New Music Reviews (1/18)

Album Reviews
01/18/2021
KEXP

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 Navy Blue, Off The Meds, Viagra Boys, and more.


Navy Blue – Song of Sage: Post Panic! (Freedom Sounds)
This New York rapper’s second album is a powerful set of introspective hip hop combining a variety of moody, often-melancholy head-nodding beats with reflective lyrics revolving around trauma and healing. — DY

Off The Meds – Off The Meds (Studio Barnhus)
Off The Meds is a captivating Stockholm-based hip-hop group fronted by South African-born rapper/vocalist Kamohelo Khoaripe alongside a production trio comprised of Adrian Lux, Carli Löf, and Måns Glaeser, all accomplished veterans of the Swedish club scene. Their debut album is a magnetic set of adventurous club-primed rap distinguished by Kamohelo's commanding Zulu-Tsotsitaal-English flow and the group's slick, kinetic, infectious beats. "Factory Workers" is a bonafide nighttime/overnight anthem. — AR

Viagra Boys – Welfare Jazz (YEAR0001)
This Swedish band’s second album is a potent set of satirical post-punk inflected with jazz, No Wave, country and other styles, with a gritty, fairly diverse sound combining clanging guitars, grimy synths and skronking sax with often self-deprecating lyrics revolving around substance abuse and toxic masculinity. — DY

Aaron Frazer – Introducing... (Dead Oceans/Easy Eye Sound)
The debut solo album from the drummer and co-lead vocalist for Durand Jones & The Indications is a strong set of wistful, ‘70s-steeped soul. Produced by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, the album combines a warm sound with fuzzy guitars, organ, strings, horns, flute and more with Frazer’s gentle falsetto and celestial backing vocals. — DY

Buck Meek – Two Saviors (Keeled Scales)
The second solo album from this Texas-born, New York-based member of Big Thief is a solid set of atmospheric, country-tinged folk-pop with a warm sound featuring acoustic guitars along with occasional electric guitars, organ, piano, fiddle, pedal steel and more accompanying his feathery, drawling vocals and glowing harmonies. — DY

Jam City – Pillowland (Earthly)
The 3rd album (and 1st in 5 years) from British musician Jack Latham (aka Jam City) is a fantastic set of warped, distorted, blockbuster electronic-pop that continues to showcase his visionary production style and sharpening pop streak. “Written under the influence of living in America,” Pillowland expands upon the gauzy hypnagogic pop displayed on his excellent 2015 sophomore album Dream A Garden for a bolder, more electrifying, and maxed-out widescreen aesthetic that consistently thrills. — AR

Svemirko – Skalamerija (self-released)
Steadily building a passionate fanbase in their native country of Croatia over the past four years, the third album from this project spearheaded by Zagreb-based musician Marko Vukivić (fka Kimekai) is another stellar set of shimmery synth-heavy guitar-pop featuring lyrics sung entirely in Croatian, gorgeous crystalline guitar tones, sunshine-kissed melodies, dreamy analogue synths, and tempos that sway between breezy and laidback to more propulsive and uptempo. — AR

Midnight Sister – Painting the Roses (Jagjaguwar)
This LA duo’s second album is a cinematic blend of moody chamber-pop, slinky disco, soul-tinged psych-pop and more, with a lush sound combining guitars, keyboards, horns and strings with hypnotic vocals and wistful melodies. — DY

Pom Poko – Cheater (Bella Union)
This Norwegian band’s second album is a solid set of arty, combustible post-punk combining fuzzy, volatile guitars, shape-shifting rhythms and bright song hooks. — DY

Wax Tailor – The Shadow of Their Suns (Lab’oratoire)
The latest album from this French producer (aka Jean-Christophe Le Saoût) is another solid set of hip hop grooves, combining mostly downtempo beats and an abundance of samples with occasional guest vocalists including Mark Lanegan, Del The Funky Homosapien and Mr. Lif. — DY

Nancy – 7 Foot Tall Post-Suicidal Feel Good Blues (B3SCI)
This British artist’s latest release is a solid mini-album of lo-fi bedroom pop inflected with glam-rock, psych-pop, garage-rock and other styles, combining fuzzy synths and guitars with lyrics revolving around mental health. — DY

Jon Mckiel – Bobby Joe Hope (You've Changed)
The third album from this cult Canadian indie rock artist is a charming set of sweet psych-pop tunes that carry a timeless 70s' nostalgia and frequently taps into a homespun folk sound. Much of the album is built upon loops based on samples found on one of the 30 reels that came with a Teac A-2340 reel-to-reel recorder that Jon bought online from a stranger (Bobby Joe Hope) in 2015. Simultaneously creating an underground gem of a psych-pop record while breathing new life into the previous owner's thought-to-be-long-lost music, Bobby Joe Hope contains shades of Koushik, Califone, and Chad VanGaalen. — AR

Eggshells – Hopeless Romancers (Jenny Invert)
This Seattle-based trio’s third album is a well-crafted set of brooding electro-pop with an often-spacious sound featuring spacy synths, atmospheric guitars, moody trip hop beats and haunting melodies. — DY

DJ Earl – Bass + Funk & Soul (Moveltraxx)
The latest album from Chicago's DJ Earl (member of the revered Teklife crew) is another adventurous set of juke/footwork jams that continue to explore the outer fringes of the genre with unique samples, ghetto acid flourishes, and absolutely relentless 160bpm drum programming. — AR

Four Tet – Parallel (Text)
One of two albums released by Four Tet on Christmas Day 2020, the 11th studio album from the renowned British producer opens up with a meditative 26-minute long piece before easing into his trademark balance of skittering atmospheric rhythmic grooves that organically unfold into euphoric moments alongside more dreamy gentle passages that touch upon ambient, downtempo, and neo-classical styles. — AR

Casper Clausen – Better Way (City Slang)
The debut solo album from this member of the Danish band Efterklang is an arty blend of prog-pop, space-rock, post-punk, and various electronic styles, combining a densely textured sound and hypnotic rhythms with soaring, often effects-laden vocals. — DY

Scan 7 – Sooner Than Later EP (Heist Recordings)
The latest EP from this mysterious/legendary Detroit collective is a knockout set of pumping house anthems that joyously taps into their city's historic legacy of funk, soul, house, and deep grooves. — AR

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