Breaking Artist: She and Him

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Who: She and Him, a collaboration between indie-rock troubadour M. Ward and actress Zooey Deschanel.

Sounds Like: On their debut album Volume One, She and Him merge Bright Eyes, Emmylou Harris and Guided By Voices into expansive Phil Spector-inspired songs, with the entire package held together by Deschanel's silky vocals. "This was her first record, and she was discovering all the things she's capable of," says Ward.

Vital Stats:

• The duo first met while working on the 2006 film The Go-Getter, which starred Deschanel and featured original music by Ward. The film's director asked the pair to work on a cover of Richard and Linda Thompson's "When I Get to the Border," and the two discovered they were musical soulmates.

• Deschanel, who will star in the upcoming M. Night Shyamalan film The Happening this summer, feels that recording an album was a welcome change of pace compared to filming a movie. "Making movies is like being part of a giant machine," says Deschanel, "It's nice to work on a project where I have more control."

• Before Volume One, Deschanel's musical exhibitions were restricted to her duet with Will Ferrell on the song "Baby, It's Cold Outside" in the film Elf, though she says she's been writing songs since she was eight.

Hear It Now: Volume One is out March 18th. Click above to hear the album's most straight-ahead rock track, "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?"