Sound Advice 

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Calle 13

Entren Los Que Quieran

Sony U.S. Latin

Buy if you like: Manu Chao, Los Amigos Invisibles

Calle 13 leaves its reggaeton past behind on Entren Los Que Quieran, which finds the Puerto Rican group embracing a wildly eclectic and eccentric musical palette. The opening track continues the politically acerbic band's tradition of bizarre intros, this time with an upbeat mockery of Disney-meets-Telemundo excess. Next comes "Calma Pueblo," a metallic hip-hop workout featuring Mars Volta guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López and a lyric that translates to, "Don't talk to me about cartels or The Sopranos / The biggest mafia lives in the Vatican." "La Bala" offers Morricone-style bells and whistles, plus twangy guitar and vocal chants, as it follows a bullet's trajectory; meanwhile, guest appearances by Peruvian singer Susana Baca and Fela's son Seun Kuti demonstrate the speed of Calle 13's own progress since its 2005 debut. Here's to more where that came from. — Bill Forman

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First Four EPs

Vice Music

Buy if you like: Buzzcocks, Gun Club

When it comes to Keith Morris' Off!, four EPs add up one great debut. The singer first made his mark with Black Flag, although he left shortly after the group's 1978 Nervous Breakdown to form the Circle Jerks. Morris' current compadres are a talented bunch that includes Redd Kross bassist Steven McDonald, Burning Bridges guitarist Dmitri Coats, and Earthless drummer Mario Rubalcaba. Together, they're brutal in a benign way, and like a throatier version of the Buzzcocks' Singles Going Steady, this 16-song set is short, sharp and baited with hooks. Personal faves include the Minutemen-like "Now I'm Pissed" and the driving "Jeffrey Lee Pierce," a eulogy to the Gun Club leader whom I once saw playing most of a set from beneath the drum riser (him, not me). Available digitally or as a 7-inch box set with art by Raymond Pettibon, First Four EPs is definitely the shit, but in a good way. — Bill Forman

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Simone Kermes

Colori d'Amore

Sony Masterworks

Buy if you like: Kathleen Battle, Elly Ameling

German soprano Simone Kermes' latest collection brings together a selection of largely unrecorded baroque arias with stunning vocal performances. Even on the most virtuosic coloratura passages, not least of which is Scarlatti's bravura "Ondeggiante Agitato," Kermes' vocal acrobatics never lose their subtlety or warmth. So when it comes to the much more contemplative "Frondi tenere ... Ombra mai fù," one of the album's four compositions by Handel rival and influence Giovanni Bononcini, her rendering is sublimely haunting and ethereal. Instrumental accompaniments by Italian ensemble Le Musiche Nove are appropriately subdued but never less than inspired. The album also includes pieces by Nicola Matteis, Antonio Caldara and Riccardo Broschi. And while it's true that none of the above are household names, Colori d'Amore is a collection that should appeal to operatic novices and aficionados alike. — Bill Forman


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