New Music Reviews (8/28)

Album Reviews

Each week, Music Director Don Yates (joined this week by incoming Music Director Chris Sanley and Associate Music Director Alex Ruder) 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 Noname, Burna Boy, Be Your Own Pet, and more. 

Noname – Sundial (self-released)
The second studio album (and 1st album in 5 years) from Chicago rapper, poet, and producer Noname (aka Fatimah Warner) is another knockout set of powerful hip-hop steeped in jazz, R&B, and gospel flavors that’s punctuated by her top-tier lyricism. With her smooth and magnetic flow dancing nimbly over lush 90s-steeped beats, Noname delivers incisive, potent, memorable bars tackling racial, political, social, and economical topics, as well as personal relationships and her own hypocrisies, with insight, wit, humor, and reflection. — AR

Burna Boy – I Told Them… (Atlantic)
This Nigerian artist’s seventh album is an expansive, hook-filled set of Afrobeats blended with hip hop, R&B, amapiano and other styles, combining gently ringing guitars, atmospheric synths, percolating rhythms, occasional sax and other instrumentation with sparkling melodies and lyrics exuding self-confidence. Special guests include GZA, 21 Savage, Dave, Seyi Vibez, RZA, J. Cole & Byron Messia. — DY

Be Your Own Pet – Mommy (Third Man)
The iconic Nashville outfit make a triumphant return with their first album in 15 years. Written and recorded by the three founding members – Jemina Pearl Abegg (vox), Jonas Stein (guitar), Natahan Vasquez (bass) – they stay true to their garage punk roots while fiercely propelling themselves into the modern age. The facts are, BYOP still rips. Welcome back! — CS

Who is She? – Goddess Energy (Father/Daughter)
The Seattle supergroup consisting of Robin Edwards of Lisa Prank, Bree Mckenna and Emily Nokes of Tacocat, and Julia Shapiro of Chastity Belt deliver jaunty, rhythmic, indie pop and garage rock, welcoming the listener into the inner circle of their special friendship on their sophomore album. — CS

Buck Meek – Haunted Mountain (4AD)
Big Thief guitarist releases his third solo album, and first for 4AD. His Americana-tinged indie folk rock achieves a Laurel Canyon vibe (which is quite fitting given his new home in the Santa Monica Range) while thematically he explores the seemingly-infinite forms of love. — CS

Danger Mouse & Jemini – Born Again (Lex)
Twenty years after recording their sophomore album, Danger Mouse & Jemini finally serve up Born Again, aligning with the 20th anniversary of the duo's debut LP, hip-hop cult classic, Ghetto Pop Life. Danger Mouse’s production is impeccable, with some frenetic beats and compelling instrumentals, while Jemini’s vocal delivery shines as he explores both fun-loving and introspective themes. Thrilled this release finally made it off the shelves. — CS

Becca Mancari – Left Hand (Captured Tracks)
The third album from the Nashville based artist finds them dealing with heavy themes, including family illness, religious upbringing, alcohol dependency and mental health, through their specific lens as a queer, non-binary and mixed race person. The layered instrumentation – complete with groovy basslines, varied synths and guitar, and syncopated drums – weaves together a tantalizing soundscape of dreamy indie pop heaven. — CS

Sea Lemon – Stop At Nothing (Luminelle Recordings)
The second EP (and Luminelle Recordings debut) from this project of Seattle-based musician Natalie Lew is a stellar set of fuzzy dream-pop and soaring shoegaze that she cheekily bills as "Costco Cocteau Twins" in a nod to her Pacific Northwest roots and the influential 4AD aesthetic she grew up loving. Jackson Phillips (aka Day Wave) helped contribute to the EP and duets on "Breakdown." — AR

Ratboys – The Window (Topshelf)
Their fourth full length album finds the Chicago outfit delivering their signature indie rock sound, with some surprising twists and turns into twangy territory (ie: Morning Zoo) and unexpected elements and instruments like rototoms, talkboxes, and fiddles. Produced by Chris Walla, The Window is a solid listen from start to finish from a band that gets tighter with each release. — CS

Hiss Golden Messenger – Jump For Joy (Merge)
Durham, NC-based M.C. Taylor and co. return with their groove-laden folk rock on their tenth studio album, Jump For Joy. Taylor employs his alias, Michael Crow, to explore the early phases he’s had as a teenage musician, while he reflects on more recent memories in some of his most autobiographical work. Folk, blues, soul and rock are fused seamlessly throughout for that quintessential Hiss Golden Messenger Americana sound. — CS

Islands – And That’s Why Dolphins Lost Their Legs (ELF)
The ninth album from this Montreal-bred, LA-based band led by Nick Thorburn is a hook-filled set of psych-tinged electro-pop with moody synths, occasional horns and other instrumentation, bouncy, sometimes trip hop-inflected rhythms and often-dark lyrics of dystopian times. — DY

Bebel Gilberto – João (PIAS)
The daughter of João Gilberto – one of the key innovators of bossa nova – pays tribute to her late father on her ninth studio album. After previously avoiding covering her father’s music, she is now showcasing his works that have really impacted her on this touching tribute album. His 1973 self-titled release (referred to as his White Album) and his 1977 album Amoroso were her strongest guides for this collection, and she beautifully honors the tradition of this classic Brazilian sound. — CS

Film School – Field (felte)
This LA/San Francisco band’s seventh album is a potent blend of shoegazer psych-rock, motorik prog and other styles, combining atmospheric guitars and keyboards with hypnotic rhythms and lyrics of disconnection, regret, alienation and resilience. — DY

Cindy Wilson – Realms (Kill Rock Stars)
The second solo album from this Atlanta-based founding member of The B-52’s is a solid set of dance-friendly electro-pop with a psych-tinged sound featuring shimmering synths, propulsive rhythms, occasional strings and buoyant song hooks. — DY

Old Crow Medicine Show – Jubilee (ATO)
This Nashville band’s eighth album is a well-crafted blend of bluegrass, country, folk-rock, gospel and other styles, combining a warm, rootsy sound with lyrics of love, desire, loss, struggle and cutting loose. — DY

Charif Megarbane – Marzipan (Habibi Funk)
Renowned Berlin-based reissue label Habibi Funk unveils their first full-length contemporary release and it’s a beautiful album by prolific Beirut multi-instrumentalist and producer Charif Megarbane that explores a style he bills as “Lebrary” music – a vision of Lebanon and the Mediterranean expressed via the prismatic sonics of library music. Featuring lush cinematic beats and transportive compositions, this richly textured instrumental-heavy journey provides a fresh modern take on Habibi Funk’s expert curation of Arabic music from the Middle East and Northern Africa. — AR

Les Imprimés – Rêverie (Big Crown)
Hailing from Kristiansand, Norway, Les Imprimés is the alias of vocalist, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Morten Martens. His debut full-length album is an impressive set of warm throwback soul cuts with a lush analogue-heavy sound. — AR

Sonny & the Sunsets – Self Awareness Through Macrame (Rocks In Your Head)
The ninth studio album from this California outfit picks up where they left off with some vintage-tinged, jangly west-coast pop. The band recently wrapped a run with legendary zamrock outfit WITCH. — CS

TV Star – Tv3 (self-released)
Seattle psych rock outfit surprise released a new EP, Tv3, ahead of their upcoming Bumbershoot performance + dates with Angel Du$t. The outfit leans into their influences of 60s psych and 90s alt rock on these hazy and atmospheric tracks, with a truly dreamy result. — CS

SPELLLING – SPELLLING & The Mystery School (Sacred Bones)
Chrystia Cabrall reimagines songs from her already entrancing discography, this time with the full live band she’s been touring with since 2021. Her beloved experimental pop songs take on new life with dreamy strings (Del Sol Quartet and Divya Farias), haunting piano (Jaren Feeley), driving trip-hop percussion (Patrick Shelley), bass (Giulio Xavier Cetto), shredding electric guitar (Wyatt Overson), and drama-intensifying background vocals (Toya Willock and Dharma Moon-Hunter). — CS

Kilamanzego – Black Weirdo EP (Get Better)
The second EP from Bronx-born, Philadelphia-based queer electronic producer, musician, vocalist, and DJ Kilamanzego is another impressive showcase of her progressive beats that blend electronic, hip-hop, club, experimental, and punk influences and her own treated androgynous vocals through sleek sound design techniques that brings a refreshed take to the visionary sounds that defined Low End Theory's heyday. — AR

1tbsp – Mosquito Love (Sumoclic)
The debut album from this club-focused alter-ego of Australian musician Maxwell Byrne (aka Golden Vessel) is a sharp set of propulsive dancefloor grooves accented by magnetic, transportive, worldly vocal samples that are expertly twisted over his kinetic rhythms. — AR

Panda Bear & Sonic Boom – ​​​​​​​Reset In Dub (Domino)
Legendary British musician Adrian Sherwood applies his masterful, heady, and trippy dub touch on this track-for-track rework of Reset, the already-excellent 2022 collaborative album between Animal Collective's Panda Bear (aka Noah Lennox) and former Spacemen 3 founding member Sonic Boom (aka Peter Kember). — AR

Toro Y Moi – Sandhills EP (Dead Oceans)
Chaz Bear takes a left turn on his new EP of folk-pop tunes, complete with banjo and pedal steel. Penned as a love letter to his hometown of Columbia, South Carolina, Sandhills transports Bear back to the earliest days of Toro Y Moi, making handmade CD-Rs for his friends. — CS

Southern Shores – Anyplace There Is (Cascine)
The latest EP from this Toronto production duo composed of Jamie Townsend and Ben Dalton is another wonderful showcase of their dreamy, shimmery, and summery sound that layers lush, tropical, windswept grooves with evocative vocal samples. Transportive vibes for the end of summer. — AR

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