The Pulse is the Uproxx Music guide to the best new albums, mixtapes, and other music releases that matter this week.
This opening paragraph was originally focused on Kacey Musgraves, whose latest album is boundary-breaking and excellent, but surprise: A new surprise project from The Weeknd just dropped! He teased the release on Thursday, and by Friday, it was here. Meanwhile in this week of music, Kate Nash brings some uncommonly energetic and raw indie pop, while Julian Casablancas continues to explore his more experimental tendencies with The Voidz. It’s also been a big past few days for hip-hop collabs, since we got new releases from the pairings of MF Doom and Czarface, and Jean Grae and Quelle Chris.
The Weeknd — My Dear Melancholy
On Thursday, a billboard popped up in London completely out of the blue that suggested My Dear Melancholy would drop the next day. The world assumed this sign was just put up too early and that maybe the album wouldn’t be here quite that soon, but it sure did. The song from the six-track effort that has generated the most buzz so far is “Call Out My Name,” especially because based on the lyrics, it sounds like The Weeknd is saying he almost gave Selena Gomez one of his kidneys.
Kacey Musgraves — Golden Hour
Country music doesn’t have to be what you think it does, as Musgraves proves on Golden Hour. She’s one of the hottest acts in country at the moment, but her latest record, a diverse release filled with plenty of non-country attributes, proves that there’s more to the genre than you would be led to believe. “Rainbow” is a gorgeous piano ballad, “Oh, What a World” features a vocoder, and “High Horse’ is a straight up disco song. There’s plenty to love here and it’s all lovely.
Kate Nash — Yesterday Was Forever
“Drink About You” is one of the most and energetic indie pop-rock songs of 2018, and thankfully, there’s more where that came from. The track headlines her new album Yesterday Was Forever, on which she spends some time getting frank and upfront about mental health, such as “Life In Pink,” on which she says she balances “the sane and what I’m told are ‘insane’ parts of my brain and how I think you need a balance of the two to really make it in this life.”
The Voidz — Virtue
While The Strokes played a huge role in defining ’00s indie rock (and therefore all indie rock), Julian Casablancas allows himself to stray more from the traditional rock formula with his project The Voidz, and that remains true on the band’s first album with its new name (now they’re just The Voidz, not Julian Casablancas + The Voidz). That doesn’t mean it doesn’t still rock, though: For example, “Pyramid Of Bones” definitely participates in some sonic experimentation, but in reality, it has a hard rock edge akin to a more Queens Of The Stone Age-d version of Marilyn Manson.
Read our review of the album here.
Frankie Cosmos — Vessel
Signing to a reputable label is a big step for an artist on the rise, and in indie rock, there are few on the same level as Sub Pop. Frankie Cosmos is making the most of this opportunity, as well: Their first record on the label is out now, and it’s led by the jangly pop of songs like “Jesse,” and tracks that elevate the brand’s DIY aesthetic with a new layer of polish, like “Apathy.”
MF Doom and Czarface — Czarface Meets Metalface
MF Doom might be the king of the hip-hop collab album based on volume alone, and now he’s back with another one, this time teaming up with Czarface for a joint effort. It’s also a moment to rejoice for old-school hip-hop heads, because it’s unmistakably indebted to vintage hip-hop, illustrated by tracks like “Bomb Thrown” that prove that everything doesn’t have to be trap.
Jean Grae and Quelle Chris — Everything’s Fine
Speaking of collabs, here’s a new one from a duo that’s about as close as can be (Grae and Chris are engaged to each other). The record is led by the video game-inspired “Zero,” which effectively uses 8-bit audio as a useful hip-hop tool without coming off as kitschy. There are also plenty of laughs to be had, since the record features skits from comedy heavyweights like Hannibal Buress and Nick Offerman.
Check out our interview with the couple here.
Deadmau5 — Where’s The Drop?
The title of this album is an appropriate and fair question about it: Although he mainly busts out EDM, Deadmau5 is taking a stab at orchestral music this time, by reworking some of his past hits into orchestral arrangements on this new compilation. The album is also accompanied by a pair of live events, and I’m personally looking forward to seeing Joel Zimmerman begin his career as a classical conductor.
Where’s The Drop is streaming exclusively on Tidal, but is expected to be released on other platform at a later date.
This Is The Kit — Moonshine First Goes
The title track from This Is The Kit’s 2017 album Moonshine Freeze was downright funky, but in a delightfully subtle way. Now, she’s giving that song (and three others from the album) the acoustic treatment on a new EP, “Moonshine First Goes.” As the title suggests, these are the acoustic first recordings of these songs, and it’s always fun to hear the first versions of great music, especially of tracks by a songwriter as talented as This Is The Kit (real name Kate Stables).