Mini Reviews

Scout Niblett, This Fool Can Die Now (Too Pure Records). Even if the rawness of previous Scout Niblett offerings left you wishing you could claw out your eardrums, her latest effort is well worth a listen. Undeniably beautiful songs, several duets with Will Oldham, a couple of covers and plenty of Niblett's trademark dynamic swings make her fourth album a compelling and captivating listen. — Eryc Eyl

Fernando Otero, Pagina de Buenos Aires (Nonesuch). Rather than trot out tango readymades for an audience that doesn't know any better, pianist Fernando Otero and a gaggle of cunning co-conspirators twist the music of Argentina into intriguing new shapes. This disc brims with clever arrangements, frantic improvisations and an eagerness to dance in new ways instead of following the same old steps. — Roberts

Racoon, Another Day (An Other Label). Combine melodic acoustic guitars with stellar vocals, and a decent album should follow, right? Wrong. Another Day tries for Steve Earle but, led by frontman Bart Van Der Weide Racoon, settles for a lite-rock vibe that more closely echoes Dan Fogelberg and matchbox twenty. — Nick Schreiber

Skeletonwitch,Beyond the Permafrost (Prosthetic Records). On its first label-supported release, Ohio's Skeletonwitch effortlessly ignores metal's countless subgenres and simply plays hard, fast, angry jams to scorch eardrums, melt faces and raise horn-like bumps on unsuspecting crania. If only the quality of the songs matched the quintet's considerable skills and attitude, this would be a must-have. — Eyl

Kelley Stoltz, Circular Sounds (Sub Pop). Many bedroom auteurs suffer from sad-sack syndrome — which is why they're usually in the sack alone. Fortunately, melodic, irresistible Stoltz tracks such as "Tintinnabulation" are inviting and warm, exuding cheeky wit instead of self-pity. If his music's any indication, this guy may actually be getting laid, and that's as nice for listeners as it is for him. — Roberts

Dillinger Escape Plan, Ire Works (Relapse). John Lydon once taught us that anger is energy. With that in mind, Dillinger Escape Plan could power the entire state of New Jersey. While Ire Works is a solid album, purists will sneer at pop-metal tracks like "Black Bubblegum" and "Dead as History," and will plead with vocalist Greg Puciato to drop the Mike Patton impersonation. Matt Scheidler

 
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