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 Sault, Ezra Collective, Special Interest, and more.
Sault – 11 (Forever Living Originals)
One of five simultaneously released albums from this mysterious British collective led by producer Inflo, 11 is a magnetic blend of funk, R&B, reggae and other styles, combining funk guitars, moody keyboards and hypnotic rhythms with a variety of soulful voices.
Ezra Collective – Where I’m Meant to Be (Partisan)
This London band’s second album is a vibrant blend of jazz with hip hop, Afrobeat, R&B, salsa, reggae and other styles, featuring a colorful, groove-driven sound designed to express themes of struggle, resistance, resilience and celebration. An impressive list of guest vocalists also contributed: Sampa The Great, Kojey Radical, Emeli Sande and Nao.
Special Interest – Endure (Rough Trade)
This New Orleans band’s excellent third album is an energetic, sometimes raucous blend of disco, house, No Wave, glam-rock and other styles, combining propulsive rhythms, noise-addled guitars, piano, synths and more with Alli Logout’s volatile vocals and pointed lyrics ranging from scathing critiques of gentrification and police brutality to celebrations of love and community.
Sault – Today & Tomorrow (Forever Living Originals)
One of five simultaneously released albums from this mysterious British collective led by producer Inflo, Today & Tomorrow is a potent set of ‘70s-steeped funk-rock, Afro-beat and punk with fuzzy psych-funk guitars, chunky rhythms and a variety of mostly grouped, sometimes solo vocalists.
Phoenix – Alpha Zulu (Glassnote)
This French band’s seventh album is a sharply crafted set ranging from New Wave dance-pop and propulsive techno to buoyant pop-rock, combining bright synths, sleek guitars, bouncy rhythms, often-cryptic lyrics and sparkling pop hooks.
MorMor – Semblance (AWAL)
The debut full-length from this Toronto artist (aka Seth Nyquist) is a well-crafted blend of melancholy R&B, atmospheric psych-pop, driving New Wave and other styles, combining acoustic and electric guitars, shimmering synths and more with his smooth, high-pitched vocals, wistful melodies and lyrics of love, heartache and renewal.
Sault – UNTITLED (God) (Forever Living Originals)
One of five simultaneously released albums from this mysterious British collective led by producer Inflo, UNTITLED (God) is an expansive blend of gospel with funk, R&B, folk, psych-pop, spoken word, hip hop and other styles, combining synths, piano, guitar and other instrumentation with soulful lead vocals and choral singing.
Daniel Avery – Ultra Truth (Mute)
This London producer’s fifth album is a wide-ranging set of densely produced, atmospheric electronic grooves ranging from thunderous techno and drum ‘n’ bass to moody electro-pop and dark ambient. Special guests include HAAi, Kelly Lee Owens, HTRK, AK Paul, Marie Davidson and other notables.
Big Joanie – Back Home (Kill Rock Stars)
This London trio’s impressive second album features a more diverse sound ranging from driving grunge and post-punk to goth-tinged folk-rock, combining scuzzy guitars, bright synths, occasional mellotron, violin, Omnichord and other instrumentation with intimate harmonies and lyrics revolving around ideas of home.
Da Cruz – Baladas da Luta (Boom Jah)
The sixth album from this Berne, Switzerland-based band led by Sao Paulo-born vocalist Mariana Da Cruz is a vibrant, groove-driven blend of Baile Funk, hip hop, R&B, Afrobeat, disco and other styles.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Changes (KGLW)
This prolific Australian band’s latest album is another one of their concept albums, this time featuring songs using the same chord progression, and while that might sound repetitive, the end result is anything but: It’s an expansive set of whimsical psych-rock incorporating elements of jazz, prog, funk, R&B, trip hop, dream-pop and more.
The Haunted Youth – Dawn of the Freak (Mayway)
The debut album from this Belgian project spearheaded by Joachim Liebens is a well-crafted set of shoegazerish dream-pop combining shimmering guitars and synths with bittersweet melodies and dark, angst-fueled lyrics.
(Various) – Live Forever: A Tribute to Billy Joe Shaver (New West)
This tribute to the late outlaw country singer-songwriter features a stellar lineup of rock and country artists ranging from Willie Nelson, Miranda Lambert and Nathaniel Rateliff to Steve Earle, Margo Price and Allison Russell interpreting some of his most memorable songs.
Okay Kaya – SAP (Jagjaguwar)
The third album from this Brooklyn artist (aka Kaya Wilkins) is an adventurous set of avant folk-pop inflected at times with R&B and other styles, combining a variety of acoustic and electric instrumentation and electronic textures with often-processed vocals, surreal lyrics and haunting melodies.
Spoon – Lucifer on the Moon (Matador)
The latest release from this Austin band features On-U Sound founder and dub production wizard Adrian Sherwood reworking their latest album Lucifer on the Sofa via spacy dub production along with a variety of additional instrumentation, including reconstructed rhythm tracks courtesy of On-U Sound (and before that, Sugarhill Records) luminaries Doug Wimbish and Keith LeBlanc.
First Aid Kit – Palomino (Columbia)
This Swedish sister duo’s fifth album features a brighter, more pop-oriented take on their bittersweet folk-pop, combining jangly guitars, keyboards, strings, brass and more with soaring harmonies and lyrics of resilience and acceptance.
Mount Kimbie – MK 3.5: Die Cuts / City Planning (Warp)
This London electronic duo’s latest release is a double album with one half solely produced by Dom Maker and the other half produced by Kai Campos. Maker’s first half of the album is more colorful and pop-oriented, while also featuring an impressive assortment of guest vocalists including James Blake, slowthai, Danny Brown, liv.e, Kučka, Wiki and other notables. Campos’s second half is all instrumental, with an expansive post-dubstep sound ranging from skittering and propulsive to billowing ambient.
Carla dal Forno – Come Around (Kallista)
This Australian artist’s third album is a well-crafted blend of atmospheric post-punk and folk-pop with moody soundscapes combining eerie synths and haunting melodies with her ethereal vocals and lyrics of home, relationships, insomnia and disorder.
Kennebec – Without Star or Compass (Night Time Stories)
The second album from this Portland producer/multi-instrumentalist (aka Eric Phillips) is a cinematic blend of downtempo electronic grooves with atmospheric jazz, neo-classical and other styles, featuring a gentle, often-nocturnal sound with spare arrangements and occasional special guests, including Future Islands’ Samuel T. Herring, Sudan Archives and Yazz Ahmed.
Alice Boman – The Space Between (Play It Again Sam)
This Swedish artist’s second album is a well-crafted set of atmospheric indie-pop with an often-spare sound combining twinkling synths and occasional guitar, brass and accordion with bittersweet melodies, hushed, breathy vocals and introspective lyrics of anxiety, dread and connection.
Sault – Earth (Forever Living Originals)
One of five simultaneously released albums from this mysterious British collective led by producer Inflo, Earth is well-crafted set of ritualistic R&B, combining hypnotic African drum polyrhythms with piano, synths and more, along with soulful vocals from Cleo Sol and others.
Mister Strange – Nothing At All EP (PNKSLM)
This Manchester, England band’s second EP is a potent set of psych-tinged garage-punk with a raw, hook-filled sound combining scuzzy guitars, pummeling rhythms and head-banging song hooks.
Sault – AIIR (Forever Living Originals)
One of five simultaneously released albums from this mysterious British collective led by producer Inflo, AIIR is the sequel to their AIR album released earlier this year, though this one’s more of an EP, with five songs clocking in at 26 minutes. Like the AIR album, this one’s an evocative set of cinematic neo-classical combining often-dramatic orchestration with choral voices.
Rubblebucket – Earth Worship (Grand Jury)
This Brooklyn-based duo’s latest album is a solid set of psych-tinged indie-pop inflected at times with disco and other styles, combining bright synths, guitars, horns and often dance-friendly rhythms with buoyant song hooks and lyrics of love, connection and nature.
A.D.K.O.B. – Defender (Vanilla Malt)
This Sydney, Australia band’s debut album is a fine set of atmospheric dream-pop and post-punk with shimmering synths, hypnotic rhythms, haunting harmonies and bittersweet melodies.
Tenci – A Swollen River, A Well Overflowing (Keeled Scales)
The second album from this Chicago project spearheaded by Jess Shoman is a solid set of psych-tinged folk-pop with acoustic and electric guitars, occasional sax, warbling vocals and lyrics of love, hope and renewal.
The Hanged Man – Tear It All (PNKSLM)
Formerly the solo project of Stockhom artist Rebecka Rolfart, The Hanged Man now also features members of Dungen, Viagra Boys and Saigon. Their third album is a solid set of airy psych-pop combining atmospheric keyboards, fuzzy guitars, occasional saxophone and flute and hypnotic melodies with Rolfart’s ethereal vocals and lyrics of loss and change.
Rahill – Sun Songs EP (Big Dada)
The solo debut EP from this Iranian-American artist (and member of the band Habibi) is a diverse set of psych-pop covers ranging from Shuggie Otis and Kim Jung Mi to Arthur Lee and Yoko Ono.
Holy Ship – Sun Macabre EP (Declared Goods)
This Stockholm band’s latest release is a solid four-song EP of shoegazer psych-rock with effects-laden guitars, often-driving rhythms and hypnotic melodies.