New Music Reviews (11/29)

Album Reviews

Each week, Music Director Don Yates (joined this week by DJ Alex) shares brief insights on new and upcoming releases for KEXP's rotation. These reviews help our DJs decide on what they want to play. See what we added this week below (and on our Charts page), including new releases from Dijon, Ovlov, Muzi, Ben LaMar Gay, and more.

Dijon Absolutely (R+R/Warner)
Following a string of brilliant singles and EPs, LA-based, Baltimore-raised artist Dijon Duenas (also one-half of beloved indie R&B duo Abhi//Dijon) delivers his highly-anticipated debut full-length album and it's a knockout set of raw, poetic, vivid tracks that continue to mine a transfixing sound that blurs the lines between R&B and folk music, yet Absolutely also leans into unpredictable, woozy, urgent rock territory that reflects the unfettered energy and emotion of Dijon's live show. — AR

Ovlov – Buds (Exploding in Sound)
This Connecticut band’s third album is a potent set of ‘90s-influenced indie-rock with fuzzy guitars, punchy rhythms and an abundance of catchy song hooks. — DY

Muzi Interblaktic (WE.THE.BUNDU/IDOL)
The 4th album from South African DJ, electronic producer, and vocalist Muzi (aka The Zulu Skywalker) is an excellent set of Afro-beats, Afro-house, hip-hop, R&B, boogie, and pop that consistently delivers. With its joyful, rich, and celebratory Afrofuturistic sound, Interblaktic frequently recalls Kaytranada, who contributes production on early single "I Know It." — AR

Ben LaMar Gay – Open Arms to Open Us (International Anthem/Nonesuch)
This Chicago composer/cornetist’s latest album is an adventurous blend of free jazz, hip hop, funk, indie-pop, samba and much more, featuring a diverse, open-ended sound combining a variety of acoustic and electronic instrumentation with field recordings and occasional vocals. Special guests include OHMME and Angel Bad Dawid. — DY

Isaiah Rashad The House Is Burning (Top Dawg Entertainment/Warner)
The third album (and 1st in 5 years) from this Chattanooga native and TDE underdog is a solid set of immersive hip-hop that taps into Southern rap for its highlight, yet also leans into R&B and trap styles in nimble fashion while being held together by Isaiah's steady, personable, enveloping vocal style throughout. SZA, Jay Rock, Smino, Lil Uzi Vert, and 6LACK make guest appearances. — AR

Petrona Martinez – Ancestras (Chaco World Music)
This veteran Colombian singer’s latest release is a potent blend of bullerengue and other traditional Afro-Colombian styles with Afrobeat, jazz, mariachi, rumba and more. The album combines a variety of traditional and modern instrumentation with call-and-response vocals along with guest vocals by a variety of women singers and musicians from the African diaspora, including Angelique Kidjo, Susana Baca, Nidia Gongora and other notables. — DY

Elbow – Flying Dream 1 (Polydor)
This veteran British band’s ninth album is a well-crafted set of gentle, slow-burning prog-pop combining guitars, keyboards, woodwinds and more with unhurried rhythms, soothing melodies and lyrics reflecting on the past and celebrating family and friends. — DY

Noveliss & Dixon Hill – Book of Changes (Clear Soul/Fat Beats)
Detroit rapper Noveliss teamed up with producer Dixon Hill for this potent concept album based upon the I Ching, combining warm, sometimes jazz-inflected beats with rhymes seeking balance and enlightenment. — DY

Riki – Gold (Dais)
This LA artist’s second album is a solid set of dark, ‘80s-steeped electro-pop with shimmering synths, occasional guitars and sax, often-propulsive rhythms, yearning vocals and lyrics of sadness and regret. — DY

Pearly Gate Music – Mainly Gestalt Pornography (Barsuk)
The second Pearly Gate Music album (and first in 11 years) from LA-based artist Zachary Tillman is a well-crafted set of folk-tinged indie-pop combining guitars and keyboards with often-wistful melodies and lyrics of love and connection. — DY

Dusky JOY (17 Steps)
Quickly reminiscent of Disclosure and Bicep, the third full-length album from this seasoned UK production duo is another razor-sharp set of expansive, bass-heavy, club-primed electronic grooves that finds them masterfully filtering house, techno, breaks, jungle, rave, and piano house into melodic, infectious, pop-sized anthems. — AR

Baker Boy – Gela (Universal Music Australia)
The debut album from this Indigenous Australian rapper, dancer, and actor is a vibrant set of kinetic pop-leaning hip-hop that often recalls the crossover sounds of Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, and Black Eyed Peas. Propelled by a fierce energy and frequently infused with traditional Indigenous instrumentation, Gela is a breakout set from this bubbling Australian artist that features seven early singles that began with album highlight "Cool As Hell" in 2019. — AR

Kay Young This Here Feels Good EP (Play It Again Sam)
The third EP from this emerging London-based vocalist/producer is an impressive set of expansive R&B and boom-bap hip-hop that contain shades of Speech Debelle, Arlo Parks, and Little Simz. Early single "White Teeth" carries a smooth, clever, and powerfully poignant punch that lyrically touches upon racial inequality while stylistically tapping into Tierra Whack's unique vibe, while the euphoric "I've Got You" packs an infectious colorful pop streak bolstered by a hopeful hook sung by JNR WILLIAMS. — AR

Sun-El Musician – African Electronic Dance Music (EL World Music)
The third album from this South African electronic musician, producer, and DJ currently making major waves in his home country is a solid showcase of his uplifting, kinetic, and infectious house sound that's steeped in the rich musical legacy of South African house music, yet it also carries a crisp melodic sound reminiscent at times of Kompakt's iconic catalog. Once again teaming up with a wide array of vocalists to bring an emotional punch to his cinematic rhythms, African Electronic Dance Music provides a fitting sampling of the stellar house music currently coming out of Africa. — AR

Footshooter – Southside Hymns (Astral Black)
Footshooter is the solo alias of Barney Whittaker, a London-based DJ, producer, and multi-instrumentalist who's also one-half of Rhythm Section International-affiliated duo Saul. Following solo EPs for YAM Recordings and Dance Regular, Southside Hymns serves as his official debut full-length album and it's a sharp set of vibrant UK-steeped electronic grooves that bounce between 2-step, house, broken beat, jazz, R&B, and more. Joined by an eclectic cast of guest vocalists and spoken word performers, Footshooter's colorful backdrops shine in their own right, but also serve as strong accents for each guest artist's own distinctive style. — AR

Jordana & TV Girl – Summer's Over EP (Grand Jury)
NYC-via-Kansas bedroom pop musician Jordana and LA-based outfit TV Girl join forces for this collaborative EP that beautifully meshes TV Girl's hypnotic, nostalgic-soaked, sample-heavy production aesthetic with Jordana's warm, breezy, and romantic vocals for a wonderful set of dreamy psych-pop. Surprise released to celebrate the launch of their entirely sold-out joint tour, Summer's Over is available for a name-your-price download on Bandcamp. — AR

Massage – Lane Lines EP (Mt. St. Mtn.)
This LA band follows up their recent second album with this solid EP of psych-tinged indie-pop with jangly guitars and bittersweet melodies. — DY

Land of Talk – Calming Night Partner EP (Saddle Creek)
The latest release from this Montreal-based project spearheaded by Elizabeth Powell is a solid four-song EP of atmospheric indie-pop combining prominent keyboards along with guitars and brass with lyrics of trauma and healing. — DY

Marvin Gaye & Salaam Remi – Save the World: Remix Suite EP (Motown)
Producer Salaam Remi remixed a few Marvin Gaye songs as part of Motown’s 50th anniversary of Gaye’s classic What’s Going On album. — DY

Austin Millz – Midas EP (Boom.)
Riding a wave of collaborations and remixes with Remi Wolf, Grouplove, and MICHELLE, as well as a steady stream of bootleg remixes on his Bandcamp page, this emerging NYC-based electronic producer offers up his latest EP of colorful dance-pop jams that fuse R&B, house, hip-hop, and pop in infectious fashion. Dave B, Aluna, Teedra Moses, Pell, BJ The Chicago Kid, Abhi The Nomad, and Ori Rose make guest appearances. — AR

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