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 bar italia, Spirit Award, Hannah Jadagu, and more.
bar italia – Tracey Denim (Matador)
This London trio’s third album is a strong set of languorous post-punk inflected with atmospheric shoegaze, brooding grunge and other styles, featuring a mostly dark, often-spare sound with moody guitars, atmospheric synths, skeletal rhythms, alternating vocals and anxiety-fueled lyrics of loss, change and isolation.
Spirit Award – The Fear (Share It Music)
The fourth album from this Seattle project spearheaded by Daniel Lyon is a potent set of dark psych-rock with fuzzy guitars, droning synths, driving, often-motorik rhythms, hazy vocals, hypnotic song hooks and lyrics revolving around transcending fear.
Hannah Jadagu – Aperture (Sub Pop)
This young New York-via-Mesquite, TX artist’s debut album is an impressive set of moody, hook-filled indie-pop inflected with dream-pop, folk, grunge, psych-pop, R&B, electro-pop and more, combining fuzzy guitars, atmospheric synths, piano and other instrumentation with her serene, lilting vocals and lyrics of love, desire, religion, family and relationships.
The Murlocs – Calm Ya Farm (ATO)
This Australian band’s seventh album successfully injects some rollicking, country-tinged pub-rock into their psych/garage-rock sound, combining acoustic and electric guitars, piano, organ, harmonica, synths, sax and more with bright harmonies and buoyant song hooks juxtaposed with often-dark lyrics for these troubled times.
Tinariwen – Amatssou (Wedge)
This Tuareg band’s excellent ninth studio album brings a more countrified cast to their desert-blues sound. Produced by Daniel Lanois, the album seamlessly blends the band’s typical snaking guitar lines and hypnotic rhythms with fiddles, banjo, pedal steel, piano and more.
Alex Lahey – The Answer Is Always Yes (Liberation)
This Australian artist’s third album is a well-crafted set of anthemic, hook-filled indie-rock with crunchy guitars, punchy rhythms, sing-along choruses and sometimes-biting, sometimes-humorous lyrics of identity, relationships, isolation and resilience.
Pony – Velveteen (Take This To Heart)
This Toronto duo’s second album is a potent set of hook-filled power-pop with buzzing guitars, energetic rhythms, buoyant pop melodies and lyrics of longing and connection.
Mega Bog – End of Everything (Mexican Summer)
The seventh album from this LA-based project spearheaded by Erin Elizabeth Birgy is a striking set of cinematic, psych-tinged synth-pop combining moody synths, atmospheric guitars, occasional sax and more with dramatic vocals and lyrics of loss and healing.
Fatoumata Diawara – London Ko (Wagram)
The latest album from this Malian vocalist/guitarist is an expansive blend of West African styles with R&B, hip hop, electro-pop, reggae and more. The album features an impressive guest lineup, including Damon Albarn (who produced and plays on half of the album’s songs), Cuban pianist Roberto Fonseca, Ghanaian rapper M.anifest, Angie Stone and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus.
GracieHorse – L.A. Shit (Wharf Cat)
This LA-based artist’s debut album is a strong set of noirish country-rock incorporating elements of spaghetti western, psych-tinged desert-rock and other styles, combining acoustic and electric guitars, pedal steel, piano, banjo and more with her smoky vocals and haunting melodies.
Witch Prophet – Gateway Experience (Heart Lake)
The third Witch Prophet album from Toronto-based Ethiopian/Eritrean artist Etmet Musa (aka Ayo Leilani) is a dreamy blend of R&B, trip hop and jazz, combining keyboards, guitars, horns and more with her often-layered and looped vocals and lyrics revolving around her neurological health issues, along with love, connection and spirituality.
Mandy, Indiana – I’ve Seen a Way (Fire Talk)
This Manchester-bred band’s debut album is an adventurous set of ominous, experimental post-punk inflected with industrial, techno and other styles, combining dark, discordant synths, guitars and ambient sounds, pounding drum-machine rhythms and Valentine Caulfield’s politically charged French lyrics aimed at inequality, sexism and fascism.
Kassi Valazza – Kassi Valazza Knows Nothing (Fluff & Gravy)
This Portland-based artist’s second album is a well-crafted set of psych-tinged country and folk-pop, combining acoustic and electric guitars, piano, pedal steel and more with her gentle vocals and bittersweet melodies.
Dave McMurray – Grateful Deadication 2 (Blue Note)
This Detroit saxophonist’s latest release is his second album paying tribute to the Grateful Dead, transmuting the Dead’s jam-oriented psych-rock into bouncy jazz-funk and some searing ballads with help from his regular Detroit band along with guests Bob James, Don Was, Jamey Johnson, Greg Leisz, Larry Campbell and Oteil Burbridge.
Foyer Red – Yarn the Hours Away (Carpark)
This Brooklyn band’s debut album is an adventurous set of quirky indie-pop with imaginative arrangements combining guitars, Omnichord, mellotron, clarinet and flute with sometimes shapeshifting rhythms, playful vocals, whimsical melodies and lyrics reflecting the absurdities of modern life.
Waco Brothers – The Men That God Forgot (Plenty Tuff)
This Chicago-based band’s 10th album is a potent set of fiery, roots-tinged rock combining guitars, punchy horns, piano, organ and more with energetic rhythms, alternating lead vocalists and often politically-charged lyrics for these troubled times.
Temps – Party Gator Purgatory (Bella Union)
The debut album from this 40-person international collective led by British comedian James Acaster is an adventurous blend of experimental hip hop, glitchy indie-pop, jazz and other styles, featuring a busy, often-shapeshifting sound and a dizzying multitude of vocalists. Members of the large supporting cast include Xenia Rubinos, Quelle Chris, NNAMDI, Shamir, Open Mike Eagle, Yoni Wolf, Deerhoof’s John Dieterich and other notables.
Califone – Villagers (Jealous Butcher)
The latest album from this LA-based project spearheaded by former Red Red Meat frontman Tim Rutuli is a well-crafted set of experimental, folk-tinged indie-rock combining guitars and other acoustic instruments with adventurous electronic textures and warm harmonies.
Vox Sambou – We Must Unite (Les Arts Vox Sambou)
This Haitian-born, Montreal-based artist’s fourth solo album is a potent blend of traditional Haitian music with Afrobeat, hip hop, reggae and other styles, combining ringing guitars and energetic rhythms with his commanding vocals.
Tanlines – The Big Mess (Merge)
This Brooklyn-bred duo’s third album (and first in eight years) is a solid set of anthemic synth-pop combining moody synths, yearning vocals, soaring song hooks and lyrics revolving around relationships.
Charlotte Cornfield – Could Have Done Anything (Polyvinyl)
This Toronto artist’s fifth album is a well-crafted set of bittersweet folk-pop combining acoustic and electric guitars and atmospheric keyboards with richly detailed lyrics of love, loss, friendship and heartache.
Homeschool – Just Now EP (self-released)
The latest Homeschool release from New York artist Tom D’Agustino is a well-crafted six-song EP of emotive indie-pop with sparkling synths, fuzzy guitars, driving rhythms and soaring song hooks.
BC Camplight – The Last Rotation of Earth (Bella Union)
The sixth BC Camplight album from New Jersey-born, Manchester-based artist Brian Christinzio is a well-crafted set of cinematic indie-pop combining piano, guitar, strings, brass and more with often-dark lyrics of heartache and loss.
Salami Rose Joe Louis – Akousmatikous (Brainfeeder)
The latest album from this Bay Area artist (aka Lindsay Olsen) is an adventurous blend of experimental electro-pop, jazz, post-punk and other styles, combining an intricately textured sound with her breathy vocals and lyrics of climate change and multiverses.
Bongeziwe Mabandla – amaXesha (Black Major)
This South African artist’s fourth album is an expansive blend of Xhosa folk with electro-pop, R&B and other styles, blending a variety of acoustic and electronic instrumentation with his yearning vocals and haunting melodies.
Horse Jumper of Love – Heartbreak Rules (Run For Cover)
This Boston band’s latest release is a mini-album featuring eight new songs along with reworkings of two songs from their previous album (2022’s Natural Part) and a Smashing Pumpkins cover. The album features a more intimate and spare sound than their previous releases, recasting their music into gentle, psych-tinged folk-pop.
Just a Band – echo: dawn EP (Rauka Music)
This Kenyan band’s latest release is a solid five-song set blending Afrobeats, R&B and other styles.