Keren Ann 

Nolita

Keren Ann just might be the next Norah Jones: a singer of exotic origins with a crystalline voice and pretty arrangements who comes out of nowhere to win the hearts of Starbucks customers everywhere. The only trouble: She's a bit more avant-garde, not to mention more talented, than her megafamous counterpart. Less accessible, too. For one thing, the Israeli-Dutch crooner occasionally sings in French; for another, she sometimes slurs her vocals in a narcotized, Margo Timmins-y fashion that may scare the normals. Also, while the music on Nolita -- her fourth album, named after the New York neighborhood wherein she did a bit of recording -- is often delicately gorgeous, it's also disturbingly creepy. The title track, for instance, features a dark mélange of heavy breathing, cello sawing, and synth buzzing, over which Keren distractedly murmurs, Think I'm gonna bury you/Think I'm gonna bury you/For myself. Hard to imagine asking for a double low-fat vanilla mocha after that.

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