New Music Reviews (11/8)

Album Reviews
Jasmine Albertson

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 Snail Mail, Nation of Language, Emma Ruth Rundle, and more.

Snail Mail – Valentine (Matador)
The second Snail Mail album from New York-based artist Lindsey Jordan is a bolder, more expansive take on her heart-on-sleeve indie-rock, with a more diverse sound incorporating synths, strings and more on songs of romantic obsession and heartache ranging from anthemic indie-rock and bittersweet folk-pop to atmospheric trip-hop and orchestral pop.
Nation of Language – A Way Forward (Play It Again Sam)
This Brooklyn trio’s second album is an impressive set of ‘80s-steeped post-punk and new wave with bright analog synths, atmospheric guitars, often-driving rhythms, plaintive vocals and bittersweet melodies.
Curtis Harding – If Words Were Flowers (ANTI-)
This Atlanta-based artist’s third album is an excellent set of ‘70s-steeped soul and funk inflected with psych-rock, jazz, gospel and other styles, combining dramatic strings, punchy horns, fuzzy psych guitars, keyboards, woodwinds and more with his husky vocals and lyrics of leaning on love and hope to survive in a troubled world.
(Various) - The Harder They Fall (Geneva Club/Roc Nation)
This soundtrack to the Jeymes Samuel film features a well-crafted blend of new hip hop, reggae, R&B, Afrobeats and orchestral pop written for the film and performed by an impressive list of artists including Jay-Z (who curated the soundtrack and co-produced the film), Koffee, Lauryn Hill, Fatoumata Diawara, Laura Mvula and other notables.
Hard Feelings – Hard Feelings (Domino)
The debut album from this duo comprised of New York artist Amy Douglas (Horse Meat Disco, The Juan MacLean) and Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard is a strong set of dramatic, dance-friendly electro-pop inflected with disco, house and other styles, combining propulsive rhythms, bright piano and synths and infectious handclaps with Douglas’s powerhouse vocals.
Clear History – bad advice good people EP (Upset the Rhythm)
This Berlin-based trio’s debut EP is a strong six-song set of rhythmic post-punk with angular guitar riffs, dance-friendly rhythms, alternating lead vocals and angst-fueled lyrics for these dystopian times.
Hana Vu – Public Storage (Ghostly International)
This young LA artist’s debut full-length is a potent set of brooding bedroom pop ranging from atmospheric dream-pop and grungy indie-rock to disco-inflected pop and acoustic-flavored folk, combining an intimate, often guitar-driven sound with her soulful alto and lyrics of alienation.
(Various) - Highway Butterfly: The songs of Neal Casal (Royal Potato Family)
This mammoth 41-song, 3CD/5LP tribute to the late singer/songwriter/guitarist Neal Casal features an impressive lineup interpreting his songs, including Steve Earle & the Dukes, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Beachwood Sparks, Fruit Bats, Hiss Golden Messenger, Jonathan Wilson, J Mascis and other notables.
The Parrots – Dos (Heavenly)
This Madrid-based band’s second album is a potent set of psych-tinged garage-rock with fuzzy guitars, bright keyboards, occasional horns, energetic rhythms, angst-fueled bilingual lyrics and catchy song hooks.
Houndmouth – Good For You (Dualtone)
This New Albany, IN band’s fourth album is a well-crafted set of bittersweet folk-rock with a warm sound featuring acoustic and electric guitars, organ, soulful harmonies and often-melancholy melodies.
ÌFÉ - 0000+0000 (Discos Ifá/Mais Um)
The second ÌFÉ album from New Orleans-based producer/percussionist Otura Mun is a potent blend of Yoruba praise songs and other Afro-Caribbean sounds with hip hop, R&B and more, with a groove-driven sound featuring traditional percussion along with electronic beats and textures.
Chime School – Chime School (Slumberland)
The debut Chime School album from San Francisco artist Andy Pastalaniec is a well-crafted set of jangly indie-pop with chiming guitars, bright keyboards, driving rhythms, soaring harmonies and wistful melodies.
Radiohead – KID A MNESIA (XL)
This compilation from the veteran British band features their groundbreaking 2000 and 2001 albums (Kid A and Amnesiac), along with a third disc of alternate versions and outtakes from those recording sessions. While there isn’t much on the third disc of rarities that sounds revelatory (many of the selections are brief sonic sketches), it’s still nice to have some of the previously unreleased songs available.
MUNYA – Voyage to Mars (Luminelle)
The debut album from this Montreal-based artist (aka Josie Boivin) is a well-crafted set of atmospheric electro-pop with shimmering synths and guitars, gently propulsive rhythms, occasional moody strings, sun-baked melodies and lyrics of determination and resilience.
Penelope Isles – Which Way to Happy (Bella Union)
This British brother-and-sister duo’s second album is a solid set of psych-tinged dream-pop combining atmospheric guitars and synths and lush string arrangements courtesy of Fiona Brice with ethereal vocals, bittersweet lyrics and wistful melodies.
Tasha – Tell Me What You Miss the Most (Father/Daughter)
This Chicago artist’s second album is a well-crafted set of reflective folk-pop with an often-spare sound featuring acoustic and electric guitars, atmospheric keyboards, occasional woodwinds and other instrumentation accompanying her serene vocals and personal lyrics of love and heartache.
ABBA – Voyage (Capitol)
The first album in 40 years from these Swedish pop icons is a solid return-to-form of buoyant, hook-filled pop inflected with disco, orchestral pop and other styles.
serpentwithfeet – DEACON'S GROVE EP (Secretly Canadian)
The latest serpentwithfeet EP from LA-via-New York artist Josiah Wise is a five-song companion set to his previous album DEACON, featuring reinterpretations of two songs from that album along with a remix of another one and two previously unreleased songs.
Nylon Smile – Waiting for Oblivion (Citrus City)
The debut Nylon Smile full-length from LA artist Nikolas Soelter is a well-crafted set of moody indie-pop with gauzy sound combining shimmering guitars and synths with lyrics of lost love and change.
Emma Ruth Rundle – Engine of Hell (Sargent House)
This LA-based artist’s fifth solo album is an emotionally powerful set of dark folk-pop with a stripped-down sound combining piano, raw acoustic guitar and occasional strings with her haunting vocals and lyrics revolving around loss, grief and childhood trauma.
WOOZE – Get Me to a Nunnery EP (Young Poet)
This London-based British/Korean duo’s second EP is a fun set of ‘80s-steeped New Wave and post-punk, combining fuzzy guitars, bright synths, propulsive rhythms and catchy song hooks.
aya – im hole (Hyperdub)
This London-based DJ/producer’s debut album is an adventurous set of experimental electronic music with playful synths, disjointed rhythms, mysterious samples, spoken, pitch-shifted vocals and lyrics of identity and change.
Jennifer O’Connor - Born at the Disco (Kiam)
This Nyack, NY-based artist’s seventh studio album is a diverse set ranging from reflective folk pop to atmospheric dream-pop and even some propulsive dance-pop, with the songs revolving around themes of family, love and identity.
The Mary Veils – Somewhere Over the Rowhome EP (PNKSLM)
Formerly the Philadelphia-based solo project of Brian Von Uff, The Mary Veils have now evolved into a full band. Their first EP as a full band is a scintillating set of hard-driving garage-punk with fuzzy guitars, energetic rhythms and catchy song hooks.
Generationals – ILEANA EP (Polyvinyl)
This New Orleans duo’s latest release is a fine four-song EP of hook-filled indie-pop with shimmering synths, atmospheric guitars, propulsive rhythms, soaring harmonies and buoyant melodies.
Renée Reed - J’ai rêvé EP (Keeled Scales)
This Lafayette, LA artist’s latest release is a solid four-song EP of spare folk-pop with acoustic guitar and atmospheric keyboards accompanying her gentle vocals and haunting melodies.

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