Will Oldham is both everywhere and nowhere. As the Palace Brothers, he transforms folksy tropes into stark, sinister rock, his voice a rusty knife aimed at the heart of aw-shucks Americana. Oldham makes ballsy cover records, such as last year's underrated collab with art-rock legends Tortoise. Hell, he even gets into the rap game; his menacing croon is the killer hook for indie emcee Sage Francis' "Sea Lion." But Oldham truly amazes when he's recording as Bonnie 'Prince' Billy
. From 1999's haunting I See a Darkness
to the gorgeous, soon-to-be-released The Letting Go
, Billy's catalog is full of heartbreak and delight, rage and forgiveness. The songs' lyrics conjure humanity at its messiest and most genuine, and the arrangements are at once soaring and simple. Will Oldham may be something of a changeling, but the quality of his music is steadfast.