Tyler, The Creator
Sounds Like: The 20-year-old’s therapist/patient gag is the perfect way to diffuse the insanity of an hour full of gay slurs, hyper-violent fantasies and dope, dope beats.
Free Association: A skate rapper who’s either brilliant, an asshole or a lil’ of both.
For Fans Of: Odd Future, Nas + Nine Inch Nails, homicidal mania, black Juggalos.
Sounds Like: A lo-fi freak folk project that’s evolved into a full-blown chamber pop outfit. On their third here, they get sleeker, shiny and catchier than ever.
Free Association: Hospice was brilliant, but miserable. This is sadness you can rock to.
For Fans Of: Radiohead, Deerhunter x Boards of Canada, records for rehab.
The Felice Brothers
Sounds Like: Catskill boys take their roots-rockin’ approach to Americana in a slightly funkier, modern direction, introducing some clubby polish to their fourth LP.
Free Association: Not seeing the link to the Disney-backed community—sweet relief.
For Fans Of: The Band, Avett Brothers + Geto Boys, bands finding synths and 808s.
Sounds Like: The Brit boys’ follow-up to the fantastic Two Dancers is a bit more quiet and low-key than it should be; not enough playful rhythms and tempos.
Free Association: Now I’m starting to feel smothered by your ladyboy falsetto, man.
For Fans Of: Kate Bush + Yo La Tengo, Queen + Tiny Tim, emotional Brits.
Gang Gang Dance
Sounds Like: Brooklyn-bred kitchen sink groove-charmers, they’ve gone pop here and have brought in more elements of the Middle East and dubstep on their best yet.
Free Association: Trendy tribal dance music may expire, but not for a while after this.
For Fans Of: Animal Collective with gypsies, Yoko Ono + Yeasayer, desert dances.
Sounds Like: Today’s No. 1 soul man has really done it now. Thought his Grammy-winning last was good? This batch of bluesy, rock-inflected soulful gems is wicked!
Free Association: Pop music’s unsung hero—HELLO! Toni x 3, Lucy Pearl, now this?
For Fans Of: Mark Ronson + Amy Wino, Jill Scott x Otis Redding, real deal R&B.
Time for a big Bang breakthrough?