New Music Reviews (6/3)

Album Reviews

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 Bibi Club, Crystal Murray, Habibi, and more. 

Bibi Club - Feu de garde (Secret City)
The second album from this Montreal-based duo composed of married partners and parents Adèle Trottier-Rivard and Nicolas Basque (also a member of the band Plants and Animals) is another fantastic set of colorful psych-pop, driving indie rock, and charming indie pop with Adèle singing in both French and English over the duo’s backdrops that sway between propulsive and gritty to delicate and whimsical. – AR

Crystal Murray - SAD LOVERS & GIANTS (Because)
The highly anticipated debut album from the London-based, Paris-raised musician is truly something to behold. Fusing together R&B, grunge, drum & bass, hyperpop and more, Murray is confidently stepping into her power as she showcases her singular artistry and vision, while delivering some serious bangers. – CS

Habibi - Dreamachine (Kill Rock Stars)
The third studio album from the Brooklyn-based five-piece is their most confident and vibrant to date, showcasing their irresistible fusion of Middle Eastern psych rock, disco, post-rock, vintage disco, garage and '60s pop. Throughout Dreamachine their searing guitars, groovy basslines, lush synths and magnetic percussion drive frontwoman Rahil Jamalifard through many themes of desire, rebellion, love and reality. – CS

King Hannah - Big Swimmer (City Slang)
The sophomore album from Liverpool duo King Hannah is an expressive set of dreamy, moody folk-rock with elements of shoegaze, Americana and indie-rock. With pristine guitar work, compelling arrangements and Hannah Merrick’s rich, mesmerizing vocals, Big Swimmer exudes confidence and hits all of the right marks. – CS

Oddisee - And Yet Still EP (Outer Note)
The latest outing from DC rapper and producer Oddisee is a stream of consciousness reflection on the current state of the world, and how one copes. Incorporating 90s hip hop, jazz and drill flow into his modern production, And Yet Still finds Oddissee grappling with reality and finding things to be thankful for through these infectious grooves.  – CS

Rapsody - Please Don’t Cry (Jamla/Roc Nation)
The fourth album from North Carolina rapper Rapsody (aka Marlanna Evans) is a powerful set of reflective hard-hitting hip-hop. Highlighted by her knockout lyricism, confident delivery, and an expansive production palette that taps into R&B, reggae, gospel and more, Please Don’t Cry features Phylicia Rashad as the album’s guiding therapist who allows Marlanna to explore her identity and freely unleash her potent storytelling talents. – AR

The Marías - submarine (Nice Life/Atlantic)
LA-based quartet The Marías return with a dreamy psych, funk and jazz infused pop album. Pulling no punches at times (“Run Your Mouth”) and exercising restraint at others (“Lejos De Ti”), Submarine boasts frontwoman María Zardoya’s intoxicatingly smooth vocals, mesmerizing guitar riffs and gripping percussion as the outfit explores embracing solitude in both English and Spanish on this dynamic and deeply personal sophomore album. – CS

Various Artists - Musicians for a Free Palestine (self-released)
In lieu of a review for this robust 71 track benefit compilation exclusively on Bandcamp, I want to include their description of this important release. All proceeds will go directly towards purchasing eSims for Gazans. Free Palestine! – CS

Musicians for a Free Palestine is a compilation album organized by Andy Molholt, Maya Bon, and Raquel Denis to unite musicians together to advocate for a Free Palestine. We aim to take a stand against the genocide in Gaza. A purchase of this compilation album is the cost of an *eSim that will help Gazans have access to cell service in a time that is critical and dire. We believe Palestine will be free and we are committed to using our voices and platform to uplift this future.  All proceeds from this compilation, minus Bandcamp's revenue share & payment processing fees, will go directly towards purchasing eSims for Gazans. These purchases will happen every Tuesday for the foreseeable future.

Various Artists - From Far It All Seems Small (KR Records)
This new compilation highlights the vibrant and diverse landscape of Seattle’s current rock scene. With new music from acts like TV Star, Spiral XP, Fluung, Supercrush, Versing, Sun Spots and more, KR Records is giving some much deserved shine to our outstanding local underground. – CS

+/- {Plus/Minus} - Further Afield (Ernest Jenning Recording Co.)
The sixth full-length album from this veteran NYC-based band spearheaded by founding members Patrick Ramos and James Baluyut (both members of Versus) marks their first new music in a decade and they dive right back into their distinctive brand of synth-heavy indie rock that’s jittery, kinetic, idiosyncratic, and angular. There’s an undeniable nostalgia factor to the indie heydays of the late 1990s and early 2000s in their big guitars, pulsating and complex drums that often dip into math rock territory, and soaring hooks, but it’s all done in a confident and refreshing manner that yields numerous highlights. – AR

Anna Tivel - Living Thing (Fluff & Gravy)
The eighth studio album from this Portland, OR-based singer-songwriter is a beautiful collection of melodic folk-rock. Living Thing finds Tivel building upon her brand of folk music with richly layered guitar, violin, field recordings, keys and programmed loops with a pop sensibility to accompany her excellent storytelling. – CS

Aquaserge - La fin de l'economie (Crammed Discs)
The seventh studio album from French art-rock luminaries Aquaserge is an exhilarating fusion of experimental rock and avant-pop, incorporating psych, free jazz, and vintage French film music. La fin de l'economie is a lively, textured and deliciously chaotic listen with brilliant, melodic arrangements and expert production by the band’s guitarist and main composer, Benjamin Glibert. – CS

Arooj Aftab - Night Reign (Verve)
The fourth solo album from Brooklyn-based Pakistani American singer, composer, and producer Arooj Aftab is a reflection on the realities that can come to life after dark, whether it be love, introspection or ruminating on our cruel world. Singing in both English and Urbu with her rich and haunting vocals, Aftab’s unique fusion of folk, jazz and neoclassical sounds shines throughout these nine fascinating arrangements with lush sonic landscapes. – CS

Bab L’ Bluz - Swaken (Real World Records Ltd.)
The sophomore album from French-Moroccan power quartet Bab L' Bluz is positively spellbinding with fiery guitars, diverse instrumentation and commanding vocals. Throughout these eleven tracks, their fusion of psych, funk, blues and rock with traditional sounds of northern Africa’s Maghreb compels the listener hang on to every note as frontwoman Yousra Mansour explores themes of “Moroccan inheritance laws, gender wage disparities and rising cases of suicide and depression while calling for unity, tolerance and kindness in an increasingly fragile world.” – CS

Finom - Not God (Joyful Noise)
The latest studio album from Chicago outfit Finom (and first under the moniker, as they previously released music under Ohmme) is a solid set of melodic art-pop with gorgeous vocal harmonies. At times hauntingly restrained and other densely layered, Not God is a luminous reintroduction to an already beloved duo. – CS

Gabriel Teodros - Embers (self-released)
Hot on the heels of last year’s From the Ashes of Our Homes, South Seattle native, musician, writer, and former KEXP DJ Gabriel Teodros returns with a set of new songs intended for Ashes, along with previously unreleased remixes and reimagined songs from past projects, all showcasing his signature socially conscious flows and fusion of hip-hop, jazz and R&B.  – CS

Half Waif - Ephemeral Being EP (ANTI-)
The latest EP from experimental pop luminary Nandi Rose (aka Half Waif) is intricately layered with shining synths, swells of strings and an outstanding vocal performance from Rose. Ephemeral Being is a breathtaking, complex, introspective examination of the self and the natural world. – CS

Mikey Moo - Fresh Idiot (Killroom)
The debut album from this Seattle-based project spearheaded by Young Evils' guitarist Michael Lee (aka Mikey Moo) is an impressive blend of bright psych-pop and propulsive New Wave with a synth-heavy glam-rock streak. Accompanied by bassist/vocalist Nicki Danger (Glitterbang, Pink Parts) and Scott Helgason (Final Body, Frond, Young Evils), Mikey Moo’s introduction boasts massive hooks, soaring guitars, bright synths, emphatic vocals, and lyrics that touch upon Mikey’s rediscovery of purpose after time lost as a closeted religiously-indoctrinated youth and the dissolution of a decade-plus relationship. – AR

Blick Bassy - Mádibá Ni Mbondi (InFiné)
Nearly a year after the release of his fourth album Mádibá, France-based Cameroonian singer-songwriter Blick Bassy offers up an expanded edition of that record featuring four stellar new tracks that include collaborations with French-Cameroonian artist Yamé and Australian artist RY X. Across its enhanced 16-track set, Mádibá Ni Mbondi surveys an introspective, transportive, and ethereal electronic-soul landscape distinguished by Blick Bassy’s sublime vocals and lyrics sung in his native Bassa language. – AR

Close Counters - CLUB COMPANIONS (self-released)
Melbourne/Naarm-based DJ/production duo Close Counters (Allan McConnell and Finn Rees) graciously offer up this Bandcamp-only collection of their dancefloor-approved edits that flip both familiar and underground hits – Marvin Gaye, A Tribe Called Quest, OutKast, Bobbi Humphrey, Sunshine Anderson – into soulful club anthems that revel primarily within addictive house and funky broken beat territory. – AR

Draag - Actually, the quiet is nice (Julia’s War)
The latest EP from this Los Angeles band is a solid set of woozy, dense, dreamy shoegaze with a kaleidoscopic psych streak. – AR

Hollow Ship - Animated Music (PNKSLM Recordings)
Four years after releasing their adventurous debut album Future Remains, this Swedish band emerges with a blistering 4-track EP of cosmic, exploratory, rhythm-driven psychedelic rock music that confidently displays their instrumental prowess and trippy locked-in grooves. – AR

Jerry Folk - Heart (Folkestad Recordings)
Quickly reminiscent of the early 2010s output from UK acts such as SBTRKT, Koreless, and Deadboy, the latest EP from this Norwegian electronic producer is a sweet set of sleek electronic-pop cuts with a distinctive UKG/2-step affinity that blends skittering R&B-tinted vocals and crisp syncopated rhythms to magnetic effect. – AR

Liraz - Enerjy – انرژی (Batov)
The latest EP from Iranian-Israeli singer, actress, and dancer Liraz Charhi is a vibrant, colorful, and groovy set of Middle Eastern-rooted pop inflected with psych, funk, and disco flavors. Her band’s retro-soaked productions provide a consistently dynamic foundation for her buoyant vocals and lyrics – sung entirely in Farsi – focusing on positive energy and much needed global harmony and light. – AR

Maya Hawke - Chaos Angel (Mom + Pop)
The third album from New York-based singer-songwriter Maya Hawke is a solid set of guitar driven indie-folk/rock. Chaos Angel is an intricate, introspective album about “falling in love, fucking it up, and getting back up again” that showcases an artist continuing to grow and evolve. – CS

Willie Nelson - The Border (Sony Music)
The latest album (his 75th studio album, according to Rolling Stone) from Willie Nelson finds the legendary 91-year-old singer, songwriter, and guitarist trucking on and teaming up with longtime producer/collaborator Buddy Cannon for a stately set of classic country tunes spotlighted by the album’s opening title track, a cover of Rodney Crowell’s 2019 song about a guard working on the Texas border. – AR

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