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Listen to this

A look at some new music.

Published January 21, 2007

"There's Been an Accident" by The Twilight Singers.
Powder Burns, ©2006 One Little Indian

"Telephone Line" by Electric Light Orchestra.
A New World Record, ©1976, 2006 Sony BMG Music Entertainment

"Crashing Down" by Mat Kearney
Nothing Left to Lose, ©2006 Aware Records, LLC

The Twilight Singers

Album: Powder Burns One Little Indian

In stores: Now

Why we care: We're fascinated by the sleazy side of celebrity, especially the high-heeled, low-gutter debauchery of the young and the reckless. And no one better captures the sweet-sour vibe of excess and addiction than chain-smoking Twilighter Greg Dulli, who splits his time between this side project and alt-rock band the Afghan Whigs.

Why we like it: Dulli has always been torn between punk anger and pop smarts, end-credit grandiosity and hungover quiet. With the Twilight Singers, he indulges all his musical skills. This disc was recorded in New Orleans, a town that knows about sin and salvation.

Reminds us of: Wild nights, hard mornings.

Download these: There's Been an Accident, Underneath the Waves

Grade: B+

Ashley Tisdale

Album: Headstrong (Warner Bros.)

In stores: Feb. 6

Why we care: Discovered by Disney and now smartly picked up by Warner Bros., this 21-year-old New Jersey cutie, and Suite Life of Zack & Cody regular, became a tween hero after starring in the Mouse House phenomenon High School Musical. Ambitiously blond, she has hooked up with music-biz hitmakers for Christina, Britney and Gwen.

Why we like it: Ashley has Hannah Montana's sass and charm, but she ups the sex appeal just a smidge, giving her dance-floor bouncers catchy edge. Ballad Unlove You is an overwrought, bad-Broadway mess, but it's charming in its awfulness. At least we know it really is Tisdale who's doing the singing. Poor thing. She's better at the fast stuff.

Reminds us of: Britney with her bloomers on.

Download these: He Said, She Said and Not Like That

Grade: If you're under 13: B; if you're over 13: C

Electric Light Orchestra

Album: A New World Record: Expanded and Remastered (Sony)

In stores: Now

Why we care: Sony has gussied up all of Jeff Lynne's masterworks with ELO, but this 1976 album shines the brightest. True fact: If you start your day with Livin' Thing, nothing bad can happen to you.

Why we like it: Remastering has brought Lynne's sonic quirks to the forefront: the sci-fi sound effects, the gypsy violin, the classical flourishes, the vaguely robotic harmonizing. A gorgeous instrumental of Telephone Line is a tutorial in building the perfect pop ballad.

Reminds us of: A Beatlemaniac in a spacesuit.

Download these: Telephone Line (Instrumental) and Livin' Thing

Grade: A


Mat Kearney

Song: Crashing Down

Album: Nothing Left to Lose (Aware)

In stores: Now

Why we care: When he sings, this sad-eyed Oregonian sounds exactly like Coldplay's Chris Martin: the slightly nasal croon surfing crescendoes and breaking hearts. Kearney is a newcomer to watch.

Why we like it: Kearney's lost-in-love phrasing, used to arena-stuffing perfection on Crashing Down, is as epic as his voice. That's crucial, 'cause elsewhere on his debut, Kearney cuts the coo and resorts to a clunky rap. Let's just say Jay-Z has nothing to worry about.

Reminds us of: Mr. Gwyneth Paltrow.

Song grade: A

Album grade: C+

Sean Daly can be reached at or (727) 893-8467. His blog is at blogs.tampabay. com/popmusic.




[Last modified January 18, 2007, 12:37:38]

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