New Music Reviews (05/09)

Album Reviews

Each week, Music Director Don Yates (joined this week by Morning Show Producer Owen Murphy) 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 Sharon Van Etten, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Ibeyi, and more.

Sharon Van Etten – We've Been Going About This All Wrong (Jagjaguwar)
This LA-via-New York artist’s sixth album is a potent set of brooding indie-pop with an atmospheric, often-dramatic sound combining acoustic and electric guitars, majestic keyboards and solemn rhythms with intimate lyrics of hope, loss, anxiety, longing and resilience during troubled times. — DY

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Endless Rooms (Sub Pop)
This Melbourne-based band’s third album is a more expansive take on the band’s jangly post-punk, with the sound ranging from driving, surf-inflected rock and moody post-punk to atmospheric, psych-tinged ballads, with many of the songs revolving around searching for hope, love and connection in a damaged world. — DY

Ibeyi – Spell 31 (XL)
The third album from this Paris-based duo comprised of twin sisters Lisa-Kaindé Diaz and Naomi Diaz is a soulful, reflective blend of electro-pop, R&B, gospel and other styles, combining an often-spare mix of live and electronic instrumentation with the duo’s close harmonies and lyrics of growth, healing and connection. Special guests include Pa Salieu, Jorja Smith, Berwyn, Dave Okumu, Owen Pallett and other notables. — DY

Belle and Sebastian – A Bit of Previous (Matador)
This veteran Scottish band’s 10th studio album is an impressive set that dips into many of their previous styles, from wistful jangle-pop, propulsive, disco-influenced dance-pop and moody synth-pop to hook-filled chamber-pop, buoyant, soul-steeped pop and folk-flavored ballads. Whatever the style, the songs are impeccably crafted. — DY

Warpaint – Radiate Like This (Heirlooms/Virgin)
This LA band’s fourth album (and first in six years) is a well-crafted set of moody dream-pop combining atmospheric synths and guitars and gently propulsive rhythms with ethereal harmonies and melodies. — DY

Sunflower Bean – Headful of Sugar (Mom+Pop)
This New York trio’s third album is a diverse set ranging from propulsive dance-rock and buoyant psych-pop to fuzzy grunge and atmospheric shoegaze, with the songs revolving around trying to live life to the fullest in spite of dystopian times. — DY

Hollis – Subliminal (AntiFragile Music)
This LA/Seattle artist’s debut full-length is a sleek blend of buoyant electro-pop and atmospheric R&B, combining shimmering keyboards and gently propulsive rhythms with her high-pitched vocals and lyrics of falling apart and healing. — DY

Arcade Fire – We (Columbia)
This New Orleans-via-Montreal band’s sixth album finds them returning to a more focused, dramatic style of orchestral rock. While the album’s first half is bogged down by overly ponderous songwriting revolving around online saturation, they mostly regain their footing during the second half with a string of more personal songs of love and connection. — DY

Honeyglaze – Honeyglaze (Speedy Wunderground)
This British band’s debut album is a well-crafted set of minimalist indie-pop combining gently ringing guitars and atmospheric synths with Anouska Sokolow’s deadpan vocals and wry lyrics. — DY

Pink Mountaintops – Peacock Pools (ATO)
The fifth album (and first in eight years) from this LA-based band led by Black Mountain frontman Stephen McBean is a diverse set ranging from fiery, anthemic rock, atmospheric psych and wistful folk-rock to thrash metal, synth-driven rock, psych-tinged dance-rock and more. — DY

Helms Alee – Keep This Be The Way (Sargent House)
This Seattle trio’s sixth album is a potent blend of sludge metal, grunge, post-hardcore, shoegazer psych-rock and more, combining a heavy, densely produced and tension-filled sound with alternating lead vocals and hypnotic song hooks. — DY

The Builders and The Butchers – Hell & High Water (Badman)
This Portland band’s seventh album is a fine set of dark, sometimes combustible folk-rock occasionally inflected with soul, gospel and other styles, combining acoustic and electric guitars, atmospheric keyboards and more with often-ominous melodies and lyrics of struggle and resilience. — DY

!!! – Let It Be Blue (Warp)
The ninth album from this New York-via-Sacramento band led by Nic Offer is a diverse set ranging from thumping house jams and Balearic dance-pop to New Waveish funk, reggaeton and even an acoustic folk-pop ballad. — DY

Action Bronson – Cocodrillo Turbo (Loma Vista)
This New York rapper’s seventh album is a fun set of vividly detailed hip hop with a colorful sound combining a variety of sample-heavy beats ranging from funky, jazzy, soulful and bluesy to psych-tinged and cinematic with his humor-laced, braggadocious rhymes. — DY

Layla McCalla – Breaking the Thermometer (ANTI)
The latest album from this New Orleans artist (and member of roots-music supergroup Our Native Daughters) is a concept album about Radio Haiti, the first radio station in Haiti to report the news in Haitian Kreyòl, The album explores the legacy of Radio Haiti, while reflecting on themes of memory and identity through a blend of originals and traditional Haitian songs, along with sampled historical broadcasts and contemporary interviews. — DY

Chateau Chateau – Grow Up (Kill Rock Stars)
This Tucson band’s debut album is a well-crafted set of hook-filled indie-pop and dance-friendly post-punk, combining a bright sound with often-dark lyrics of mental illness, addiction, trauma and resilience. — DY

Hater – Sincere (Fire)
This Swedish band’s third album is a solid set of psych-tinged indie-pop with fuzzy guitars, haunting vocals and bittersweet melodies. — DY

Suki Waterhouse – I Can’t Let Go (Sub Pop)
The debut album from this British singer/songwriter/actress is a well-crafted set of atmospheric, sometimes folk-tinged indie-pop combining shimmering keyboards and guitars and other instrumentation with her breathy vocals, wistful melodies and personal lyrics of anxiety, longing and heartache. — DY

Moon Palace – Love Lost EP (self-released)
This Seattle band’s latest release is a well-crafted six-song EP ranging from propulsive, disco-tinged psych-pop to atmospheric dream-pop. — DY

JOYFULTALK – Familiar Science (Constellation)
The third JOYFULTALK album from rural Nova Scotia-via-Calgary producer/musician Jay Crocker is an adventurous set of electronic avant-jazz featuring a variety of sampled and live instrumentation, including his own impressive guitar work. — DY

Vero – Unsoothing Interior (PNKSLM)
This Swedish band’s debut full-length is a well-crafted blend of moody, psych-tinged indie-pop and driving post-punk, combining churning guitars and hypnotic rhythms with often-dark lyrics. — DY

Sadurn – Radiator (Run For Cover)
This Philadelphia band’s debut album is a solid set of emotive, folk-tinged indie-pop with a spare sound combining acoustic and gentle electric guitars, unhurried rhythms and intimate harmonies with Genevieve DeGroot’s delicate vocals and introspective lyrics of heartache and doubt. — DY

Anna Calvi – Tommy EP (Domino)
This British artist’s latest release is an EP comprised of four songs she recorded for the British television series Peaky Blinders. It’s an evocative set of brooding, blues-tinged rock featuring covers of Nick Cave and Bob Dylan along with two originals. — DY

Tombstones In Their Eyes – A Higher Place EP (Kitten Robot Records)
The latest EP from Los Angeles' Tombstones In Their Eyes finds them at the musical four-way-intersection of shoegaze, psych-rock, drone and early 70s roots rock. Singer John Treanor's soft melodies float over huge psych rock riffs reminiscent of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, and Black Angels. Fuzzed-out tracks "I Know Why," “Dreaming,” and "Hidden In My Eyes" anchor this strong set of songs. — OM

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