The Velvet Teen
More than just a clever name, this outfit produce works of jaw-dropping beauty, mainly in the form of heart-wrenching ballads sung by an angelic-voiced singer. You may automatically think Jeff Buckley, and that's not far off the mark; they have that same soaring quality. But these songs are wonderfully diverse, each a well-crafted work unto itself. The pretty, piano-driven pieces flow with the type of classical elegance that marks the best work of Rufus Wainwright. Other pieces are more difficult to find antecedents for, sounding like Thom Yorke ransacking Beck's basement for cheap studio gear; the more delicately groovy work simultaneously recalls Prince and Jason Falkner. The Velvet Teen is primarily Judah Nagler's project, although he gets considerable help from a talented drummer. Their music proves to be a rare thing: haunting, intelligent, beautiful and genuinely entertaining.