Linus
He burned as brightly and as quickly as a match, his legacy is forever and ever like all good mavericks' works tend to be. And lately one of his songs keeps playing in my head over and over, almost like it's trying to telling me something. The thing is, I know what it is.

António Variações is currently a legend in his and my home country, Portugal. He only made two albums to his name and some TV showings and just as he was ready to embrace a much wider reach, he died. Such are the lives of mercurial talents. His works keep on being rediscovered by generation after generation and rightly so, because he was able to tap into what makes us portuguese and infuse it with a modern feel, almost like giving us a new fresh look at what we can be.

The song I referred to is called Estou Além [I'm up ahead] and for me it reflects quite perfectly that very state of an artist/person constantly unsatisfied with his/her position in the world and always on the search for something more, something other than this. How do I understand him.

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Another proof on how to not fall prey to the dreaded sophomore album curse. Laura Marling says she speaks because she can and we believe her all the way. This, her next after her brilliant debut, proves once and for all that she is here to stay and furthermore that she has made an album for the ages.

It's quite incredible the songwriting maturity she displays in each and every song of this follow-up, with a noticeable improvement both on the lyrics and arrangements department. It's a self-assured artist we hear now and the pathos invested in some of the songs give it gravitas and resonance in a way seldom heard. And if you think I'm going loco with the superlatives, just pick up a copy of this album and give it a try. You'd be hard pressed not to concur with me.

Listen to Darkness Descends, a quite up-beat song albeit its misleading title.

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Linus
Coming soon...

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It's been a long time since I've listened to this album and I always get a kick out of it. It's one of the most infectious retro-pop albums I've heard and it still manages to hit some high notes on the pop barometer.

Written and produced by Paradis' then beau Lenny Kravitz, this is a collection of songs that recall a whole period of time that's very much loved around these parts. Not quite recapturing the pop magnificence of the albums Gainsbourg made with Bardot and Birkin, it's still a nice try and quite a good entry in that particular musical cannon. Paradis sings it all the way through in that Lolita voice that she made all her own and it fits the festivities to a T. In short, I love it.

Listen to the hit single Be My Baby and fall in love all over again.

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Linus
The french have somehow always managed to produce some of the most enduring and original pop albums that I can remember. I don't know how they do it. Guess they have it in their blood. And when on top of this, they channel their longstanding love of all things Americana, we have something like the album I have here for you today: Emily Loizeau's Pays Sauvage.

Sung both in french and in english, it's almost like hearing the songs a young french female pioneer composed when she first entered american shores and got in touch with "God's Country" very own soul and musical wavelengths. The feeling of the whole album is therefore very "live" and it sometimes feel like you've crashed a barn party and somehow instantly fell in love with it. The songs have a rhythm and a groove that completely permeates any room or space that you listen to. Yes, it's a winner on all fronts and I'm hooked.

Here's one of its more mellow moments: Songes [Dreams]. Take care.

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