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 Bully, Kassa Overall, Arlo Parks, and more.
Bully – Lucky For You (Sub Pop)
The fourth Bully album from Nashville-based artist Alicia Bognanno is an excellent set of hook-filled grunge-pop inflected with shoegazer psych-rock, fiery garage-punk, Manchester dance-rock and more, featuring a dynamic sound with fuzzy/crunchy guitars, insistent rhythms and personal lyrics of struggle, loss and moving on.
Kassa Overall – Animals (Warp)
This Seattle-bred drummer/producer’s third official studio album is an impressive blend of jazz, hip hop and other styles, featuring a variety of adventurous, beat-driven soundscapes combining acoustic instruments with electronic rhythms and textures, while also featuring a stellar cast of guest vocalists and musicians, including Danny Brown, Wiki, Nick Hakim, Theo Croker, Laura Mvula, Vijay Iyer, Shabazz Palaces, Lil B and other notables.
Arlo Parks – My Soft Machine (Transgressive)
This LA-via-London artist’s second album is a smooth blend of melancholy indie-pop, trip hop, R&B and other styles, combining pillowy synths, atmospheric guitars and gentle midtempo rhythms with her airy, soothing vocals, wistful melodies and lyrics of love, desire and heartache.
Water From Your Eyes – Everyone’s Crushed (Matador)
This Brooklyn-based duo’s fifth album is a potent set of fragmented avant-pop with a sample-heavy, shapeshifting sound combining jittery rhythms, discordant guitars, queasy synths and other instrumentation with wry, often-sardonic lyrics for dystopian times.
La Fonda – We Are Infinite (self-released)
The second album from this Seattle band led by Filipino-American sisters Valerie and Veronica Topacio is a potent blend of shoegazer dream-pop, moody grunge, bittersweet indie-pop and other styles, combining fuzzy guitars and atmospheric keyboards with lyrics of connection, gentrification and alienation.
Smokey Brights – Levitator (Nine Mile)
This Seattle band’s fifth album is a well-crafted set of anthemic indie-pop combining fuzzy guitars and shimmering keyboards with alternating lead vocals and lyrics of hope and perseverance.
SoulChef & Uptown Swuite – Lua (SoulSwuite Music)
The second collaborative album from New Zealand producer SoulChef and Vacaville, CA rapper Uptown Swuite (both of whom are of Samoan descent) is a potent set of hip hop combining warm boom-bap beats suffused with soul, funk and jazz with trenchant rhymes of identity, love, struggle and resilience.
Layng Martine Jr. – Music Man (Bloodshot)
This veteran Nashville-based songwriter’s debut solo album was spearheaded by his famed producer son Tucker Martine, who recruited a stellar supporting cast (including Bill Frisell, k.d. lang, Peter Buck, Scott McCaughey, Laura Veirs and Karl Blau) to accompany his dad recording songs he’s written through the decades. While the elder Martine has written hits for the likes of Elvis Presley, The Pointer Sisters, Jerry Lee Lewis and many others, the songs here are generally more obscure, though they still sound like classic AM radio country and pop gold, with lyrics revolving around love and the power of music.
Stuck – Freak Frequency (Born Yesterday)
This Chicago band’s second album is a potent set of sardonic post-punk with jagged guitars, sax, punchy rhythms and biting lyrics depicting dystopian times.
Keturah – Keturah (Hen House Studios)
This Malawi artist’s debut album is a beautifully crafted blend of traditional Malawian folk with other African styles along with some American country-folk, jazz, funk and other styles, combining gently ringing guitar lines, percolating rhythms and occasional horns, kora, piano, harmonica and more with her impassioned vocals and buoyant melodies.
Miya Folick – Roach (Nettwerk)
This LA-based artist’s second album is a well-crafted set of indie-pop inflected with folk, synth-pop and more, combining atmospheric keyboards and jangly guitars with personal lyrics of anxiety, struggle and growing up.
Nico Segall – Tell the Ghost Welcome Home (self-released)
The debut solo album from this Chicago artist formerly known as Donnie Trumpet is an expansive, atmospheric blend of R&B, jazz, psych-pop and other styles. Special guests include Jamila Woods and NNAMDI.
Guardian Singles – Feed Me to the Doves (Run For Cover)
This New Zealand band’s second album is a solid set of clangorous post-punk with angular guitars, energetic rhythms and lyrics of loss, along with more-barbed ones aimed at toxic masculinity, conspiracy theories and climate-change denial.
quickly, quickly – Easy Listening EP (Ghostly International)
The latest quickly, quickly release from Portland artist Graham Jonson is a fine EP of atmospheric psych-pop inflected with jazz, soul and other styles, combining synths, propulsive drums and a variety of other instrumentation with gauzy vocals and wistful melodies.