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Sound Advice


Lyrics Born
Everywhere at Once
Anti- Records / Release date: April 22
Sounds like: A mad-dabbling hip-hop artist
Short take: Like it, love it

Lyrics Born's most recent album, Everywhere at Once, is exactly that. Over 18 tracks, the independent hip-hop artist incorporates instrumentation and musical styles from a wide variety of genres, from rap to reggae to funk to rock to Latin. He also throws in two comedy skits. Several tracks stand out, but they share little in common. "I Like It, I Love It" pairs funky bass riffs and synthesizers. "Let Me In, Let Me Out" sounds like a rock-reggae amalgam, with powerful electric guitar chords backing the chorus. In "Homeland Security (Skit)," an airline security guard harasses Lyrics Born and accuses him of attempting to bring the dangerous substance "C-4" on the plane, to which the artist replies, "That's a f@$&in' Capri Sun!" Yeah, this one's a winner. Meghan Loftus

To download music: Lyrics Born

The Breeders
Mountain Battles
Sounds like: Indie rock for the jaded
Short take: Breeders win again

Upon first listen to Mountain Battles, it would seem as though the Sisters Deal Kim and Kelley are stuck in the late '80s, a time when alt rock hadn't yet become corporate-sponsored. Therein lies the earnest beauty of Mountain Battles, whose 13 tracks meld together sweetness ("Night of Joy") and romance (the Spanish "Regalame Esta Noche") with excitement ("Overglazed") and angst ("German Studies"). There's the catchy "Bang On," which finds a self-loathing Kim lamenting, "I love no one and no one loves me," and also the traditional country-sounding "Here No More." While The Breeders are known for "Cannonball," a single song the mainstream adopted in the early '90s, they hold on to their indie rock roots with impunity. John Benson

To download music: The Breeders

Ashes Divide
Keep Telling Myself It's Alright
Sounds like: A Perfect Circle minus Keenan
Short take: Howerdel shines

Ashes Divide's first album makes clear just how much of A Perfect Circle's sound can be attributed to former lead guitarist, founder and songwriter Billy Howerdel. (The band's more known for Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan's inclusion.) Howerdel, a self-taught musician who started in the biz as a light and guitar technician for David Bowie, Guns N' Roses and Tool, among others, demonstrates here why he deserves to be recognized. Contributing vocals, guitar, bass and keyboard (with some guest work by old APC mates), Howerdel ventures toward his own sound on upbeat pop tracks like "Defamed" and "The Prey." His resemblance to Keenan, particularly in the arresting "Stripped Away," is either tribute or style-plagiarism. Either way, it's honey to the ears. Matthew Schniper

To download music: Ashes Divide

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