New Music Reviews (10/2)

Album Reviews

Each week, Music Director Chris Sanley and Associate Music Director Alex Ruder share 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 Blonde Redhead, Jorja Smith, Say She She, and more. 

Blonde Redhead - Sit Down for Dinner (section1)
Back with their first album in nearly a decade, the New York trio haven’t skipped a beat. Their signature fusion of atmospheric art rock, dream pop, and shoegaze is gripping, with Kazu and Amedeo sharing the lead vocal lift throughout this incredibly welcome return. With the title referencing the ritual of sharing a meal with those you love, Sit Down for Dinner is an expression of togetherness, and a true testament to the continued connection this outfit has three decades after its inception. — CS

Jorja Smith - falling or flying (FAMM)
The sophomore full length from the English singer-songwriter is an exceptional contemporary R&B album with deeply emotional lyrics, diverse soundscapes from acoustic guitar and swelling strings to jazzy piano with driving bass and percussion. At the forefront of it all is a vocal performance solidifying Smith as one of the strongest and most compelling voices in the game. — CS

Say She She - Silver (Karma Chief / Colemine)
The highly anticipated sophomore album from the Brooklyn & London trio finds these women absolutely SLAYING with impeccable vocal harmonies, soulful grooves and rhythms, and funky basslines. This super catchy 16 track long player is an impressive showcase of contemporary R&B with a retro undercurrent. And of course, Silver has that special Say She She **je ne sais quoi** that gives the collection staying power through and through. — CS

Animal Collective - Isn’t It Now? (Domino)
On their twelfth studio album, the experimental art pop outfit from Baltimore take us on another psychedelic sonic journey. Their longest album to date is full of their layered loops and manipulations, bringing the piano back into the fold with their guitars, electric bass and drum kit. Almost 25 years since their debut album, Animal Collective continue to push boundaries, keeping their loyal fanbase engaged for good reason. — CS

Cherry Glazerr - I Don’t Want You Anymore (Secretly Canadian)
The fourth album from Cherry Glazerr comes four years after her last, and Clementine Creevy wanted to take her time on this one. The result is a raw, honest rock record, full of moody guitars and an emotive vocal delivery highlighting her impressive range, while introducing some synth pop to the mix. — CS

Cleo Sol - Gold (Forever Living Originals)
Coming two weeks after her *almost* surprise album, Heaven, Cleo Sol is back with the shock and awe yet again. More message driven than its counterpart, Gold is comprised of beautifully understated spiritual soul, exuding hope and optimism. Superb basslines, minimal percussion, and delicate piano and guitar pair perfectly with her lyrical prowess. — CS

Molly Burch - Daydreamer (Captured Tracks)
The fourth album from LA-based Molly Burch finds the artist honing her craft as a songwriter, sounding tighter than ever as she gets more personal lyrically. Daydreamer is a slice of dreamy indie pop goodness, as Burch really comes into her own, in part thanks to excellent production from Jack Tatum (of Wild Nothing). — CS

Polyrhythmics - Filter System (self-released) 
The beloved Seattle outfit deliver another powerhouse of a record with their signature fusion of psych, funk, jazz, and Afrobeat. On FIlter System, their seventh full length, Polyrhythmics are not messing around as this expansive, energetic and groovy collection is sure to get you moving. — CS

Slow Pulp - Yard (ANTI-)
The sophomore album and ANTI- records debut from the Chicago outfit is a prime example of an exceptional indie rock record. Yard feels so airy and effortless with subtle flourishes expertly layered, classic guitar riffs, relatable lyrics, and some excellent bops throughout, including a twangy moment on "Broadview" complete with pedal steel, banjo and harmonica for good measure. — CS

Dessa - Bury the Lede (Doomtree)
On her third solo album, the rapper, singer and former Doomtree member is taking a left turn into pop territory. While still spitting bars at times, the artist leans more into her singing on Bury the Lede, with some infectious pop bangers and a couple introspective ballads. — CS

FLTY BRGR GRL - Happily Ever Never (self-released)
With an origin story rooted in being heartbroken at an In-N-Out, FLTY BRGR GRL (pronounced “filthy burger girl”) is an Oslo-based duo composed of Namra Beatrix Saleem and Sarah Christin Calvert. Their second album is a stellar set of expansive, infectious, charming bedroom pop. Lyrically diving into the joy, thrill, uncertainty, and devastation of young love, Happily Ever Never carries a magnetic melodic streak as it bounces between fuzzy guitar-driven jams to dreamy synth-pop fare. — AR

JOHN - A Life Diagrammatic (Brace Yourself)
The latest from the UK duo is a searing collection of melodic punk rock, with a powerful and gravelly vocal delivery, loud guitars and propelling drums. JOHN deliver super solid post-hardcore on their fourth album as they are about to embark on their first US tour. — CS

Kevin Drew - Aging (Arts & Crafts)
The Broken Social Scene frontman returns with his third and most vulnerable solo album to date. Recorded at The Tragically Hip’s Bathouse studio, the album is thematically about, you guessed it, getting older. Aging finds the prolific songwriter and indie rock linchpin reflecting on the last two decades of creating while looking ahead.— CS

Pachyman - Switched-On (ATO)
The 4th full-length album from LA-based Puerto Rican musician Pachy García (aka Pachyman) is a colorful set of dub reggae rhythms heavily influenced by the sounds of Lovers’ Rock-era reggae, Studio One Records’ legendary catalog, and the music of his native home in Puerto Rico. Full of spacious reverbed-drenched beats propelled by his trusty Korg Poly-800 analog synthesizer, Pachyman continues to reimagine classic dub music for the 21st century in warm, welcoming, playful fashion. — AR

The Sextones - Love Can’t Be Borrowed (Record Kicks)
Produced by Kelly Finnigan of Monophonics, the second full-length album from this Reno, NV outfit fronted by vocalist/guitarist Mark Sexton is a strong set of throwback soul that mines the warm, lush, analog-rich palette of late 1960s and early 1970s soul for its modern take on a classic sound. With its smart balance of punchy upbeat jams with orchestral slow jams, Love Can’t Be Borrowed adds another strong offering within the current retro soul revival. — AR

Wilco - Cousin (dBpm)
Approaching three decades as a band, the alt-rock outfit are getting a fresh start, so to speak. Cousin is their first release under dBpm records, and the first time they’ve relinquished producer control since Sky Blue Sky. While it’s not the first time the band has taken risks, it’s refreshing to have them still changing things up on their thirteenth studio album. Overall the arrangements are more subdued compared to previous works, as they incorporate new instruments like saxophone, cheap Japanese guitars and drum machines. — CS

Eli Escobar - The Beach Album (Off Track Recordings)
The latest album from veteran NYC DJ/producer Eli Escobar is another sharp set of magnetic sample-heavy house grooves with intriguing, shorter, hip-hop-leaning beats interlaced throughout. Created during a pandemic-fueled creative burst, The Beach Album finds Eli returning to his house roots after a run of albums released between 2020 and 2022 that explored a more introspective, cerebral, muted tone. — AR

Kamaal Williams - Stings (Black Focus)
Informed by isolation, reflection, and profound spirituality, the third full-length album from South London keyboardist and producer Kamaal Williams (aka Henry Wu) is a cerebral instrumental journey through jazz, classical, dub, downtempo, bossa nova, and hip-hop styles. The front half features the record’s most immediate moments, peaking with the title track and its sweet flip of Soho’s 1995 track “Hot Music,” before diving into dreamy and downright beautiful classical arrangements on the back half. Tacked onto the album’s 10-track run as a digital bonus disc are Stings’ three early singles that includes the distinctive, menacing, vocal-laced “PKKNO.” — AR

Millionyoung - Ocean View (Pet Tapes)
Thirteen years have passed since South Florida's Mike Diaz (aka Millionyoung) emerged as one of the unsung standouts of the early Chillwave movement, and while others have moved onto other styles, he's sticking to his roots in 2023. Proudly keeping the Chillwave spirit alive, his fifth album is another nostalgia-laced, psych-tinged, summery set of shimmery, dreamy, danceable synth-pop packed with bright, fuzzy guitars, groovy beats, wide-eyed vocals, and infectious melodies. Chillwave forever. — AR

Oneohtrix Point Never - Again (Warp)
The 10th studio album from renowned producer and experimental artist Daniel Lopatin (aka Oneohtrix Point Never) is another psychedelic, woozy, shape-shifting sonic experience through digital symphonics and leftfield synth-pop. Navigating his distinctive avant-garde-meets-absurdist path, Again is part of OPN’s “speculative autobiography” that serves as “a transmission, a spellbound backwash of digital languages and sonic paranoias.” Equal parts mesmerizing and disorienting, the album’s final two tracks provide a nice entry point with the epic vocal-laced closing track “A Barely Lit Path” shared as an early single and penultimate track “Ubiquity Road” capturing the record’s most beautiful (yet still fairly twisted) moments. — AR

Rob Moose - Inflorescence (Sony Masterworks)
Ever since leaving a Master’s Program at Columbia University to join Antony and the Johnsons in 2005, American musician Rob Moose has been a prolific behind-the-scenes figure across a vast musical landscape as a composer, arranger, and performer. Best known for his talents on the violin and arranging strings, Rob is a founding member of the renowned yMusic collective and has performed on over 500 albums. His work on Sufjan Stevens’ 2005 album lllinois album was an early landmark moment, and he’s gone on to work closely with Bon Iver, ANOHNI, The National, Perfume Genius, Paul Simon, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Moses Sumney, Alabama Shakes, Taylor Swift and hundreds more. After nearly 18 years working as a trusted collaborator for some of the world’s most exciting independent and mainstream acts, Inflorescence serves as Rob’s long-awaited solo debut release, and it’s a riveting set of orchestral pop featuring stunning string arrangements that serve as the foundation for knockout vocal performances by a handful of his friends: Bon Iver, Brittany Howard, Phoebe Bridgers, Emily King, and Sara Bareilles. Rob currently splits time between Brooklyn and Orcas Island, as he just finished building out his own recording studio on the idyllic San Juan island. — AR

Sam Gellaitry - UNDER THE ILLUSION (Major Recordings)
The latest EP from Scottish musician Sam Gellaitry further displays his trailblazing path towards a genre-blurring, pop-leaning, vocal-laced sound that swims through a sleek electronic/R&B/pop prism. His prodigious production talents and intricate studio wizardry continue to lay the foundation for his growing confidence as a vocalist and songwriter, yielding another addictive entry in his filler-free catalog. — AR

The second full-length album (and first in six years) from Brooklyn-based musician, producer, musical encyclopedia, and Astro Nautico Records co-founder Samuel Obey (aka Sam O.B., fka Obey City) is another solid set of arty synth-pop full of off-kilter funk, wiggly grooves, and exploratory pop vibes. Bolstered by his immaculate, clean, yet richly textured production and airy vocals, TOO MANY HUMANS NOT ENOUGH SOULS is the sound of an artist maturing, slowing down, and creating the sophisticated smooth pop of their dreams. — AR

Samantha Urbani - Showing Up (Lucky Number)
LA-based, Connecticut-born singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, activist, and chameleonic talent Samantha Urbani has experienced a long-winding, multi-faceted path through the music industry over the past 15 years. She was a member of the hotly-tipped, short-lived band Friends in the early 2010s, served as an adjunct professor at NYU’s prestigious Clive Davis Institute, collaborated closely with her ex-partner Devonte Hynes aka Blood Orange, launched the record label URU in order to re-release the long-lost 1981 LP Running Out of Time by London pop duo Rexy, and she recently joined the A&R team at The Secretly Group. Following a string of solo singles and EPs dating back to 2015, Showing Up marks her long-awaited debut full-length album and she’s taken all of these wide-ranging experiences to create a vibrant set of sleek, anthemic, 80s-tinted synth-pop with an anthemic R&B streak. — AR

thanks for coming - What Is My Capacity To Love? EP (Danger Collective)
Marking their 81st release under the thanks for coming alias, the latest EP (and Danger Collective debut) from this solo project of Brooklyn-based musician Rachel Brown of Water From Your Eyes is an engrossing set of intimate, reflective, idiosyncratic pop songs that grapple with the complexities, nuances, and confusion of romantic relationships. Written largely in the immediate aftermath of a breakup, Rachel’s powerfully honest lyrics explore their persistent cycle of “infatuation, disappointment, seeking out intimacy, but never actually letting anyone in” in a candid fashion that’s both witty and gut-punching. — AR

untitled (halo) - towncryer (halocorp)
The debut EP from this Los Angeles trio is a fascinating blend of fuzzy dream-pop, sludgy shoegaze, ethereal grunge, and slow-motion art-pop that’s accented by the group’s gauzy male/female vocals. Boasting five short songs that hover around the two-minute mark before closing out with the beautiful, brooding 6+ minute shoegaze gem “oblique butterfly,” untitled (halo) emerge as a mysterious band with a captivating sound – seemingly destined for a Gregg Araki film – that’s worth keeping tabs on. — AR

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