches – Nothing As The Ideal (New West)
This Nashville band’s sixth studio album is an expansive set of psych-tinged stoner-rock with heavy guitars, muscular rhythms, and head-banging song hooks.
Each week, KEXP’s Music Director Don Yates (joined this week by DJs Alex and Gabriel Teodros) shares brief insights on new and upcoming releases. See what's coming up this week below, including reviews for new releases from Kelly Lee Owens, Tkay Maidza, Bright Eyes, 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 (Liv).e, Fantastic Negrito, Zara McFarlane, and more.