Busdriver Roadkill Overcoat (Epitaph/Ada)
I've heard flows this funny, laced with poetry and cynicism. I've heard production this spunky, cross-genred and chunky. I've laughed at great lines from other rappers and gotten chills and spots of green envy from stunning language use—but rarely all at once. Busdriver doesn't come to you easy. It might be a couple spins before tracks like "Kill Your Employer (Recreational Paranoia is the Sport of Now)" and "Bloody Paw (on The Kill Floor)" become hummable, before the odd word choices make sense. Work for it, though. All that mental sweat will pay off.
The Trucks The Trucks (Clickpop Records)
I want to like The Trucks, a grrrly foursome with awesome harmonies and crass, redundant choruses. Some people will dig the dancy beats, the ’80s synths, the discussions of tits and impotence. Lyrics might resonate with the "I'm feminist because I express my sexuality" set, since that's these ladies' MO. All the disparaging criticism they've received overlooks the idea that some bands do easy pop—and that's enough. If that band can work in some additional commentary without choking on its own cool or gagging on clichéd irony, so much the better. As a juvenile effort, this isn't bad. Still, I can't take them seriously ... yet.
Aesop Rock All Day: Nike + Original Run (Nike)
Someone at Nike got a raise when she came up with the idea of getting rad not-exactly-underground artists to write 45-minute continuous mixes for runners. Aesop Rock's will cost you about $10 on iTunes, and if you're an exerciser, it's worth it. It keeps a steady pace, builds and grows, adding intensity when you need it. But if you're an Aesop Rock fan, this mix might not be worth the big bucks. I'm all for musicians getting paid. Still, this is uninspired and a little boring. Break out your old copy of Labor Days if you want something more than background music.