There’s a whole lot to love about the latest from Flint’s Tunde Olaniran, an ambitious effort that at once mixes a scrappy, DIY aesthetic with slick, pop-yearning production. Beats gleefully oscillate between industrial on one song and “trap” on another. In just five songs, Olaniran tackles a gamut of issues, and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone else having this much fun while doing it — from race identity (“I could be charred up in the barbecue, but still come out and not be black enough for you” on “Brown Boy”) to technology (“The Internet,” a self-aware song-about-a-song with a chorus that has Olaniran tallying the plays that song is racking on the Internet). —Lee DeVito
Look How Fast a Heart Can Break
Sound Artifacts Music
Four or five years ago, the Singles played excellent power pop in the Weezer vein, gigging around Detroit and making a lot of great noise. Then main man Vincent Frederick wanted to try something new, so he up and left for L.A. Apparently he met up with another Detroit native there, drummer Nicky Veltman, and now the Singles are a power-pop duo. There are inevitable sonic differences, but Frederick’s gift for writing a solid pop hook and banging out a cool rock ’n’ roll riff hasn’t changed at all. Despite the shedding of personnel, this still sounds like a Singles record. —Brett Callwood
The Charlie Daniels Band
Doin’ It Dylan
Back in ’69, Charlie Daniels got a career kick-start playing guitar on Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline album, the record that saw Dylan immerse himself in country music. Forty-five years later, Daniels has returned the favor by covering a bunch of Dylan tunes in a country style. It’s a testament to strength of the songs that they can sound so great when reinvented. The opening “Tangled Up in Blue” is revved up a little, smattered with piano, and let loose. “Times They Are A-Changin’” also sounds completely authentic with a bluegrass once-over. Best of all is the ever-perfect “Just Like a Woman,” which could easily be a country classic. —Brett Callwood
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