Sound advice 

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Tyler, the Creator


XL Recordings

Buy if you like: Odd Future, Dr. Octagon

"We don't make horrorcore, you fucking idiots," raps Odd Future ringleader Tyler, the Creator. "Listen deeper to the music before you put it in a box." Of course, the same argument could have been made by Kool Keith, Gravediggaz and other perversely poetic artists who were considerably less obsessed with hate, rape and faggots. And the fact that the 20-year-old Angeleno's operatically horrific fantasies are so bizarrely conflicted and contradictory only serves to make them that much more disturbing. Even so, he's infinitely more talented than Insane Clown Posse (or, for that matter, Eminem), and Goblin's bass-heavy grooves, smart arrangements and wicked internal rhyme schemes are pretty stunning. What that all adds up to is ultimately between Tyler and his listeners. But from the perspective of an outsider looking in at the world he's constructed here, it appears to be about hating anybody who's not like you are. And it's never hard to find an audience for that. — Bill Forman

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Sarah Jarosz

Follow Me Down

Sugar Hill

Buy if you like: Alison Krauss, Béla Fleck

Sarah Jarosz nabbed a Grammy nomination for a track on Song Up in Her Head, the debut album she co-produced at 17. And as it turns out, she might do it again with this even better follow-up, for which she attracted talents like Béla Fleck, Shawn Colvin and Jerry Douglas — all before she'd even turned 21. Jarosz's first album proved her skills as a prodigious singer, songwriter and instrumentalist. (She plays mandolin, guitar and banjo.) This time, she offers up beautiful originals like "Come Around" and "Old Smitty," a delightful instrumental that could have been a Civil War-era tune. She also covers both Bob Dylan ("Ring them Bells") and Radiohead ("The Tourist"). But the album's centerpiece is the moody "My Muse," a sweetly melancholy love song in which her high notes and sighs convey a soothing quality — a sense of satisfaction for a young woman whose talent and self-assurance seem destined to make her a star. — Lynne Margolis

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Foster and Lloyd

It's Already Tomorrow

Effin Ell Records

Buy if you like: Rockpile, Two Tons of Steel

Foster and Lloyd's first album in 21 years isn't as dynamic as their live reunion shows, but fans of their Everlys-close harmonies and clever wordplay should like most of what they'll hear on It's Already Tomorrow. (It's an apt title for a pair who hit middle age and realized it was time to rekindle the musical magic.) The fare is rockabilly-country — i.e., honky-tonk meets twang, particularly on numbers like "Can't Make Love Make Sense" and "That's What She Said" — and they convey sly humor with lines like "She's heard my single and double entendres, and they're both still workin' on her." "Picasso's Mandolin," an older co-write with Guy Clark, does the same, and also benefits Sam Bush's famed mandolin. In spite of Beth Nielsen Chapman's harmonies, "Lucky Number" ends up faltering a bit. But just when the album threatens to bog down, the Rickenbacker-chimed "Just This Once" and "Something 'Bout Forever" kick in and save the day. — Lynne Margolis


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