Miles Raymer, Reader music critic:
Gucci Mane & Waka Flocka Flame, Ferrari Boyz: There are certain things one expects of an album-length collaboration between Atlanta rappers Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka Flame. That the two will spend a good chunk of the LP repeating their own names. That Gucci will make car noises with his mouth. That there will be songs ostensibly about dealing cocaine but on a more essential level about making people want to tear the club up (even if they're stuck in a work chair in a home office). Ferrari Boyz does all of these things, occasionally at the same time, as on "15th and the 1st," which if you could express as a weight how much it bangs would come in well over a ton.
Earlove high-fidelity earplugs: Were you aware that the ringing in your ears after you've been exposed to sufficiently loud noises represents the last time you'll ever hear that particular frequency? When I read that a few years ago I tried to ballpark the number of times my ears have rang—and immediately went in search of decent hearing protection. I went with locally made Earlove earplugs. They're surprisingly comfortable (once you get used to them) and unlike foam earplugs, they actually improve the experience of listening to most bands; by avoiding aural overload you can pick out more detail. Mine cost $10 and I've never had to replace them. If you value your hearing you should buy a pair. If you attend more than five metal shows a year that goes double.
Stagnant Pools: I've recently been tipped off to the fact that Bloomington, Indiana, is bursting with really good bands. The best I've heard is Stagnant Pools, a two-piece that unites the slate gray mood of Joy Division, the tranciness of Krautrock, the simple melodies of garage, and Sonic Youth's feedback fetishism. If you were booking a Disappears show in Bloomington these guys would be your first pick to open. That would be a killer show.