New Music Reviews (09/26)

Album Reviews

Each week, Music Director Don Yates 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 Alex G, Makaya McCravenVieux Farka Touré & Khruangbin, and more. 

Alex G – God Save the Animals (Domino)
This Philadelphia artist’s excellent ninth album is an adventurous and eclectic set ranging from pastoral psych-pop and plaintive country-folk to doom-laden rock and chaotic hyperpop. The first Alex G album to be recorded in a proper studio, it features a diverse, beautifully crafted sound combining sublime melodies with blasts of noise and inventive sonic quirks, along with often-manipulated vocals and lyrics of spirituality, longing, loss, acceptance and renewal.

Makaya McCraven – In These Times (International Anthem/Nonesuch/XL)
This Chicago-based composer/drummer’s seventh album under his own name is a beautifully crafted set of expansive jazz inflected at times with hip hop, funk, soul, dub and other styles, combining sax, guitar, trumpet, flute, harp, strings, sitar and more with intricate, unconventional rhythms. The album’s impressive guest lineup includes guitarist Jeff Parker and harpist Brandee Younger.

Vieux Farka Touré & Khruangbin – Ali (Dead Oceans)
Malian musician Vieux Farka Touré teamed up with Houston trio Khruangbin for this beautifully crafted tribute to Touré’s legendary musician father, Ali Farka Touré. Together, they’ve recast the elder Touré’s songs into atmospheric, psych-tinged music with gently ringing guitars, unhurried rhythms, hazy vocals and hypnotic melodies.

The Comet Is Coming – Hyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam (Impulse!)
This London trio’s third album is an adventurous set of cosmic jazz incorporating elements of electronic dance music, funk, psych-rock and other styles, combining Shabaka Hutchings’ fiery sax riffing with astral synths and often-energetic rhythms.

Divino Niño – Last Spa on Earth (Winspear)
This Chicago band’s impressive second album finds them recasting their psych-tinged electro-pop into a more groove-driven sound incorporating elements of reggaeton, house, hip hop, R&B and other styles.

Courting – Guitar Music (Play It Again Sam)
This young Liverpool band’s debut album is an adventurous blend of driving, hook-filled post-punk, chaotic hyperpop and other styles, combining fuzzy, noise-addled guitars, bright synths, driving rhythms and often-bizarre and cryptic lyrics.

Beth Orton – Weather Alive (Partisan)
This British artist’s seventh studio album (and first in six years) is a well-crafted set of atmospheric folk-pop inflected with jazz, ambient and other styles. Featuring accompaniment by a stellar lineup of musicians including Tom Skinner, Alabaster DePlume, Shahzad Ismaily, Tom Herbert and other notables, the album combines piano, synths, sax, gently gliding rhythms and moody melodies with her dusky, weathered vocals and lyrics revolving around memory, nature and connection.

Protoje – Third Time’s the Charm (In.Digg.Nation Collective/RCA)
This Jamaican artist’s sixth album is a potent set of reggae blended with trap, R&B and other styles, combining hypnotic rhythms and melodies and introspective lyrics with buoyant horns, shimmering synths, atmospheric organ, cinematic strings and more.

The Mars Volta – The Mars Volta (Clouds Hill)
The seventh album (and first in 10 years) from this El Paso-bred band led by former At The Drive-In members Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala finds them successfully recasting their heavy, complex prog-rock into a warmer, pop-oriented sound blending prog with psych-pop and various Latin influences, combining atmospheric guitars and synths, piano, organ, horns, woodwinds and more with often-dark lyrics of trauma, paranoia, betrayal and loss.

Suede – Autofiction (BMG)
This British band’s ninth album (and fourth since reuniting in 2010) is one of the band’s strongest releases, featuring a dramatic, goth-tinged rock sound, combining ringing guitars, atmospheric synths, piano, strings, punchy rhythms, soaring melodies and lyrics of love and loss.

Shannen Moser – The Sun Still Seems to Move (Lame-O)
This Philadelphia artist’s third album is a beautifully crafted set of intimate folk-pop combining acoustic and electric guitars, piano, synths, strings, woodwinds, banjo, lap steel and more with finely chiseled, often-poignant lyrics of love and loss.

The Harlem Gospel Travelers – Look Up! (Colemine/Karma Chief)
This New York group’s second album is a beautifully crafted set of buoyant gospel inflected with 1960s/’70s-influenced sweet soul and energetic funk, combining sunny melodies and celestial harmonies with lyrics of celebration and resilience in the face of adversity.

This Brazilian-born, Amsterdam-based producer/vocalist’s debut mixtape is a solid set of adventurous, club-friendly electro-pop inflected at times with hip hop, reggaeton, hyperpop and other styles, combining a densely produced, often-shapeshifting sound with lyrics alternating between English, Spanish and Portugese.

Klangstof – Godspeed to the Freaks (Velveteen)
This Amsterdam band’s third album is a solid set of moody indie-pop combining atmospheric synths and guitars with stately rhythms, melancholy melodies and reflective lyrics of self-acceptance.

Nikki Lane – Denim & Diamonds (New West)
This Nashville-based artist’s fourth album recasts her outlaw country-rock into a grittier, more rock-oriented sound. Produced by Josh Homme and featuring accompaniment from Homme and other members of Queens of the Stone Age, the album’s hook-filled sound combines fuzzy guitars, often-driving rhythms, occasional pedal steel and other instrumentation with Lane’s smoky vocals and lyrics of independence and resilience.

Iceage – Shake the Feeling: Outtakes & Rarities 2015-2021 (Mexican Summer)
This Danish band’s latest release is an odds ‘n’ ends collection of outtakes, singles, covers and rarities recorded between 2015 and 2021, featuring a number of fine examples of the band’s stormy post-punk.

The Soft Moon – Exister (Sacred Bones)
The fifth album from The Soft Moon (aka Joshua Tree, CA-based artist Luis Vasquez) is a potent set of dark, goth-tinged post-punk with icy synths, driving, sometimes industrial rhythms and often-ominous melodies.

Jake Blount – The New Faith (Smithsonian Folkways)
This Providence, RI artist’s second album is an often-powerful set featuring imaginative recastings of traditional black spirituals (along with a couple of original spoken-word pieces) that incorporate elements of traditional folk, hip hop and other styles. The album’s often-haunting sound combines guitar, banjo, fiddle and a variety of percussion with lyrics of suffering and redemption that have been reworked to reflect an apocalyptic world brought on by climate change.

The Tallest Man on Earth – Too Late For Edeweiss (ANTI-)
The sixth album from this Swedish artist (aka Kristian Matsson) is a well-crafted set of covers ranging from Yo La Tengo and The National to Lucinda Williams and Ralph Stanley, with most of the material fitting nicely with his intimate folk-pop sound, combining gentle acoustic guitar fingerpicking, reedy vocals and often-wistful melodies.

Sofie Royer – Harlequin (Stones Throw)
This Vienna artist’s second album is a fine set of theatrical indie-pop inflected with cabaret, New Wave synth-pop, funk-tinged yacht rock and other styles.

Maya Hawke – MOSS (Mom+Pop)
The second album from this New York artist (who’s also a regular on the Netflix show Stranger Things) is a solid set of intimate, folk-pop with gentle guitars, atmospheric synths, occasional strings, hushed vocals and wistful melodies.

Related News & Reviews

Album Reviews

New Music Reviews (09/19)

Each week, Music Director Don Yates (joined this week by DJ Alex) shares brief insights on new and upcoming releases for KEXP's rotation.

Read More
Album Reviews

New Music Reviews (09/12)

Each week, Music Director Don Yates shares brief insights on new and upcoming releases for KEXP's rotation.

Read More
Album Reviews

New Music Reviews (08/29)

Each week, Music Director Don Yates shares brief insights on new and upcoming releases for KEXP's rotation.

Read More