New Music Reviews (6/12)

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 Janelle Monae, Squid, Feeble Little Horse, and more. 

Janelle Monae – The Age of Pleasure (Bad Boy/Wonderland)
This Kansas City-bred, LA-based artist’s fourth album is an expansive blend of R&B with hip hop, reggae, Afrobeats, Ampiano and more, with an often-breezy sound combining buoyant rhythms and sunny melodies with lyrics revolving around sex, partying and desire. Special guests include Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, Grace Jones, Amaarae and Sister Nancy.

Squid – O Monolith (Warp)
This British band’s second album is an impressive set of adventurous post-punk inflected with prog-rock, jazz, funk and other styles. Produced again by Dan Carey, the album features a dynamic, often-shapeshifting sound with inventive arrangements combining volatile guitars, synths, trumpet, violin and other instrumentation with often-cryptic lyrics.

Feeble Little Horse – Girl With Fish (Saddle Creek)
This Pittsburgh band’s second album is a strong set of inventive, hook-filled indie-rock inflected with shoegazer psych-rock, ‘90s slacker-rock and more, with dynamic, shapeshifting songs combining fuzzy guitars and occasional glitchy textures with often-wry lyrics of desire and heartache.

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – Weathervanes (Southeastern)
This Nashville-based artist’s ninth album is a powerful blend of moody, classic-sounding rock, acoustic-oriented folk and breezy country-rock, combining ringing guitars, atmospheric keyboards, occasional fiddle, harmonica and more with anthemic song hooks and often-dark lyrics of desperation, fear, addiction, regret and carrying on.

Jenny Lewis – Joy’All (Blue Note)
The fifth solo album from this LA/Nashville artist is an impressive blend of easy-going country-rock, intimate R&B, ‘60s girl-group pop and other styles, combining acoustic guitars, pedal steel, mellotron, strings and more with sharply crafted lyrics of getting older, longing, heartache and searching for joy.

Protomartyr – Formal Growth in the Desert (Domino)
This Detroit band’s sixth album is a potent set of tension-filled post-punk combining angular guitars, atmospheric synths, pedal steel and jagged rhythms on sharply crafted songs ranging from personal ones of loss and grief to more politically charged critiques of economic injustice.

Jayda G – Guy (Ninja Tune)
This Grand Forks, BC-bred, London-based DJ/producer celebrates her late father’s life on her second full-length with a buoyant set of hook-filled electro-pop featuring moody synths, propulsive house and disco rhythms and lyrics of love, loss and heritage.

King Krule – Space Heavy (Matador)
The fourth King Krule album from London artist Archy Marshall is a potent set of moody indie-rock inflected with jazz, dub, ambient and other styles, with an often-murky sound combining hazy guitars, atmospheric keyboards, horns, strings and more with gloomy vocals and lyrics of loss and isolation.

Youth Lagoon – Heaven is a Junkyard (Fat Possum)
The first Youth Lagoon album in seven years (and fourth overall) from Idaho artist Trevor Powers is a well-crafted set of atmospheric dream-pop with an intimate sound combining spare piano lines, electronic textures, various ambient sounds, cello and more with haunting vocals and lyrics of struggle, trauma and recovery.

Dudu Tassa & Jonny Greenwood – Jarak Qaribak (World Circuit)
Israeli artist Dudu Tassa teamed up with the Radiohead guitarist for this set of reimagined Arabic songs drawn from across the Middle East. Featuring a variety of Middle Eastern vocalists and musicians, the album seamlessly blends traditional Middle Eastern instrumentation with synths, guitars and drum machines.

Decisive Pink – Ticket to Fame (Fire)
The debut full-length from this project pairing Angel Deradoorian with Kate NV is a potent set of playful, experimental-minded electro-pop combining bubbly synths, woodwinds and more with celestial harmonies and buoyant melodies.

Anna St. Louis – In the Air (Woodsist)
This LA-via-Kansas City artist’s second album is a beautifully crafted set of atmospheric, ‘70s-steeped folk-pop combining gentle guitars, keyboards, strings, pedal steel and more with bittersweet melodies and lyrics of longing and a desire for connection.

Dream Wife – Social Lubrication (Lucky Number)
This London-based trio’s third album is a combustible set of raucous garage-punk with crunchy guitars, energetic, sometimes dance-friendly rhythms, dynamic vocals and lyrics ranging from desire and connection to pointed critiques of sexism.

Laura Cantrell – Just Like a Rose: The Anniversary Sessions (Propeller Sound)
This Nashville-bred, New York-based artist’s sixth album (and first in nine years) is a well-crafted set of country-rock and folk-pop combining guitars, occasional pedal steel, organ, fiddle and other instrumentation with her crystalline vocals and sharply crafted lyrics of love and loss. The album’s impressive supporting cast includes Steve Earle, Buddy Miller, Rosie Flores, Paul Burch, Mark Spencer, Fats Kaplin, Kenny Vaughan and Jen Gunderman.

Captain Planet – Sounds Like Home (Bastard Jazz)
The fifth album from this LA-based DJ/producer (aka Charlie Wilder) is a dance-friendly blend of Latin funk, Brazilian disco, Middle Eastern psych-rock, dub, soul and other styles, combining synths, horns, strings, guitars and more with propulsive rhythms, buoyant song hooks and a variety of guest vocalists and musicians.

This is the Kit – Careful of Your Keepers (Rough Trade)
The sixth album from this British project spearheaded by Kate Stables is a well-crafted set of jazz/prog-tinged folk-pop. Produced by Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys, the album combines moody guitars, keyboards, strings, horns, banjo and more with serene vocals and lyrics of relationships and change.

Bokani Dyer – Radio Sechaba (Brownswood Recordings)
This South African pianist/producer’s sixth album is an expansive blend of jazz with funk, R&B, hip hop, Afrobeat and other styles, combining piano, trumpet, sax, synths and more with rich harmonies and lyrics of connection, identity and empowerment.

Christine and the Queens – PARANOIA, ANGELS, TRUE LOVE (Because Music)
The fourth album from this French artist is an ambitious three-part, 20-song album of melancholy, R&B-tinged indie-pop, with mostly dark, cavernous songs combining atmospheric keyboards and mostly slow-going tempos with haunting melodies and lyrics of loss, heartache and grief.

Odonis Odonis – ICON EP (Pirates Blend/Felte)
This Toronto duo’s latest release is a six-song EP ranging from pounding industrial and bristling noise-rock to driving post-punk, haunting darkwave and more. The EP’s special guests include ACTORS, TOBACCO and A Place to Bury Strangers.

TEKE::TEKE – Hagata (Kill Rock Stars)
This seven-piece Montreal-based band’s second album is an adventurous set of psych-rock inflected with Japanese folk, surf and other styles, featuring a colorful, energetic sound blending guitars, flute, horns and more with Miya Kuroki’s Japanese vocals and soaring melodies.

GravelRoad – Duty to Warn (Knick Knack)
This Seattle band’s ninth album is a solid set of gritty blues-rock ranging from fiery, driving rockers to hypnotic, atmospheric ballads.

Tiny Ruins – Ceremony (Ba Da Bing)
The fourth album from this New Zealand project spearheaded by Hollie Fullbrook is a well-crafted set of psych-tinged folk-pop with an intimate, atmospheric sound combining finger-picked acoustic guitar, occasional cello, organ, electric guitar and other instrumentation with her serene vocals and lyrics of nature, loss and acceptance.

Nicholas Allbrook – Manganese (Spinning Top)
The fourth solo album from the frontman for Australian band Pond is a solid set of hook-filled psych-pop inflected with glam-rock and other styles, combining moody guitars and keyboards, occasional strings, woodwinds and more with yearning vocals and wistful melodies.

Skyler Ford – The Real Thing (self-released)
The debut solo album under his own name (he previously recorded as Ess Ford) from the Tacoma-based frontman for Snuff Redux is a solid set of New Waveish indie-pop with moody keyboards, often dance-friendly rhythms, wistful melodies and lyrics of struggle, grief and resilience.

Jimmy Whispers – The Search for God (Carpark)
This LA artist’s second album is a fine set of psych-tinged electro-pop with twinkling synths, drum-machine rhythms, yearning vocals and wistful melodies.

Wombo – Slab EP (Fire Talk)
This Louisville band’s latest release is a solid four-song EP of arty, psych-tinged post-punk with angular guitars, serene vocals and catchy song hooks.

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