For Fans Of: Neko Case, Lucinda Williams, country singers not averse to using the word "fuck" when necessary.
Why You Should Pay Attention: Shouted out by no less a rock & roll arbiter than Richard Hell, this brash Columbus, Ohio 23-year-old set tongues wagging at last year's SXSW, and has just finished her breakout album Somewhere Else, an aching, lusty set of twang and sneer wrapped in electric guitar swagger. Among its knuckle-ball love songs are "Verlaine Shot Rimbaud" (the singer admires how the French symbolist poets expressed affection) and "Head" (a bummed-out meditation on oral sex). There's also a shimmering cover of "They Don't Know" by the late, great English singer-songwriter Kirsty MacColl.
She Says: "I am a not-at-all-closet huge Ke$ha fan – I actually have her logo on my ankle! My friend and I went to see her last year, and we got matching tattoos. I'm fascinated by the whole pop-star thing, and I think she's a really good pop songwriter. I do "Blind" as the bare bones song, to give people a different perspective on it."
Hear for Yourself: The sweetly tortured "To Love Somebody":
by Will Hermes