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Sound Advice

The Raconteurs
Consolers of the Lonely
Third Man Records
Sounds like: Adventures in genre-hopping
Short take: White and Co., eating ginkgo

Few records display as much diversity and musicianship as this solid, second effort by The Raconteurs the band notorious for having never played a live show before recording its first album. Still buoyed by White Stripes member Jack White's voice, notoriety and songwriting contributions, The Raconteurs spans everything from pop and classic rock to folk, all built on blues foundations and guitar work. Though no tunes are as readily catchy or accessible as Broken Boy Soldiers hit "Steady as She Goes," repeat listens unlock some gems. Segments of "Rich Kid Blues" could be mistaken for a Zeppelin B-side with staccato keys, howling vocals and epic guitar solos, while "Carolina Drama" saves the best for the last track, with rousing choruses and a fun, lively narrative. Matthew Schniper

To download it, click here:The Raconteurs

Tapes 'n Tapes
Walk It Off
Sounds like: Redundant indie rock
Short take: Tapes get the clap

When Tapes 'n Tapes arrived a few years ago, it was greeted with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah-esque critical acclaim and obsequious Pitchfork fan love. Whereas 2006 release The Loon was carved out of a Pavement-meets-Pixies aesthetic, the Minneapolis band's recently released follow-up, Walk It Off, sounds very similar to the record Clap Your Hands should have released instead of Some Loud Thunder. Specifically, the jangle-y "Conquest" features friendly guitar chords and nasally vocals that find singer Josh Grier nearing the same David Byrne range that Clap Your Hands' Alec Ounsworth frequently visits. While the discordant sounds, off-kilter rhythms and fuzzy guitars of "Demon Apple" are a nice digression, Walk fails to create the same excitement or sense of adventure experienced on The Loon. John Benson

To download it, click here:Tapes 'n Tapes

Tristan Prettyman
Virgin Records U.S. / Release date: April 15
Sounds like: A guitar-heavy, piano-light Rachael Yamagata
Short take: Standouts save this album

The second full-length from San Diego-based singer-songwriter Tristan Prettyman offers acoustic guitar with a tinge of country twang, pretty vocals and predictable lyrics. On "Just a Little Bit," Prettyman uses her voice to its full potential, putting sultry vocals over acoustic chords, which grow into electric chords and powerful drumbeats. The track peaks with a choir on backup. "In Bloom" combines similar vocals with mournful piano and strings. "Handshake Agreement," features rhythmic bass notes and pounding piano that create a toe-tapping track that contrasts with the rest of the low-key album. Overall, Prettyman succeeds, but had she played up her vocals more often and included a greater variety of styles, she would have floored her audience. Meghan Loftus

To download it, click here:Tristan Prettyman

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