Each week, Music Director Don Yates shares brief insights on new and upcoming releases for KEXP's rotation. See what we added this week below (and on our Charts page), including new releases from James Blake, Lala Lala, Porches, and more.
BADBADNOTGOOD – Talk Memory (XL/Innovative Leisure)
This Toronto band’s fifth album (and first in five years) finds them returning to their jazz roots while featuring a more improvisational sound on songs ranging from fiery fusion to more atmospheric pieces inflected with spiritual jazz, ambient and other styles. Special guests include Karriem Riggins, Laraaji, Terrace Martin, Brandee Younger and Brazilian composer Arthur Verocai, who contributed some gorgeous string arrangements.
James Blake – Friends That Break Your Heart (Republic)
This LA-via-London artist’s fifth album is an often-gorgeous blend of ambient post-dubstep and twilight R&B, combining atmospheric keyboards, mostly downtempo rhythms and spacy sound effects with his celestial vocals and often-dark lyrics of lost love, broken friendships, insecurity and isolation. Special guests include SZA, JID, SwaVay and Monica Martin.
The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die – Illusory Walls (Epitaph)
This Connecticut-via-Philadelphia band’s fourth album is a powerful set of emotive rock blended with prog-rock, metal, post-rock and other styles, with a dramatic, densely produced and shapeshifting sound combining guitars, keyboards, strings, horns and more with alternating lead vocals and pointed lyrics of struggle and resilience during dystopian times.
Lala Lala – I Want the Door To Open (Hardly Art)
The third Lala Lala album from Chicago-based artist Lillie West is a strong set of well-crafted indie-pop. Co-produced by West with Yoni Wolf of Why?, the album combines shimmering synths, chiming guitars, warm harmonies, occasional sax and other instrumentation with lyrics revolving around identity and embracing struggle and growth. The album’s impressive guest cast includes Ben Gibbard, OHMME, Sen Morimoto, Christian Lee Hutson and other notables.
Porches – All Day Gentle Hold ! (Domino)
The fifth Porches album from New York artist Aaron Maine features a more energetic, hook-filled take on his intimate blend of pop-rock and electro-pop, with an often-buoyant sound combining bright keyboards, fuzzy guitars and punchy rhythms with lyrics seeking connection.
screensaver – Expressions of Interest (Upset The Rhythm)
This Melbourne, Australia band’s debut album is a potent set of dark post-punk inflected with industrial, motorik prog-rock and other styles, combining angular guitars, buzzing keyboards, driving rhythms and hypnotic song hooks.
(Various) - Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine, Vol. 2 (Oh Boy)
The second John Prine tribute album released by his longtime record label (the first was released in 2010) features an impressive lineup including Brandi Carlile, Valerie June, Margo Price, Jason Isbell, Iris DeMent, Sturgill Simpson, Emmylou Harris and other notables interpreting Prine songs ranging from beloved classics to some more obscure songs that deserve to be spotlighted.
Atmosphere – WORD? (Rhymesayers)
The veteran Minneapolis duo’s 12th studio album is a solid hip hop set combining Ant’s boom bap beats with Slug’s reflective rhymes balancing poignant emotion and irreverent humor.
Church Girls – Still Blooms (Anchor Eighty Four)
This Philadelphia band’s second album is a potent set of punkish power-pop with crunchy guitars, energetic rhythms, soaring harmonies, anthemic song hooks and lyrics of addiction, toxic relationships and resilience.
Howlin Rain – The Dharma Wheel (Silver Current)
The sixth studio album from this Oakland band led by former Comets On Fire frontman Ethan Miller is a vibrant set of ‘70s-steeped psych-rock with expansive guitar solos and buoyant riffs, warm keyboards, violin, muscular rhythms and soaring song hooks.
Fotoform – Horizons (Dismal Nitch)
This Seattle band’s second album is a well-crafted blend of post-punk and dream-pop with atmospheric guitars and synths, driving rhythms, ethereal vocals, hypnotic song hooks and lyrics of grief, love and loss.
S. Raekwon – Where I’m At Now (Father/Daughter)
The debut album from this New York-via-Buffalo artist (aka Steven Raekwon Reynolds) is a well-crafted blend of moody indie-pop with R&B, folk and other styles, combining a hazy, atmospheric sound featuring gentle guitars and twinkling keyboards with personal lyrics of love and identity.
Efterklang – Windflowers (City Slang)
This Danish trio’s sixth album is a beautifully crafted blend of chamber-pop and ambient electronic, combining a variety of acoustic and electronic instrumentation and often-melancholy melodies with Casper Clausen’s delicate vocals and lyrics of isolation, reconnection and growth.
Noah Gundersen – A Pillar of Salt (Cooking Vinyl)
This rural Northwest-via-Seattle artist’s fifth solo album is a well-crafted set of brooding folk-pop with an atmospheric sound featuring acoustic and electric guitars, piano, haunting melodies and introspective lyrics.
Barrett Martin Group – Stillpoint (Sunyata)
The 10th solo album from the former Screaming Trees drummer is an all-acoustic set of mostly groove-driven jazz, with Martin playing nearly all the instruments (trumpet player Dave Carter contributed some solos, and Martin’s wife, Lisette Garcia, added some percussion).
Tekla Waterfield – New Skies (self-released)
This Seattle artist’s third solo album is an expansive set of well-crafted folk-pop inflected at times with rock, soul and other styles.
Nothing – The Great Dismal B-Sides EP (Relapse)
The latest release from this Philadelphia band led by Domenic Palermo is an EP featuring three songs of atmospheric psych-rock recorded during the sessions for their previous album (2020’s The Great Dismal).