New Music Reviews (9/9)

Album Reviews
09/09/2019
KEXP

Each week, KEXP’s Music Director Don Yates (joined this week by DJ Alex) shares brief insights on new and upcoming releases. See what's coming up this week below, including reviews for new releases from Bat For Lashes, Tinariwen, Lower Dens, and more.


Bat For Lashes – Lost Girls (AWAL)
The fifth Bat For Lashes album from London-born, LA-based artist Natasha Khan is a potent set of atmospheric synth-pop with a cinematic sound heavily influenced by ‘80s teen film soundtracks, combining moody synths and propulsive beats with her ethereal vocals and lyrics reflecting on youthful innocence and desire. — DY

Tinariwen – Amadjar (ANTI-)
This Tuareg group began recording sketches of their latest album during a road trip from southern Morocco to Nuakchott, Mauritania. They teamed up with Mauritanian musicians Noura Mint Seymali and Jeiche Ould Chighaly in Nuakchott to record the album, and afterward, contributions from a few special guests like Warren Ellis and Cass McCombs were added. The guests mostly stay out of the way on this powerful set of Tuareg desert blues, with the focus on the band’s hypnotic guitar lines and call-and-response vocals. — DY

Lower Dens – The Competition (Ribbon Music)
Now down to the duo of bandleader Jana Hunter and drummer Nate Nelson, this Baltimore group offers up their fourth album, which finds them leaning harder into ‘80s-influenced synth-pop, combining haunting synths, atmospheric guitars and propulsive beats with politically charged lyrics aimed at the ills of modern capitalism. — DY

Jenny Hval – The Practice of Love (Sacred Bones)
This Norwegian artist’s mesmerizing seventh full-length explores aspects of love and intimacy with dreamy music ranging from hypnotic synth-pop with gauzy synths and gently pulsing rhythms to more experimental spoken-word tracks. The album also features Vivian Wang, Laura Jean and Felicia Atkinson as special guests. — DY

Tennis System – Lovesick (Graveface)
The third album from this LA-via-DC band led by Matty Taylor is a potent set of shoegazerish psych-rock with a dynamic, shapeshifting sound featuring grungy, effects-drenched guitars, driving rhythms and soaring melodies. — DY

Death Cab For Cutie – The Blue EP (Atlantic)
This Seattle band’s latest release is a strong five-song set of sharply crafted indie-rock ranging from ominous post-punk to brooding, atmospheric pop and space-rock, with many of the songs reflecting on loss and mortality. — DY

Stag – Electric Mistress EP (self-released)
This Seattle band’s latest EP is a strong six-song set of glam-tinged power-pop with crunchy guitars, energetic rhythms, a bit of rollicking piano, some soaring horns and an abundance of song hooks. — DY

Twin Peaks – Lookout Low (Grand Jury)
This Chicago band’s fourth album is a well-crafted set of ‘70s-steeped rock ranging from warm roots-rock a la The Band and wistful folk-rock to breezy, funk-inflected rock and psych-tinged guitar jams. — DY

Kindness – Something Like A War (Female Energy)
The third Kindness album from British producer/vocalist Adam Bainbridge is a fine set of R&B-tinged electro-pop combining moody synths, lush strings and propulsive beats with lyrics of love and acceptance. A few guest vocalists contribute, including Robyn, Jazmine Sullivan, Seinabo Sey and Bahamadia. — DY

The Messthetics – Anthropocosmic Nest (Dischord)
The second album from this DC-based instrumental trio comprised of guitarist Anthony Pirog and the Fugazi rhythm section of bassist Joe Lally and drummer Brendan Canty is an adventurous set of dynamic jazz-rock ranging from hard-driving rock with fiery guitar solos and furious riffing to more moody and atmospheric jazz. — DY

girl in red – Chapter 2 EP (self-released)
The second EP from this young Norwegian artist (aka Marie Ulven) is a strong set of well-crafted, lo-fi indie-pop with jangly guitars, frank, emotive lyrics and soaring melodies. — DY

Dry Cleaning - Sweet Princess EP (It's OK)
The debut EP from this London four-piece fronted by Florence Shaw is a fantastic set of angsty, propulsive, energetic post-punk propelled by the band's ripping angular arrangements and Shaw's brilliant spoken stream-of-consciousness monologues. — AR

Lydia Ramsey – Flames for the Heart (self-released)
This Seattle artist’s second album features a warm, more expansive sound blending folk, country and roots-rock, combining electric and acoustic guitars, lush strings, pedal steel, banjo, piano and more with her lilting vocals and lyrics of love and mortality. — DY

Oscar Scheller – HTTP404 (Wichita)
The latest release from this London-based artist who previously recorded under just his first name is a well-crafted set of breezy synth-pop with bright synths, bouncy beats, yearning baritone vocals and buoyant melodies. — DY

Chastity – Home Made Satan (Captured Tracks)
The second Chastity album from Whitby, Ontario artist Brandon Williams is a fine set of shoegazerish post-punk combining a dynamic sound with often politically charged lyrics revolving around fear, alienation and extremism. — DY

Sandro Perri – Soft Landing (Constellation)
The 4th full-length album from Toronto-based musician Sandro Perri (aka Polmo Polpo, also one-half of Glissandro 70) is another strong set of transportive, patient, lushly-detailed soft rock that also marks his most guitar-based album since his 2007 debut Tiny Mirrors. In true Sandro Perri form, the album kicks off with a hypnotic 16-minute jam before diving into a lovely balance of meditative instrumental pieces and rich vocal numbers. — AR

Brakebill – Out The Window (self-released)
The sophomore album from Seattle vocalist/rapper/producer Brakebill (aka Sam Brakebill-Hacke) is another immersive set of moody, murky ambient/hip-hop with a heavy dose of atmospheric trap backdrops and raw R&B-influenced vocals. Predominantly tackling the realities of drug addiction and how its impacted his life, his family, and his friends, Out The Window candidly captures the harrowing struggles of everyday addiction in an honest, intimate, and emotional manner. Frequent collaborator DoNormaal appears on "Momma Made Me." — AR

Squid – Town Centre EP (Speedy Wunderground)
This British band’s debut EP is a promising set of adventurous shape-shifting post-punk combining a dynamic, tension-filled sound with anxiety-fueled lyrics. — DY

Mermaidens – Look Me in the Eye (Flying Nun)
This New Zealand band’s third album is a haunting blend of brooding post-punk and atmospheric dream-pop. — DY

Iggy Pop – Free (Loma Vista)
The rock legend’s latest album is a solid set of brooding, atmospheric songs combining moody synths and guitars and occasional horns with his weathered croon and seemingly offhand lyrics. — DY

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