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Breaking Artist: Beach House

February 6, 2008 4:11 PM ET

Who: Baltimore duo Beach House, comprised of vocalist Victoria Legrand and keyboardist Alex Scally, who create atmospheric dream pop that serves as an auditory escape from the rough Baltimore streets portrayed in The Wire.

Sounds Like: A pastoral mix of Mazzy Star, Yo La Tango and Phil Spector-bred girl groups. On their sophomore album Devotion, the duo creates dreamlike songs using Scally's army of vintage keyboards and Legrand's atmospheric coo and stream-of-consciousness lyrics.

Vital Stats:

• Legrand's uncle is the great French film composer Michel Legrand, who scored films by Jean-Luc Godard (A Woman is a Woman, Band of Outsiders) and was nominated for Academy Awards for scoring The Thomas Crown Affair and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.

• Avoiding the White Stripes route of band relations, the duo is admittedly not romantically-involved. Legrand has a boyfriend, while Scally dates a chef on the Food Network's Ace of Cakes.

• The band is a product of Baltimore's exploding indie-rock movement. After the center of renaissance is the Wham City artist collective, which boasts CMJ favorite Dan Deacon as its poster child.

Hear It Now: Devotion hits shelves in CD stores and digital music services on February 28th. In the meantime, check out their video for "Master of None," off their self-titled debut album.

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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