Linus
I bet I'm not alone in saying that most of us didn't see this one coming. I mean, this smelled like a vanity project from the go: top model asks her rock star boyfriend to produce an album for her? I mean... How could they make this work and not be ridiculed? Amazingly, that's just what happened. And astoundingly, it's one of the year's best. Ladies and gentlemen, make way for a significant new artist has just walked into town.

Karen Elson is her name and she sings of things both ancient and timeless. She carries the weight of all female suffering with her and her soft and sometimes sandpaper-y voice casts spells on whomever makes an effort to really listen to her. She sings of lost loves, new loves, contradictory loves, timeless loves. And she cradles you while doing so. It's hard to imagine how effortlessly she does all this and how genuinely she does it. You just couldn't tell that by looking at her pretty pictures from her other day-job. What a pleasant surprise. And we want more, Ms Elson!

Listen to Lusana and gently fall in love with her.

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Linus
I just love it when I "discover" new artists in an almost casual way. I've talked about this before, about my trust in serendipity. And it occasionally produces quite exquisite things like the one I have here for you today.

Morita Douji is japanese and made a string of solo albums in the 70's which were almost like reinterpretations on the same melancholic state of mind, one fueled by apparently a loss of a friend. And that is pretty much all I know about her. And that is pretty much all I need to know to immerse myself in the gloriously sad music she made in those albums. Oh, and she always wore dark glasses. Always. Even in concerts. And she quit her career very early on.

I particularly like her third album - A Boy - because I feel that she was able to convey and fulfill all her musical ambitions in a much more accomplished way than before. Listen to You Are Trembling, my favorite track of hers at the moment. Oh, and if you think that the non-musical coda is a glitch, well, it's not. It's completely intentional and for me it only adds up to the charm this female singer has on me.

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Linus
And here is Mr. Selway once again with a quite interesting and mysterious video. It's always good for me to see that some artists still deal with the divine in their work.

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Linus
Here's one that I bet most of us weren't expecting: an album by former Radiohead drummer, Philip Selway. And an excelent one, at that. Mostly an acoustic affair, it manages to both impress us with the consistent quality of its songcraft and the emotion with which it is delivered. A keeper, then.

Galaxies away from the music his former band used to make, this is an album that feels homegrown and as a result, quite intimate. It's almost like the time had come to put out all those songs that he'd been keeping in his drawer that served as an escape to all the avant-garde musical explorations of his former day job. And we're all glad he did. At least I am. This is a very gentle sounding album, much in the vein of the one on the below post, its difference being on the musical ambients Selway manages to conjure, which are in turns mysterious and at times romantic.

Listen to The Witching Hour, the album closer.

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Linus
Here's a band I've been warming to quite recently, norwegian duo Kings of Convenience. Paraphrasing Vanilla Sky, they had me at the Simon and Garfunkel vocal harmonies. I was literally and instantly hooked on their sweet sounds. And I've been rotating this, their second album - Riot On An Empty Street - quite heavily for the past few days.

Their main appeal is actually quite simple and straightforward. It stems for their exquisite talent in crafting the gentlest melodies I've heard in quite a long time. Because that's just what this is: a collection of gentle songs, gently sung by - yes, why not? - two very gentle men. It's the kind of record you put on a Sunday morning and slowly get into the groove of a new day, preferably spent at home cuddling your pet(s) and drinking latte in front of the TV or on the front porch.

As a taster, I leave you with Misread, one of my favorite tracks at the moment.

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