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Arts and Entertainment

KGRL's Top 13 Albums To Watch Out For In 2009

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The Bird and The Bee, from September's Barack Obama-rama

KGRL -- mentioned previously here -- is a local "...non-profit non-commercial internet radio station that plays the freshest and the best ALL QUALITY female artist / fronted acts in a wide variety of genres." Their "Top 10 Artists To Watch Out For In 2007" included local singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles (MySpace), who in 2008 experienced mainstream recognition due to "Love Song", which garnered Grammy nominations for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Song of The Year.

According to KGRL's Mysty, who's also responsible for their Best Albums Of 2008: "Some people believe that the number 13 is an unlucky number. I guess we'll try to debunk that and take away the fear by doing a Top 13 Albums To Look Forward To In 2009 list. Besides, this could be the 13 that will bring you luck in 2009."

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13. A Camp (MySpace) - Colonia: "The Nina Persson solo side project, A Camp bursts back onto the music scene with the upcoming release of Colonia, the follow-up to their 2004 self-titled debut. In case you have not heard of Nina Persson, she's the vocalist for the ultra-popular Swedish band, The Cardigans. If the first single titled 'Stronger Than Jesus,' released in Swedish iTunes on November 2008, is an indication of things to come then we can look forward with great expectations to Colonia come 2009. The Scandinavian release of Colonia is scheduled on January 28, UK follows next on February 2, and finally the US on April 28."

12. Vedera (MySpace) - Stages: "Formed in 2004, the Kansas City-based indie rock band Vedera (formerly known as Veda) is due to finally release their sophomore offering, Stages, in 2009. With the release of a three-track teaser of new songs aptly titled Stages EP back in April 2008, it's really hard not to anticipate the release of the full-length album. Thanks to the refreshing and extremely likeable voice of Kristen May, we got hooked by Vedera."

11. Holly Brook (MySpace): "Like Blood Like Honey was an impressive debut by singer / songwriter Holly Brook released under Linkin Park's label, Machine Shop/Warner Brothers. The songs from the album received their fair share of exposure, but a lot has happened to this young artist after the release of the record. For reasons she likes to keep to herself, she asked to be released under the record deal. That step cost her a year and a half to get finalized. In what seemed to be the rock-bottom part of her career, she even did some busking - performing in the streets somewhere in downtown Ventura (California). Recently though, she's been performing as a back-up musician/singer for Duncan Sheik. In the midst of all these events, Holly has been writing and has almost finished recording a new album. Let this entry be our first shot at showing our support for Holly's comeback record in 2009!"

Numbers 10 through 1 after the jump.

10. Kari Kimmel (MySpace): "Kari Kimmel's 2006 debut, A Life In The Day, was an emotional stunner. With a voice to rival most, if not all, American Idol contestants it's easy to understand how she got tons, and I mean tons, of TV, movie, and ad placements. The recently released Pink Balloon EP strays a bit from the sentimental nature of the debut and presents a merry happy Kari Kimmel. But that's just a taste, for the upcoming second full-length album is due in March 2009."

9. Automatic Loveletter (MySpace): "One of the best vocals in a rock band I've heard in a while belongs to Juliet Simms from the band Automatic Loveletter. After listening to their 2007 Recover EP, all i could say is 'Perfect.' The ultra-addictive melodies are brought to life with Juliet's vocals. I'm just amazed at how such a few tracks can express her vocal flexibility. Whether singing a more hush hush somber track like 'Hush' or blasting out a rock track like 'Parker,' Juliet simply shines. Their EP makes me feel that every song Juliet sings will be good. So, allow us to be the first in line to buy their full-length when it comes out in summer of '09."

8. Butterfly Boucher (MySpace) - Scary Fragile: "Successfully breaking out of her record deal, Australian singer / songwriter Butterfly Boucher flutters by freely and is expected to land with her new album Scary Fragile in 2009. It seemed the new record would receive the same lack of support as her fabulous debut Flutterby, so she opted to sever ties with the label. Fortunately, she retained the rights to the new materials written and recorded during the deal. With only the final mastering left to be done, expect the release of the record very soon. You've had your warning. Now's the time to prepare for the return of the Butterfly."

7. Imogen Heap (MySpace): "Perhaps one of the most anticipated albums for 2009 is the third solo album from Imogen Heap. If you've been following Ms. Heap's "vBlogs" over at YouTube then you've probably heard a few tidbits and titles of the songs being considered for the upcoming full-length. There's been too many missed dates but it's certain the new record will come out early 2009. Here's to hoping that after the new solo album comes out, we can look forward to a new Frou Frou record."

6. Sarah Fimm (MySpace): "The wait for a new album from Sarah Fimm has been four long years. You can imagine our pent-up eagerness for something to come out. This Christmas's release of White Birds, the first in Sarah's planned trilogy of EPs (with the latter two EPs coming out in 2009) made it the best Christmas EVER! The fact that she is giving it away for free makes it even better. The new EP immediately captivated my musical senses. There was no choice for me but to take it all the way to the top of my Best Albums Of 2008 list. This is the kind of music that reminds me why I love what I do with KGRL. Download the White Birds EP and be one of the fans who, like us, awaits the second and third EPs in 2009."

5. Charlotte Hatherley (MySpace) Cinnabar City: "UK rocker and ex-Ash band member Charlotte Hatherley is about to release her third record, titled Cinnabar City, in 2009. We consider Charlotte Hatherley one of the most important UK artists that the people of the USA have not caught up with just yet. Her first two records, namely Grey Will Fade (2004) and The Deep Blue (2007), showcase the eccentric alternative style of Charlotte. Both records offer a variety from fast and quirky upbeat rockers, to slow and moody idiosyncratic compositions. With that knowledge in hand, we invite you to join us as we eagerly await our journey to Cinnabar City in 2009."

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4. Nerina Pallot (MySpace): "Another one of our favorite UK pop artists who really should release her records in the US (and someone who we'd love to feature someday in our Flower-Powered Artist section), is Nerina Pallot. We consider both Dear Frustrated Superstar (2001) and Fires (2006) as two of the best pop records EVER. Too bad even the UK failed to notice the brilliance of Dear Frustrated Superstar when it was released. Fortunately, with the record Fires, she got the attention she deserves. Did I mention we totally love both CDs she has released so far? We are anxiously awaiting the new record that is supposed to come out soon (in 2009 of course). Whether she calls it 'When Did I Become Such A Bitch?' or anything sillier, we'd still buy it."

3. The Bird And The Bee (MySpace) - Rayguns Are Not Just The Future: "Greg Kurstin and Inara George of The Bird And The Bee continue to dominate our list as we look foward to Rayguns Are Not Just The Future, their follow-up to 2007's self-titled debut. Being that we've been playing the new tracks from this record on the station for a month and a half now, I can safely say that the new record is a worthy second offering and just as elegant as the debut. In the new record, The Bird And The Bee continues to capture the essence of retro music and flawlessly integrates the wonders of the digital age. Look out for the new record this January 2009 (January 13 on iTunes and January 27 in retail and online stores)."

2. Sixpence None The Richer (MySpace): "I've been a huge fan of Sixpence None The Richer (Matt Slocum & Leigh Nash) since their self-titled record in 1997. In 2002 they released Divine Discontent, a record that I personally consider as one of the best albums ever. It was like a stake was driven right through my heart when they announced in 2004 that the group was disbanded. Leigh Nash went on to embark on a solo career and released Blue On Blue in 2006. Nash collaborated with the duo of Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber (Delerium) to release a self-titled record under the name Fauxliage in 2007. But none of the Leigh Nash projects really satisfied the longing for the music of Sixpence None The Richer. Finally in 2008, we received the best news of the year (at least musically): the band was to be reunited. Immediately after the reunion they released My Dear Machine EP followed shortafter by their very first Christmas album, The Dawn Of Grace. We now wait with bated breath as 2009 hopefully brings us the new full-length from Sixpence None The Richer."

1. Hazel Mills (MySpace): "Last year, we gave the top spot on our Artists To Watch Out For In 2008 list to the Bristol-based singer / songwriter, Hazel Mills. It's not such a wonder that she takes the top spot this year again, this time for her upcoming second EP. Hazel's debut EP, Butterfly, was truly a brilliant masterpiece that delivered track after track of nothing but complex yet very accessible compositions. Unfortunately, we did not get any EP for 2008. Instead, she gave us a tasty slice of her new materials via an exclusive KGRL Flower-Powered Artist Live session. The new songs that debuted in our feature left us salivating for more. To say that we are excited about the upcoming release of the second EP is an understatement. So without further delay, allow me to share the excitement as I point you all towards Hazel's exclusive Flower-Powered Artist Live session (courtesy of her record label Xpress Records). The latest we got from Hazel and her writing partner / producer TJ Allen is that they just secured the blessings of their record label for the second EP. Expect the second EP sometime in 2009."

This month, KGRL features LAist favorite Obi Best (MySpace) as their featured artist.

Special thanks to KGRL.

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