New Music Reviews (11/27)

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 BJ The Chicago Kid, Guided By Voices, Acid Tongue, and more. 

BJ The Chicago Kid - Gravy (RCA)
The Chicago based singer songwriter Bryan James Sledge, better known as BJ The Chicago Kid, drops his first full length for RCA. Full of smooth, groovy and infectious soul and R&B, the earworms throughout Gravy stick with the listener, further solidifying him as one of today’s top tier soul musicians. — CS

Guided By Voices - Nowhere To Go But Up (Guided By Voices, Inc.) 
On their THIRD album of 2023 (and 39th overall), the legendary and prolific Dayton, OH outfit showcase their impeccable and distinct indie rock songwriting skills. Nowhere To Go But Up is a fitting title for this collection of infectious singles containing their memorable guitar licks, explosive percussion and Robert Pollard’s singular vocals; this final piece of the GBV 2023 triptych proves that they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. 40 MORE YEARS! — CS

Acid Tongue - Blame It On the Youth EP (self-released)
Seattle rockers return with a hook-laden set of jangly garage rock for their latest EP, Blame It On the Youth. With elements of glam, post-punk, psych and garage, these tunes are sure to tide us over until their fourth full length, Acid on the Dance Floor, arrives in 2024. — CS

André 3000 - New Blue Sun (Epic)
For his first ever solo album, the legendary rapper, musician, producer, actor, and one-half of hip-hop’s best-ever duo floats down his own distinctive consciousness-expanding creative path with a deeply meditative album of instrumental improvisational spiritual jazz. Inspired by legends in the field (Alice Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Yusef Lateef, Pharoah Sanders) and joined by renowned luminaries (Carlos Niño, Nate Mercereau, Surya Botofasina) within the Los Angeles jazz scene, New Blue Sun may be a curveball for those hoping for a rap album from one of the history’s greatest lyricists, but it isn’t entirely unexpected either – André recently appeared on Carlos Niño & Friends’ 2023 album (I’m just) Chillin, on Fire and his post-OutKast fascination with woodwind instruments has been well documented on numerous viral clips over the past decade. Across it’s 8-track, 88-minute journey, André offers up a genuine, honest, and emotional tapestry, his exploratory flute melodies – played on various flutes from all over the world, as well as digital flute – weaving delicately in and out of the band’s cosmic compositions. If this album gets more folks into meditative instrumental music and digging into the catalog of the artists that helped inspire this record, as well as the modern artists revolving in this sonic orbit, it’s a success all around. — AR

C’mon Tigre - Habitat (Intersuoni)
The innovative and genre-less collective returns with their fourth studio album. While Habitat is rooted in Brazilian tradition and rhythms, the outfit hasn’t abandoned their signature influences of African jazz and electronic influences, providing a thrilling blend of soundscapes that highlights how connected we truly are globally.  — CS

deary - deary EP (Sonic Cathedral)
The debut EP from the London-based dreampop duo is a showstopper. These six songs are a perfect introduction to their melancholy melodies, hazy guitars, gorgeous vocals and propelling percussion as they ready the release of their debut full length, due in the new year. — CS

Desire Marea - The Baddies of Isandlwana (Mute)
The South African multidisciplinary artist follows up his 2023 sophomore album, On the Romance of Being, with an inventive new EP. Referring to the 1879 Battle of Isandlwana, The Baddies of Isandlwana continues his post-genre sonic journey, incorporating art pop, industrial, electronic, dark rock and more. He describes the new EP as “…a trio of songs inspired by my time living in Amandawe, KZN. It’s an infusion of sounds that dominate nightlife in SA such as Gqom, Amapiano and Afrobeat. The EP is symbolic of a time when I was trying to find myself in the world I occupied, which extended to my ongoing quest to find myself in history, hence the title.” — CS

Magic AL - Good Grief (Sleepy Cat)
Magic AL is the solo alias of Hillsborough, North Carolina-based musician Alex Bingham, a member of Hiss Golden Messenger and an integral figure in North Carolina’s fertile folk/rock scene. Written following the death of his best friend, his aunt, and his college roommate all within a few months, Good Grief is his cathartic, wonderfully welcoming, and super enjoyable debut solo release that serves as Alex’s personal process through grieving and an opportunity to break through the heavy sorrow by connecting with his close musician friends to pay tribute to the memory of lost loved ones. Sonically, it covers an impressive range from winsome folk-pop to colorful electro-pop to synth-heavy art-pop grooves, with a pair of stellar morning-time tracks in “6am” and “Wake Up.” With the help of a handful of guest vocalists including Amelia Meath of Sylvan Esso and Mountain Man, Rosali, and Molly Sarlé, Magic AL has turned grief into something quite joyful, buoyant, and celebratory. — AR

Otracami - touching the stove coil (self-released)
The debut full length from Brooklyn based Camila Ortiz, aka Otracami, is a true coming of age album, as a musician, producer, and her current self as she examines her past through her present lens. With minimalist but impactful guitar, keys, samples and drums, touching the stove coil is an entrancing collection of art pop and indie folk from an exciting new artist who has a clear vision. — CS

Rema - RAVAGE EP (Virgin Music Group) 
On his new EP, the Nigerian mastermind connects with his inner flame, “fueled with drive, passion and destiny.” With Afrobeats, hip hop, and more, these new tracks feel like a launching pad for something BIG to come. — CS

TTeo - Lovexpress 77 (Sonar Kollektiv)
TTeo is the alias of Matteo Capreoli, a half-German, half-Italian singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and electronic producer. Inspired by the discovery of long-lost tapes containing live recordings of his father’s late 1970s disco/funk/rock band Lovexpress, TTeo’s debut album uses those tape’s original material as foundational samples for his own creations that joyfully cruises through jazzy house rhythms, groovy psych-pop gems, and organic funk, all infused with transportive Afro-Latin flavors and gospel-tinted accents. Reminiscent at times of Romare, St. Germain, Nicolas Jaar, and Felix da Housecat’s iconic remix of Nina Simone’s “Sinnerman,” Lovexpress 77 offers a refreshingly modern and colorful take on the global jazz/house/lounge/funk sound of the late 1990s and early 2000s. — AR

Ghost Woman - Hindsight is 50/50 (Full Time Hobby) 
The third album in 18 months from singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Evan Uschenko finds the project fully realized with the addition of Ille van Dessel as co-writer/drummer. Going in a darker direction, Hindsight is 50/50 is full of murky guitars, intriguing manipulations, shadowed vocals and subdued yet driving percussion, fulfilling every goth’s wishlist for the winter season that is upon us. — CS

Mint Field - Aprender a Ser (Felte)
The third album from this Mexico City-via-Tijuana trio is another solid set of noirish dream-pop and ethereal shoegaze bolstered by lead singer Estrella delo Sol’s airy vocals and the band’s fuzzy, swirling, hypnotic backdrops. — AR

Montañera - A Flor de Piel (Western Vinyl)
The third album from this project of London-based Colombian singer, songwriter, and composer María Mónica Gutiérrez (aka Montañera) is a dreamy set of introspective and illuminating Latin pop that pairs her warm ethereal vocals with billowing, brooding, electro-acoustic compositions. With its title drawing inspiration from a common Colombian phrase that roughly translates to “Flowered Skin” and conveys a sense of intense emotions that seem to blossom from the surface of your body, A Flor de Piel lyrically examines Gutiérrez’s immigrant experience through a lush, meditative, vulnerable sonic lens. — AR

Q - Hello, Everyday Changes (Columbia)
Six months removed from the release of his thrilling, expansive, overlooked official debut full-length album Soul,PRESENT, South Florida artist Q (aka Q. Steven Marsden) offers up a solid 3-song stopgap release that continues to showcase his versatile, expressive, powerhouse voice and his chameleonic blend of R&B, soul, funk, and pop that blends a love for the iconic sounds of the '70s and '80s with cool, sleek contemporary production. — AR

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