Best Albums: Sage Francis, King Buzzo, Helms Alee / Young Widows, Fucked Up

This week’s best albums

– After a four-year layoff, Sage Francis returns with a more traditional hip-hop sound—a nose-flattening beat-down that also shows his softer side.

Buzz “King Buzzo” Osborne of (the) Melvins releases a solo acoustic offering that doesn’t do the wimpy singer-songwriter thing—instead providing gnarly riffs and melodies alongside his potent vocals.

– Each a veteran of boundary-bending hardcore—from sludge to dissonant alt-rock to pop-metal perfection—Helms Alee and Young Widows were a natural fit to tour together and, having done so, release a split EP.

– Though they’re as raucous as ever, Toronto punks Fucked Up play up textures and rhythmic reach on their fourth LP.

Honorable mention

Brian Reitzell: Auto Music (Smalltown Supersound)