New Music Reviews (2/8)

Album Reviews

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 Madlib, Wild Pink, Goat Girl, and more.

Madlib – Sound Ancestors (Madlib Invazion)
The first regular solo album from this veteran Los Angeles artist (aka Otis Jackson Jr.) was made in collaboration with British electronic producer Kieran Hebden (aka Four Tet), who arranged, edited and mastered the album. It’s a masterful set of expansive, mostly instrumental hip hop grooves inflected with jazz, soul, psych-rock and much more, combining an imaginative variety of vocal and instrumental samples with a wide range of colorful live instrumentation. — DY

Wild Pink – A Billion Little Lights (Royal Mountain)
The third album from this New York band led by John Ross is a beautifully crafted set of atmospheric heartland rock reminiscent at times of The War on Drugs, combining shimmering synths, gently jangling guitars, strings, horns, pedal steel and more with Ross’s hushed, breathy vocals and poignant lyrics revolving around aging and finding meaning in an often-meaningless world. Ratboys’ Julia Steiner contributes backing vocals to most of the album. — DY

Goat Girl – On All Fours (Rough Trade)
This London band’s second album is a strong set of moody post-punk and dream-pop, combining an often tension-filled sound with ominous undercurrents with soothing harmonies and trenchant lyrics tackling everything from sexism, climate change and complacency to more personal struggles of anxiety and depression. — DY

Dark Time Sunshine – Lore (Fake Four Inc.)
The fourth album (and first in nine years) from this Seattle-based duo comprised of rapper Onry Ozzborn and Chicago producer Zavala is a potent set of hip hop combining ominous beats and haunting melodies with Ozzborn’s razor-sharp delivery and lyrics reflecting on trauma, recovery and resilience. — DY

Femi Kuti – Stop the Hate (Partisan)
The 11th studio album from the son of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti (also released as a double album with the full-length debut from Femi’s own son Made Kuti) is a strong set of fiery Afrobeat with percolating rhythms, driving horns, funky guitar riffs, searing organ lines and pointed lyrics railing against injustice, police brutality and government corruption. — DY

Made Kuti – For(e)ward (Partisan)
The debut album from the grandson of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti (released as a double set with the latest album from his father – and Fela’s son – Femi Kuti) features an expansive take on Afrobeat, incorporating more prominent elements of jazz, R&B, rock and more, with Made playing every instrument on an impressive album that carries forward his family’s renowned musical tradition. — DY

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets – SHYGA! The Sunlight Mound (Telephone Explosion)
This Australian band’s fourth album features a more energetic sound for their prog-tinged psych-rock, combining fuzzy, squealing guitars and driving rhythms with catchy song hooks and lyrics revolving around isolation. — DY

Sun June – Somewhere (Run For Cover)
The second album from this Austin-based band led by Laura Colwell is a beautifully crafted set of folk-tinged dream-pop with gently ringing guitars, atmospheric keyboards, melancholy melodies and lyrics of love, longing and regret. — DY

Bernice – Eau de Bonjourno (Telephone Explosion)
The third album from this Toronto band led by Robin Dann is an adventurous set of expansive art-pop inflected with jazz, R&B, and other styles, featuring a warm, gentle and intricate sound with pillowy, atmospheric synths, piano, sax, shape-shifting rhythms and haunting, airy vocals. — DY

Subsonic Eye – Nature Of Things (Middle Class Cigars)
The third album from this Singaporean band is a fantastic set of catchy, confident, and energetic rock jams that pairs the band's propulsive guitar attack with sweet melodies, shape-shifting rhythms, and a youthful urgency that consistently delivers. Sneaking in post-punk, math rock, shoegaze, twee, and other rock-adjacent styles into the mix, Nature Of Things delivers an early 2021 hidden gem of a pop/rock record. — AR

Miss Grit – Impostor EP (self-released)
The second EP from this New York-based Korean American artist (aka Margaret Sohn) is a sharply crafted set of dynamic indie-rock with fuzzy, volatile guitars, bright synths, cathartic song hooks and lyrics revolving around identity and self-doubt. — DY

Aaron Lee Tasjan – Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan! (New West)
This Nashville-based artist’s fourth album is a well-crafted set steeped in various shades of classic rock, from ‘60s psych-pop and ‘70s power-pop to Tom Petty heartland rock, with a bright, hook-filled sound featuring electric and acoustic guitars, synths, sunny harmonies and lyrics of love, identity, anxiety and more. — DY

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – New Fragility (CYHSY)
The sixth album from this Philly-based project spearheaded by Alec Ounsworth is a solid set of majestic, hook-filled indie-rock with lyrical subjects ranging from gun violence and societal alienation to more personal concerns of lost love, aging and depression. — DY

Tele Novella – Merlynn Belle (Kill Rock Stars)
The second album from this Austin duo comprised of Natalie Ribbons and former Voxtrot member Jason Chronis is a sweet set of dreamy, psych-tinged folk-rock combining a cinematic, sometimes playful sound with plaintive vocals and wistful melodies. — DY

(Various) – Saturday Night: South African Disco Pop Hits - 1981 to 1987 (Cultures Of Soul)
This stellar compilation examines the music bursting out of South Africa between the years of 1981 and 1987 as the main music style of black South Africans started to expand beyond the dominant jazzy grooves of mbaqanga and head towards the iconic "bubblegum" disco-pop that would prevail towards the end of the 1980s. Borrowing from the Italo-disco, boogie, and electro sounds infiltrating clubs worldwide, Saturday Night showcases South African musicians and producers putting their own distinctive spin on that decade's raw, flashy, and funky dancefloor sounds. — AR

Yu Su – Yellow River Blue (bié)
The debut full-length album from Kaifeng-born, Vancouver-based artist Yu Su is a mesmerizing journey through leftfield electronic grooves that touch upon house, dub, downtempo, ambient, experimental, and environmental flavors. Regardless of the genre, each track is beautifully filtered through her distinctively psychedelic and lyrical lens. — AR

Apifera – Overstand (Stones Throw)
Apifera is a LA-based quartet comprised of Yuval Havkin (aka Rejoicer), Nitai Hershkovits, Amir Bresler, and Yonatan Albalak, all accomplished solo artists that have joined forces to create organic, harmonious, expansive jazz grooves to reflect the rich variety and equilibrium of the natural world. Infused with influences ranging from the folk music of their home country Israel, to Impressionist composers Ravel and Satie, traditional music from Sudan and Ghana, and the transcendental jazz of Sun Ra, their debut album is a sweet set of groovy, exploratory, psych-tinged jazz grooves with a cosmic touch. — AR

Ragz Originale – WOAH (Mini Kingz/DMY)
The latest mixtape from this bubbling North London-based vocalist/producer who's previously collaborated with Skepta, FKA twigs, and SOPHIE is an addictive set of sultry R&B jams infused with a distinctive UK mixture of dancehall, West African, grime, and pop flavors. — AR

Logic1000 – You've Got The Whole Night To Go (Therapy/Because Music)
The latest EP from rising Berlin-based, Sydney-born electronic producer Samantha Poulter (aka Logic1000) marks the first release on her new label Therapy and it's another strong showcase of her infectious, effective, and propulsive mixture of house, UK garage, electro, techno, R&B, and other dancefloor-primed styles. — AR

Soul Clap – World EP (Fool's Gold)
The latest EP from this Boston-based DJ/production duo is a teaser for their upcoming third album WTF (World Transformation Force) (due out in April on Earth Day) and it finds their slinky vocal-laced electronic grooves that encompass house, disco, boogie, pop, funk, and R&B flavors skewing towards a more focused and purposeful message with inspirational lyrical touches coming from their growing involvement in activism around climate, equality, and politics. — AR

AceMo – All My Life 2 (Sonic Messengers)
The latest EP from prolific NYC-based producer AceMo (aka Adrian Mojica) is another solid of deep underground electronic grooves that explores the exciting rugged edges of house, techno, electro, breaks, and more. — AR

Special Request x Tim Reaper – Hooversound Presents: Special Request and Tim Reaper (Hooversound Recordings)
Special Request is the revered alias of legendary British electronic producer Paul Woodward that's inspired by the unruly conventions of UK pirate radio stations and sonically delves into breakbeat, techno, speed garage, and jungle territory. Tim Reaper (real name Ed Alloh) is a key figure at the forefront of the UK's contemporary jungle/d'n'b scene. This blistering 4-track EP connects these two seminal figures of the British underground electronic community with Tim Reaper remixing highlights off Special Request's late 2019 album ZERO FUCKS and applying his blistering high-energy rhythms to Special Request's magnetic jungle tracks. — AR

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