Rhapsody Radar: MS MR
As arena-alternative duos go, MS MR picked a name as clever and succinct as U2. It's pronounced Miss Mister to hearken back perfectly to synth-pop's androgynous roots, and because they're shrewd: here's a guy and a girl, and here's the music. While reverb-enhanced female vocals aren't in short supply right now, few have Lizzy Plapinger's sass (at times she sounds like she could knock KT Tunstall circa "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" off the saddle) or producer Max Hershenow's ductile atmospherics ("Salty Sweet" has an apt title for its creeping pizzicato-plucked reggaeton setting). Their full-length debut, Secondhand Rapture, contains plenty of multilayered songs, such as "Ash Tree Lane", that overdub Plapinger onto an army of Dead Can Dance-style harmonies amid thundering drums and blasts of horn and other decor that unfurls like smoke in the mix. Sounds grandiose for a vocal-producer duo, no? They're just getting started.