The Pulse is the Uproxx Music guide to the best new albums, mixtapes, and other music releases that matter this week.
It’s hard to look forward to albums nowadays since they’re so often just announced out of the blue and then released days later. Case in point: Three days ago, we didn’t know J. Cole would be putting out a new record, but three days later, K.O.D. is out into the world. This instant gratification isn’t always the case, though: It’s been a 14-year wait for A Perfect Circle’s fourth album, but now, it’s finally here. Meanwhile, there’s a new collaborative album from Sting and Shaggy. It’s 4/20, but you’re not high: This is just actually happening.
J. Cole — K.O.D.
If you think J. Cole broke his no features streak, think again: A rapper name Kill Edward is featured on a couple songs from K.O.D., but it appears that the mysterious rapper is actually J. Cole himself. It’s an ambitious album that features Cole taking shots at somebody on “1985,” and criticism of American consumerism on “ATM,” for which he also shared a surreal video.
Read our review of K.O.D. here.
A Perfect Circle — Eat The Elephant
It’s hard to know what to expect from a band whose last album came over a decade ago. The good news is that it sounds like A Perfect Circle is picking up where they left off on their first album in 14 years. “Disillusioned” is an atmospheric and melancholic track with Maynard James Keenan floating over sustained piano, and the rest of the hour-long album is similarly epic.
Read our interview with Maynard James Keenan here.
Lord Huron — Vide Noir
Lord Huron is much more than that band who had that song on 13 Reasons Why: Their third album is out now, and it’s clearly the product of a band on the rise. “Wait By The River” is set to be an indie slow dance staple, “When The Night Is Over” sounds like a rain-soaked mystery, and “Never Ever” is a grungy rocker with an anthemic chorus that sounds like an exhilarating drive through the nighttime woods. Lord Huron don’t need TV to be cinematic.
Kimbra — Primal Heart
Kimbra showed early on that Primal Heart would be an ambitious record when she shared “Everybody Knows,” a dark pop single that has some dubstep tendencies and a bombastic hook. There’s also some legitimate dubstep power (and what could be considered rapping) in her Skrillex collaboration “Top Of The World,” and the rest of the album is filled with satisfyingly edgy pop like that, even with the relatively light-sounding “Like They Do On The TV.”
Smoke DZA — Not For Sale
This is definitely Smoke DZA’s “The” album: Every song title is prefaced with the word, perhaps as a sign that every track is definitive? At the very least, there are definite highlights: He recruits Joey Badass for the throwback soul sound of “The Mood,” DRAM guests on the similarly bright “The Come Up,” and Ty Dolla Sign brings verses to the more R&B-indebted “The Love.”
Sting & Shaggy — 44/876
I’m not sure why it happened, but Sting and Shaggy have made an entire album together. It feels like we’re in an alternate universe, which makes 4/20 an appropriate release date. I’m not trying to bash the album — just highlighting how unexpected it is — because it has its moments: Lead single “Don’t Make Me Wait” is downright endearing and could end up being a really fun track to throw on a summer playlist.
Yazan — Hahaha
Sometimes you just have to laugh, even if you don’t feel like it or if it doesn’t seem like the right time. For example, an album title might not be the right place for it, but Yazan makes it work. The title track hearkens back to the joyful hippy era of the ’60s, with its easygoing spirit and positive vibes, and the rest of the era channels a similar energy, making Hahaha a good album to which to relax and enjoy life for 40 minutes.