Loyal readers of the Alternative Press will recognize Books on Tape as one of the season’s musicians to watch, and Sings the Blues seconds the suggestion that this is one of the most criminally under-appreciated acts in Los Angeles. It always sounds stupidly elitist to say so, but Books on Tape - who is Todd Drootin, alone - may just be too clever and too difficult for popular acceptance. One immediately thinks of the limitations of a one-man-band with no vocals, although the adaptability of the sampler is Drootin’s platform. Recorded sound is only going to take a musician so far without the knowledge and imagination to sculpt the sound, and Books on Tape creates a tactile musical collage in every track on this, Drootin’s second LP. Kind of like a versatile mix of Prefuse 73 and Aphex Twin, Books on Tape explores everything from electro to samba to jungle to punk rock to avant funk. The music on this album just doesn’t sit still, as every sustained groove is punctuated by near-complete unpredictability in the form of synthesized sound breaks, noise, static, and complex, creative percussion arrangements. Listen to this hour-plus album build in intensity as it plays, rarely failing to surprise and to enchant. Top notch.