Kanye West may have us all fast-forwarding to June 1st, but let’s not forget that April was absolutely jam-packed with remarkable music. From dropping jaws at Coachella to revealing a baby bump on SNL to conquering the Billboard Hot 100 with practically every song charting off her debut album, Invasion of Privacy, Cardi B has proven “Bodak Yellow” was no fluke and justified all those grown men out there imitating her high-pitched chirps.
We also can’t forget megastars like Drake and The Weeknd amassing millions of clicks on their videos without breaking a sweat, Chicago’s own Saba releasing arguably the most thoughtful hip-hop album of a young 2018, or Colombian-American singer Kali Uchis treating us to one of the best-sounding pop albums we’ve heard in a long while.
You’ll find some of that here. Some of it you won’t. Frankly, we got spoiled silly in April — to the point where, if we’re smart, we’ll put Kanye on hold and go back for a few more listens.
10. Post Animal – “Gelatin Mode”
Release: From When I Think of You in a Castle out now on Polyvinyl
Clocking in at nearly six minutes, “Gelatin Mode” is a colossal explosion of sound that boldly emerges as the heavy hitter on Post Animal’s long-awaited debut album, When I Think of You in a Castle. The album’s release follows Post Animal’s astronomical ascent in which they went from opening at local gigs to touring with Wavves in less than a year, cementing their status as psych-rock masterminds along the way. Infused with intensity and head bang-worthy riffs, “Gelatin Mode” proves that Post Animal know how to create an irresistible elixir of electricity and innovation. –Lindsay Teske
09. Allen Stone – “Brown Eyed Lover”
Release: Single out now on ATO
Toting a singular soul and sense of groove, Allen Stone has released “Brown-Eyed Lover”, his first song in advance of an upcoming tour this fall. The song is sweet and jazzy, but also an unapologetic expression of big-band soul in a modern market that rarely gives it an audience. “Lover” comes as the first new music in almost three years from Stone and a fantastic start to a new era of grooviness. –Clara Scott
08. Fidlar – “Alcohol”
Release: Single out now on Mom+Pop
FIDLAR brings the ultimate trifecta of refreshingly blunt lyrics, addictive rhythms, and scuzz-suffused guitar riffs together in perfect harmony with “Alcohol”, their first original release since their 2015 sophomore album, Too. FIDLAR’s knack for fueling their songs with an intoxicating combination of verve and nihilism finds no exception with “Alcohol,” its raw power and spunk hitting the ear with as much gusto as the first shot of the night hits the brain. Like finally opening an old bottle of whisky, this song was well worth the wait. –Lindsay Teske
07. Kali Uchis – “After the Storm” ft. Tyler, the Creator and Bootsy Collins
Release: From Isolation out now on Universal
Kali Uchis treats listeners to a groove-infused celebration of independence and positivity in “After the Storm”, a standout track from her debut album, Isolation. “After the Storm” serves as a tranquil oasis within the otherwise largely uptempo album, its uplifting lyrics and ethereal nature taking on the auditory form of a summer breeze. With guest appearances from Tyler, the Creator and Bootsy Collins only furthering the flair, “After the Storm” proves that Uchis knows how to conjure up effortless excellence. –Lindsay Teske
06. Saba – “Prom / King”
Release: From Care for Me out now on Saba Pivot
From its inception, hip-hop has boasted (and demonstrated) the ability to depict the world in arguably higher definition than other genres of music. Much of the reason rising Chicago rapper Saba’s remarkable sophomore release, Care for Me, resonates is because that while most of the songs are inspired by the recent violent loss of the emcee’s cousin Walter, a man we’ve never met, songs like “Prom / King” celebrate and mourn loss in a way we can all identify with. The jazzy track, all piano and percussion, finds Saba looking back in pinpoint detail to his time with Walt leading up to prom and later to the day he learned his cousin was missing. It’s a window into the rapper’s memories sure, but more so it’s a look at how the grieving mind works, and one can’t help but listen and begin to think about his or her own Walter. –Matt Melis