The Pulse is the Uproxx Music guide to the best new albums, mixtapes, and other music releases that matter this week.
Cardi B has already had plenty of big weeks in her life, but the previous and next few days are among the biggest of her life: She’s hosting Saturday Night Live today, she’ll be sitting behind the Tonight Show desk with Jimmy Fallon in a couple days, and most importantly, her debut album just dropped yesterday. Meanwhile, Wye Oak, Hop Along, and Alison Wonderland all shared excellent albums of confident female-fronted music, Chance The Rapper associate Saba dropped a new record (and got Chance on it), and plenty of other rappers also put out buzzworthy releases.
Cardi B — Invasion Of Privacy
Even though it didn’t seem like it would be the case based on the initial tracklist, Cardi B got some high-profile features on her debut full-length, from the likes of Chance The Rapper, SZA, 21 Savage, and more. She doesn’t need the help, though: “Bodak Yellow” blew up on its own, and most of the album tracks see Cardi doing her idiosyncratic thing all by herself.
Read our review of Invasion Of Privacy here.
Wye Oak — The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs
On their sixth album, Wye Oak have created something that needs a lot of words to describe it. Songs like the title track, “It Was Not Natural,” and “Lifer” are experimental, catchy, electronic, organic, upbeat, downtempo, adventurous, exciting, emotional, introspective… and most importantly, really, really good, a strong step forward for a band that was already in a pretty great spot.
Read our review of The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs here.
Hop Along — Bark Your Head Off, Dog
Frances Quinlan is one of the most engaging singers in indie rock at the moment, and for years now, she’s led her band through some perfectly adept indie rock. Bark Your Head Off, Dog is undoubtedly charting new ground for the group, though, and the leap they’ve made between their previous record and this one is pretty astounding. Quinlan told Uproxx that this is more of a “studio” album than the “band” albums they’ve made before, and the polished sound of the record suggests that’s true.
Read our interview with the Quinlan here.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra — Sex & Food
It seems like if you’re not absolutely nailing it with a variety of styles on a single album nowadays, you’re falling behind. Unknown Mortal Orchestra doesn’t have to worry about that, though: On Sex & Food, there’s Hendrix-style guitar, psychedelic disco, garage rock, and an attempt at an Adele-style song. It sounds like one of those ideas that’s so crazy that it just might work, and here… it just might work.
Read our interview with Unknown Mortal Orchestra here.
Saba — Care For Me
Chance The Rapper is a pretty excellent guy to have in your corner as an up-and-coming musician, and there’s a reason that Chance digs Saba: The young rapper is more than capable of carrying a track on his own, as he does several times over on Care For Me, including the ambitious 7-minute “Prom / King.” Of course, there’s also “Logout,” the Chance-featuring track that implores you to get off the internet for just a second, even though all it makes me want to do is stay online and put this on a loop.
Alison Wonderland — Awake
EDM is generally kind of a sausage party, which makes Alison Wonderland such a welcomed addition to the field. What helps set her apart is her background — she grew up studying classical music — which helps brings a sense of musicality, songwriting, and direction that other EDM artists might lack. There’s enough electronic wub-wubs and rave-ready moments to go around (see “Okay”), but there’s also some honest-to-goodness pop as well, like the infinitely danceable “No.”
Read our review of Awake here.
Lil Xan — Total Xanarchy
The most infamous Tupac hater in recent memory has released his debut album, and it’s led by his breakout hit “Betrayed,” which may actually be one of rap’s best anti-drug anthems. He also got a pretty solid lineup of guest artists on the 16-track effort: 2 Chainz, Charli XCX, Rae Sremmurd, Diplo, Yo Gotti, and Rich The Kid are all on the album.
Kali Uchis — Isolation
Uchis got her big TV break with a performance on Fallon last month, and with that also came the announcement of her much awaited debut album. It’s out now, and the most noteworthy track is “After The Storm,” a smooth and soulful cut featuring Tyler, The Creator and the legendary Bootsy Collins, a pair of endorsements that should shout that Uchis is worthwhile.