Rogue + Jaye
Sounds Like: Belle and Sebastian's "Sleep the Clock Around" recorded not in Glasgow but Laurel Canyon; if Sara Watkins made a duets album with Ben Gibbard, produced by Josh Ritter
For Fans of: The Head and the Heart, Johnnyswim, Buckingham Nicks fan fiction
Why You Should Pay Attention: Courtney Jaye, a onetime Island Records signee and singer-songwriter with vocals as powerful as they are sweet, and Zach Rogue, of San Francisco's Rogue Wave, came together during a session in Nashville, where Jaye lived before relocating to Los Angeles. Three years later, they made a record – Pent Up, to be released this year – that matches Jaye's Southern tenure with Rogue's penchant for lo-fi northwest vibes, dipped in the Technicolor gloss of Hollywood dreams. But unlike most roots-influenced duos reaching for Civil Wars gold (or old-timey burnished bronze, more accurately), this drifts away from dreary desperation and draws more on unique influences. Seventies rock, British folk and even Hawaiian music, a reference of Jaye's since she spent time living in Kauai, are all referenced. Jaye even has a gospel album in the works, if that shows just how broad her palette is.
They Say: "I have been steeped in pop music, but this [record] inherently has a rootsy quality overall," says Jaye, who still feels connected to Music City despite her new coastal address. "That's where it was born from; from two people sitting in a room playing the guitar, and that is also inherently my sense and my style. I think what we didn't want to do was overproduce it. We wanted it to be very simple and just people performing and playing music. That to me is very Nashville, and that's what I love."
Hear for Yourself: The gorgeous, glistening call and response of "Forces of Decay," layered with delicate percussion, is close to pop-Americana perfection. M.M.