New Music Reviews (5/27)


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 Apples with Moya, DIIV, La Luz, and more. 

Apples With Moya - A Heave of Lightness on the Ground (Den Tapes)

The second album from this Seattle band led by singer/songwriter Cam LaFlam and guitarist Dylan Hanwright (both members of beloved local band Great Grandpa) is an excellent set of smartly-crafted rock songs with a melodic folk streak and a sophisticated pop sensibility that consistently delivers and adds yet another PNW gem within the eclectic catalog of Seattle label Den Tapes. - AR

DIIV - Frog In Boiling Water (Fantasy)

The fourth album from Brooklyn-based rock outfit DIIV is a sludgy, maximalist fusion of shoegaze, dream pop and post-rock. With epic arcs, dark lyricism and masterful musicianship, ‘Frog In Boiling Water’ is a beautiful fever dream ruminating on the collapse of society. - CS

Girl and Girl - Call A Doctor (Sub Pop)

The debut from Australia’s Girl and Girl is oozing with high energy, endless character, jangly guitars, precise percussion and a memorable vocal performance from frontman Kai James. Their unique fusion of art-punk and indie-rock with a keen pop sensibility and penchant for dramatic swells and theatrics make for one hell of a lasting first impression. - CS

La Luz - News Of The Universe (Sub Pop)

It’s been over a decade since Shana Cleveland formed La Luz, and their fifth studio album (and first for Sub Pop) is a true testament to perseverance and embracing change. Their warm fusion of psych, folk, doo-wop and indie pop is sublime, as Cleveland explores her devastating experience of a breast cancer diagnosis after becoming a new mother. With meticulous arrangements and expert musicianship, ‘News Of The Universe’ ushers in a new era of La Luz, while staying true to their roots (including some former band members contributing to the recording). - CS

Machinedrum - 3FOR82 (Ninja Tune)

The electrifying new album from Travis Stewart (aka Machinedrum) finds him continuing on his vocalist-centric journey with stellar guests including Mick Jenkins, Tinashe, Duckwrth and KUČKA. His production is flawless as he expertly weaves together drum & bass, R&B, house and more, keeping the listener on the edge of their seat as they anxiously await what’s around the next turn of ‘3FOR82.' - CS

Mumu Fresh - The Healing (MKY Entertainment Group)

Mumu Fresh is the alias of Maimouna Youssef, a multifaceted Washington, DC-based artist of African and Indigenous ancestry who has previously collaborated with The Roots, Brandee Younger, Oddisee, Moonchild, and more. Her fourth album is a brilliant set of soulful, expansive, magnetic hip-hop and R&B that’s distinguished by her positive, conscious, love-affirming lyrics and top-shelf production provided by the likes of DJ Jazzy Jeff, Kaidi Tatham, 14KT, Andre Harris, Vidal Davis, and more. - AR

Various Artists - Everyone’s Getting Involved: A Tribute To Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense (A24 Music)

The star studded tribute to one of the most beloved albums from one of the most beloved bands boasts excellent covers from Miley Cyrus, The National, Blondshell, The Linda Lindas, El Mató a un Policía Motorizado, Paramore, DJ Tunez, Teezo Touchdown, Jean Dawson, The Cavemen, BADBADNOTGOOD w/ Norah Jones, Kevin Abstract, Toro Y Moi, Girl In Red, Lorde and Chicano Batman, bringing new, unique perspectives to these longtime favorite songs as we usher new fans into the magical world of The Talking Heads. - CS

BADBADNOTGOOD - Mid Spiral: Chaos (XL Recordings)

To call BADBADNOTGOOD prolific would be an extreme understatement. So far this year they’ve released a collaborative EP with Baby Rose, stand-alone single “Take What’s Given” and contributed to the Talking Heads tribute album. So naturally the innovative Canadian Jazz trio needed to drop a surprise EP on top of that. An entirely instrumental affair. Mid Spiral: Chaos is a dynamic set of contemporary jazz fusion, showcasing a band at the top of their game. - CS

Blitzen Trapper - 100’s of 1000’s, Millions of Billions (Yep Roc)

The 11th studio album from Portland-based ensemble is a delectable dose of psych infused Americana. Born out of an old box of four-track tapes from the 90s that singer/songwriter Eric Earley discovered, he was able to seamlessly integrate these old songs with new ones as he and the band fuse together both analog and electronic sounds to create that quintessential Blitzen Trapper sound that began over two decades ago. - CS

Douglas Dare - Omni (Erased Tapes)

The fourth album from London-based singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Douglas Dare is a solid set of arty synth-pop and propulsive chamber-pop that finds him applying more kinetic electronic-focused backdrops for his distinctively dramatic vocals and provocative storytelling. - AR

Early Internet - Ruminator (self-released)

The second album from this project of Seattle-based artist Dean Stafford is another strong set of dreamy, driving, melancholic indie-pop with a nostalgic glance back to the melodic and slightly emo-tinged sound of early 2000s indie bands. With lyrics that touch upon “ruminating thoughts, anxiety, panic and fear and learning to navigate, accept, cope and live with those attributes in healthy ways” nestling within lushly produced guitar-driven backdrops, Early Internet continues to create music that taps into a distinctive PNW lineage.  - AR

Ghostly Kisses - Darkroom (Arika Records)

The sophomore studio album from the Québec-based duo of Margaux Sauvé and Louis-Étienne Santais is a confident set of moody dream pop, highlighting Sauvé’s enchanting, ethereal vocals. With tight arrangements, excellent synth work, propulsive drum beats and stellar production, lyrically ‘Darkroom’ explores personal stories from their fans, from heartbreak and grief, to hope and love. - CS

Halima - EXU EP (drink sum wtr)

The new project from Brooklyn-based Halima is a seductive set of alternative R&B with commanding vocals, building beats and killer grooves. Raised between Lagos and London, she brings in elements of British soul and UK Garage, resulting in an intoxicating soundscape on this sophomore EP. - CS

Jon McKiel - Hex (You’ve Changed)

The fourth album from this cult Canadian indie rock artist is another absorbing set of homespun psychedelic folk-pop with a fuzzy, charming, sepia-toned streak. Performed and produced in close collaboration with Jay Crocker of JOYFULTALK (Constellation Records), ‘Hex’ captures that singular Jon McKiel sound that feels like stumbling upon a long lost relic from the 1970s underground folk scene. - AR

Kitty Ca$h - Handle With Care (A Good Cry)

The debut EP from this Brooklyn-based DJ/producer who previously made waves with her star-studded ‘Love The Free’ mixtape series is a slick and sweet set of kinetic R&B jams with a colorful, groovy, club-tinted pulse that features knockout guest appearances from Thundercat, PawPaw Rod, George Riley, Rico Nasty, Kilo Kash, James Fauntleroy, and ROZET. - AR

Nigel Hall & DJ Harrison - The Burning Bush: A Journey Through the Music of Earth, Wind & Fire (Regime Music Group)

Nigel Hall is a veteran keyboardist and vocalist who’s a current member of beloved Boston-rooted funk outfit Lettuce. DJ Harrison is the alias of Richmond, VA-based multi-instrumentalist, drummer, DJ, producer, singer, songwriter, and composer Devonne Harris, a solo artist on Stones Throw Records who’s also a key member of Butcher Brown. These two longtime friends and versatile musicians have teamed up for this stellar album of Earth, Wind & Fire covers that brings a refreshing and reverential touch to the band’s timeless soul, funk, and jazz music. - AR

of Montreal - Lady on the Cusp (Polyvinyl)

The latest from the beautifully bizarre brain of Kevin Barnes is another twisted, psych-fueled foray into their specific brand of art-pop. Their unconventional arrangements with densely layered synths, guitars, drums, xylophone and saxophone propel Barnes through themes of past trauma, love, sex and personal freedom on their 19th studio album. - CS

Pure Hex - Spilling (Neon Bloodbath)

The latest EP from Bay Area darlings Pure Hex is a compelling collection of dreamy shoegaze with walls of sound achieved by big guitars, heavy percussion and an exceptional vocal delivery from frontwoman Marta Alvarez. - CS

Wu-Lu - Learning to Swim on Empty (Warp)

The latest EP from South London artist Wu-Lu (aka Miles Romans-Hopcraft) is an absorbing set of brooding, dimly-lit, genre-blurring soul music that blends hip-hop, post-punk, dub, R&B, and rock with a vocal mix of sung lyrics and spoken word poetry. - AR

Various Artists - I Saw the TV Glow (A24 Music)

The soundtrack to this new coming-of-age supernatural horror/thriller film that takes place in the mid-1990s features an impressive roster of indie superstars with original contributions coming from Caroline Polachek, Jay Som, Drab Majesty, Bartees Strange, L’Rain, The Weather Station, Phoebe Bridgers (who stars in the film), and more, and it’s all bookended by a pair of stellar covers – yeule tackling Broken Social Scene’s 21st century classic “Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl” and Snail Mail tackling The Smashing Pumpkins’ 1990s anthem “Tonight Tonight,” the latter track a vinyl-only exclusive. - AR

Young Jesus - The Fool (Saddle Creek)

On his seventh studio album, LA-based John Rossiter (aka Young Jesus) navigates heavy themes of mental health, grief and love through melodic post-rock ranging from melancholy piano and acoustic guitar driven ballads to up-tempo rockers, all complete with his emotive vibrato. - CS

Big Dope P - Toto la Castagne (Moveltraxx)

The second full-length album from Paris-born, London-based artist and Moveltraxx Records co-founder Big Dope P is another top-notch showcase of his energetic, sleek, progressive club sound that fuses ghettotech, filtered house, juke/footwork, drill, funk, disco, Miami Bass, and hip-hop into body-moving bangers. - AR

Bobbyy - BUCKETS (Stone Pixels)

Bobbyy is the solo alias of Bobby Granfelt, a LA-via-Seattle producer, drummer, and DJ who’s also a member of adventurous Seattle-based jazz bands sunking and High Pulp. His debut solo release is a heady set of woozy beats, hypnotic grooves, and pillowy dream-pop that blurs a love of hip-hop, jazz, house, and leftfield pop into a free-flowing Black Constellation-esque vibe. KEXP’s own Stas THEE Boss, Pink Siifu, High Pulp, Rachel Lime (featured on the Gaussian Curve-sampling dream-pop lead single “I Was at the Fence”), and more make guest appearances to help accent the journey. - AR

Caoilfhionn Rose - Constellation (Gondwana)

The third album from Manchester, UK-based singer, songwriter, and producer Caoilfhionn Rose is a beautiful and enchanting blend of earthy folk, meditative dream-pop, and feathery jazz that serves up a supremely lush showcase for her gorgeous voice. - AR

Janko Nilovic, JJ Whitefield & Igor Zhukovsky - Cosmos Giants (Brocz)

This collaborative album from veteran European musicians Janko Nilovic, JJ Whitefield (of Poets of Rhythm, amongst many other projects), and Igor Zhukovsky (of The Soul Surfers) is a stellar collection of magnetic instrumental cuts that find the sweet spot between psych, funk, soul, and jazz, confidently knocking out fresh beat-centric grooves that stand out on their own, and would be ripe for hip-hop producers to sample. - AR

Magic Fig - Magic Fig (Silver Current)

The debut release from this San Francisco band fronted by Inna Showalter and featuring members active in other Bay Area underground pop luminaries – including The Umbrellas, Whitney’s Playland, Almond Joy and Healing Potpourri – is a stellar set of kaleidoscopic psychedelic pop music with a cosmic prog streak that brings a fresh, dreamy, and smartly-crafted take to San Francisco’s iconic psychedelic sound. - AR

Romeo Louisa - Indigo Chronicles (Pont Neuf)

The latest EP from this young and quietly prolific French electronic producer is a nice set of soulful 90s-influenced house grooves perfect for summertime patio dance parties. - AR

Various Artists - Ghana Special 2: Electronic Highlife & Afro Sounds in the Diaspora, 1980-93 (Soundway)

Soundway Records follows up their excellent 2009 compilation ‘Ghana Special: Modern Highlife, Afro Sounds & Ghanaian Blues 1968-1981’ with another brilliant spotlight on the innovative and eclectic sounds emerging out of Ghana in the 20th century with this collection spanning from 1980 to 1993. - AR

Wyatt C. Louis - Chandler (Royal Mountain)

Wyatt C. Louis is a Nêhiyaw singer-songwriter based in Moh'kinstsís on Treaty 7 Territory in Canada. Their debut album is a warm, welcoming, and evocative set of acoustic folk-pop and roots-rock with a timeless, universal, honest touch. - AR

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