Cincinnati-born Yoni Wolf is the first kid from rabbinical stock to put a stamp on hip-hop. But because his solo debut album, Oaklandazulasylum, comes from Anticon records, hip-hop signifiers come in the form of oblique allusion. This album’s more about schmoes than hos, and Why? sounds more like Tuli Kupferberg (of lo-fi hippie pervs the Fugs) than like Eminem or Everlast. Why?’s bedroom production is sparse and his tracks’ trajectories and instrumentation are unpredictable: acoustic guitar, dulcimer, cello, hurdy-gurdy and analog synths swirl around spindly beats that won’t be booming from any Jeeps this summer. His whiny voice takes some getting used to, but once you do, you’ll really hate it. But seriously, Why?’s Midwestern nasality is the perfect vehicle for his odd thoughts, which come off like Woody Allen after reading the Beasties’ Grand Royal fanzine. Fellow Anticon artist Dosh — drummer and keyboardist for Minneapolis indie rock-hop outfit Fog — creates beats that move in intricate, unexpected time signatures and builds vivid Rhodes organ drones that swell with drama. Most of his self-titled debut disc’s twelve tracks exist at the jazzier end of the post-rock spectrum.

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