New Music Reviews (11/1)

Album Reviews

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 The War on Drugs, Theon Cross, Nightmares on Wax, and more.

The War on Drugs – I Don’t Live Here Anymore (Atlantic)

The fifth album from this Philadelphia-bred, LA-based band led by Adam Granduciel is an impressive set of expansive, ‘80s-influenced heartland rock with soaring guitars, atmospheric keyboards, often-driving, sometimes motorik rhythms and lyrics of family, isolation, change and acceptance.

Geese – Projector (Partisan)

This young Brooklyn band’s debut album is a promising set expansive, prog-tinged post-punk with often-shapeshifting songs featuring angular, interlocking guitars, atmospheric keyboards, energetic rhythms and anxiety-fueled lyrics.

Theon Cross – Intra-I (New Soil)

The second solo album from this London-based tuba player/composer (and member of Sons of Kemet) is an expansive, groove-driven blend of jazz with hip hop, grime, dub, soca and other styles, with occasional support from an impressive lineup of guest vocalists.

Marissa Nadler – The Path of the Clouds (Sacred Bones)

This Nashville-via-Boston artist’s ninth album is a potent set of dark, psych-tinged folk-pop combining atmospheric guitars, celestial synths, spare piano, haunting melodies and lyrics of love, transformation and murder (many of the album’s songs were inspired by binge-watching reruns of Unsolved Mysteries).

Capsula – Phantasmaville (Silver)

This Buenos Aires-bred, Bilbao, Spain-based trio’s latest album is a potent blend of hard-hitting garage-rock, psych-rock, classic hard rock, surf and more, combining fiery guitar riffs, energetic rhythms and occasional sax with fist-pumping song hooks.

Nightmares on Wax – Shout Out! To Freedom... (Warp)

The ninth regular studio album from this veteran Ibiza-based British DJ/producer is a well-crafted blend of trip hop, jazz, R&B, dub, hip hop and other styles, combining an often-atmospheric, beat-driven sound with an impressive supporting cast including Shabaka Hutchings, Greentea Peng, Haile Supreme, OHSUN and Mara TK.

Lily Konigsberg – Lily We Need to Talk Now (Wharf Cat)

The first proper full-length album from this Brooklyn-based member of Palberta and My Idea is a diverse, hook-filled set with lyrics of heartache and new beginnings. The album’s varied sound ranges from propulsive dance-pop, atmospheric psych-pop and quirky synth-pop to driving, ‘90s-steeped rock, crunchy power-pop and more.

Bat Fangs – Queen of My World (Don Giovanni)

The second album from this Washington, DC/Carrboro, NC duo of guitarist/vocalist Betsy Wright of Ex Hex and drummer Laura King is a fun set of ‘80s-inspired hard rock with crunchy guitar riffs, muscular rhythms, catchy song hooks and lyrics of transcendence.

Charlotte Cornfield – Highs in the Minuses (Polyvinyl/Double Double Whammy)

This Toronto/Montreal artist’s fourth album is a well-crafted set of reflective folk-rock ranging from crunchy, hook-filled rockers to spare guitar and piano ballads, with the album’s vulnerable, sharply crafted lyrics revolving around love, anxiety and heartache.

Lunar Vacation – Inside Every Fig is a Dead Wasp (Keeled Scales)

This Atlanta band’s debut album is a promising set of psych-tinged indie-pop ranging from buoyant, uptempo pop-rock to atmospheric, folk-pop, with the songs revolving around transitioning to adulthood.

Jamael Dean – Primordial Waters (Stones Throw)

This LA-based pianist’s third album is an expansive double album split between jazz and hip hop. The album’s first half is a potent set of spiritual jazz inflected with traditional African music, combining Dean’s rangy piano with Carlos Nino’s supple percussion, Sharada Shashidhar’s mostly wordless vocals and Zekkereya El-Magharbel’s combustible sax and trombone. (The album’s second half is all-explicit, so the label didn’t send it to us.)

Clinic – Fantasy Island (Domino)

Now pared down to a duo, this veteran British group offers up their ninth album, which adds some playful elements of ‘60s lounge exotica to their often-sinister, psych-tinged rock, while also dabbling more into dub and disco with help from eerie vintage synths and drum machines.

Bedouine – Waysides (self-released)

The third album from this Syria-born, LA-based artist (aka Azniv Korkejian) is an often-gorgeous set of intimate, psych-tinged folk-pop with acoustic and muted electric guitars, warm keyboards, unhurried rhythms and occasional strings and mandolin accompanying her dusky, serene vocals and often-melancholy lyrics.

The Grease Traps – Solid Ground (Record Kicks)

This Oakland band’s debut album is a solid set of throwback soul and funk containing strong echoes at times of Sly & The Family Stone, The Meters and Curtis Mayfield, combining punchy horns, funky guitar licks, searing organ and in-the-pocket rhythms with gritty lead vocals from Daryl “The Gata” Norcott.

Billy Bragg – The Million Things That Never Happened (Cooking Vinyl)

This veteran British artist’s 13th album is a fine set of well-crafted folk-rock inflected at times with soul, country and other styles, combining a warm sound with lyrics revolving around pandemic life, dystopian times and resilience.

The F16s – Is It Time to Eat the Rich Yet? EP (House Arrest)

This Chennai, India band’s latest EP is a strong five-song set of summery, R&B-tinged psych-pop with bright synths, fuzzy guitars, buoyant rhythms and breezy melodies juxtaposed with often-dark lyrics of alienation and end times.

Pahua – La Cura EP (Nacional)

The third EP from this Mexican artist (and lead vocalist of the group Sotomayor) is a vibrant five-song EP of cumbia and other Latin styles, combining a variety of acoustic instrumentation with electronic beats and textures.

Lotic – Water (Houndstooth)

The second album from this Texas-bred, Berlin-based artist (aka J’Kerian Morgan) is an adventurous set of experimental electro-pop with an intricately textured, at times cacophonous sound combining swirling keyboards, clattering rhythms, strings, harp and more with her breathy soprano and lyrics of love, loss and resilience.

Naytronix – Other Possibilities (Overseas Artists Recordings)

The fourth Naytronix album from Oakland artist (and Tune-Yards member) Nate Brenner is an atmospheric blend of psych-pop, funk and other styles.

Xeno & Oaklander – Vi/deo (Dais)

This Brookyn-based duo’s seventh album is a solid set of dark electro-pop with ominous synths, propulsive rhythms, ethereal vocals and hypnotic song hooks.

Naomi Alligator – Concession Stand Girl EP (Carpark)

The latest EP from this Virginia artist (aka Corrinne James) is a solid set of lo-fi folk-pop with a spare sound combining banjo and occasional guitar with atmospheric synths, lilting vocals and lyrics of guilt, jealousy and contentment.

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