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 SPRINTS, Maya Randle, Muireann Bradley, and more.
SPRINTS - Letter To Self (City Slang)
Letter To Self = the EXACT energy we need to kick off the new year. The Dublin four-piece deliver a raucous set of garage punk with piercing guitars, fiery vocal delivery and pulsing drums while singer, guitarist and lead-songwriter Karla Chubb digs deep to address misogyny, bodily autonomy, inner turmoil and more: “This is an exploration of pain, passion and perseverance.” This impressive debut album truly packs a punch, and I cannot wait to hear these songs live this spring. — CS
Various Artists - 45èmes Rencontres Trans Musicales de Rennes (Les Trans Musicales de Rennes)
Discover a wealth of exciting artists on the rise from the 45th Trans Musicales de Rennes. Ranging from soul, Aftobeats, electronic, indie rock, hip hop and SO much more, there is something for every show and every mood on this expansive compilation. Dig in! — CS
Maya Randle - Focus (Pack)
Boasting a sweet sound reminiscent of Nia Archives, SBTRKT, and piri & tommy, rising Birmingham, UK-based electronic producer and vocalist Maya Randle shares her debut mini-album of pop-tinted drum and bass grooves that packs infectious high-energy rhythms with magnetic ethereal vocals. — AR
Muireann Bradley - I Kept These Old Blues (Tompkins Square)
Hailing from the town of Ballybofey in Donegal County in Ireland, Muireann Bradley is a young guitarist and singer interpreting classic blues, ragtime, roots, and folk songs – primarily from the 1920s and 1930s – in her own unique, melodic, magnetic fashion. Still only a teenager, her debut album (one of Greg Vandy’s Top 10 Albums of 2023!) is a confident display of her undeniable talent. — AR
Pile - Hot Air Balloon EP (Exploding In Sound)
More than 16 years into their career, we’re hearing a compelling sonic shift from the Nashville (by way of Boston) outfit. With a greater emphasis on atmospherics and melody, their post-hardcore hits through their intricate guitar work, haunting synths, and Maguire’s familiar vocals. Recorded during the sessions for their 2023 album, All Fiction, the Hot Air Balloon EP finds Pile continuing their journey in this new direction.— CS
Shad x TLO - THIS WINTER (self-released)
Toronto-based, Juno Award-winning rapper Shad (aka Shadrach Kabango) teams up again with Toronto-based DJ/producer TLO for this stellar seasonal 3-track EP (currently available exclusively on Bandcamp) that marks his first new music in over two years. Kicking off with the absolute heat of “NO CHILL,” Shad continues to prove he’s a top-tier lyricist as he waxes on modern day life and his current multimedia duties with nods to his recent stint as the host of the Peabody and Emmy Award winning Netflix documentary series Hip-Hop Evolution. — AR
Various Artists - Ball of Wax Volume 69: Duos (Ball of Wax)
The 69th and latest entry in the long-running Ball of Wax compilation series curated by Seattle-based musician and former KEXP intern Levi Fuller fittingly takes its thematic focus on musical duos and it’s another super eclectic set of tunes from local artists that ranges from bright synth-pop to moody post-rock to scrappy power-pop to sweeping art-pop and much more. — AR
Arcwelder - Continue (self-released)
Minneapolis trio Arcwelder released the bulk of their catalogue on famed Touch and Go, and Big Money Records in the heyday of '90s Midwest alt-rock. It's been 24 years since they released their last album, 1999's Everest. Between their debut in 1987 until the mid-2000's, they toured with Shellac, Tar, Jesus Lizard, and played shows with The Smashing Pumpkins, Wire, Fugazi, Soul Asylum, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Hum, Mission of Burma, Dinosaur Jr, Urge Overkill and many, many more. Now they're back with eight new songs mixed by J. Robbins of Jawbox and Burning Airlines fame. The album features lead vocal trade-offs from guitarist Bill Graber and standout drummer Scott Macdonald whose "Lafayette" is a Led Zep influenced tour of influential '70s rock radio stations, while Graber's "Swimming" is a powerful song that they say is metaphorically about swimming with sharks, as he sings "(s)wimming with sharks is not too hard if you’re a shark. But if you’re not, it leads to utter exhaustion." Funny. "Take it Slow" is my favorite track on the album, and is indeed, slow, and beautiful. — OM
Nalepa - The Flowers (Airspace)
Nalepa is the solo project of versatile LA-based electronic producer Steve Nalepa, a veteran figure within California’s electronic/beat scene as a member of the groups The Acid and Airspace as well as a founding member of the TeamSupreme collective. His second album under the shortened alias is a nice set of colorful, eclectic, expansive electronic grooves that notably boasts a fun 8-bit jam in “Pixel Party” and a nice guest appearance from Icelandic vocalist JFDR on the dreamy “Fall.” — AR
Each week, Music Director Chris Sanley and Associate Music Director Alex Ruder share brief insights on new and upcoming releases for KEXP's rotation. See what we added this week, including new releases from DijahSB, La Dame Blanche, Car Seat Headrest, and more.
Each week, Music Director Chris Sanley and Associate Music Director Alex Ruder share brief insights on new and upcoming releases for KEXP's rotation. See what we added this week, including new releases from GC OConnor, Midas The Jagaban, The Halluci Nation, and more.