• The Rosewood Thieves

    Who? Restless spirit and gifted songwriter Erick Jordan (vocals/guitar) is the hub of New York's Rosewood Thieves, a throwback roots-rock outfit rounded out by Mackenzie Vernacchio (organ/keys), Paul Jenkins (guitar/bass) and Mark Bordenet (drums). Formed in 2004, the quartet released the critically acclaimed EP From the Decker House -- featuring the Entourage-fueled hit "Los Angeles" -- last year on the now-defunct V2 label. Decker House was recently re-released with three bonus tracks and the band will drop the fresh-to-tape Lonesome EP in November. What's the Deal? The "melancholy" descriptor might never apply more suitably to a band than it does to Jordan's group and its swaying compositions, but the tunes on Lonesome and Decker House also manage the tough trick of sounding hopeful even as they lament the wrongdoings of opportunists.

  • White Shoes & the Couples Company

    Who? Vocalist Aprilia Apsari and boyfriend/guitarist Yusmario Farabi met while teaching at the Art Institute of Cikini in Jakarta, Indonesia and formed a Burt Bacharach/'70s film soundtrack-inspired pop trio White Shoes & the Couples Company with colleague Saleh (guitar) in 2002. Three more employees from the college -- Ricky Sury Virgana (bass/cello), Aprimela Prawidyanti Virgana (piano/viola), and John Navid (percussion) -- joined on in 2004 and the band's self-titled album followed in 2005. It hits America this week via Chicago-based indie imprint, Minty Fresh. What's the Deal? The band's American label home makes sense, given Minty Fresh's pure pop pedigree and a roster that's included similarly minded retro pop bands like the Cardigans and Tahiti 80.

  • Emma Pollock

    Who? Formerly one fourth of baroque pop critical darlings the Delgados, singer/songwriter Emma Pollock is the first member of the perennial cult faves to test the waters as a solo artist. Since the Scots' breakup in 2005, fans have only heard a smattering of material from Pollock, though a bow at this year's South By Southwest festival gave a taste of what might be in store. After more than a year in the can at dreampop mecca 4AD Records, her debut album Watch the Fireworks hit American shores this month. What's the Deal? Fireworks presents a less ornate though similarly pretty take on Pollock's work in her former band, with flutes and piano embellishing a standard guitar/bass/drums lineup.

  • Songs of Green Pheasant

    Who? Sheffield, U.K. teacher Duncan Sumpner is the one-man wonder behind ethereal prog-folk act Songs of Green Pheasant. Starting off as a solo artist on a 2002 collection of demos, which was recorded under the Kayak moniker and released as SoGP by the Fat Cat label, Sumpner's added some other bodies to play drums, bass and trumpet for his sophomore release -- Gyllyng Street drops stateside Sept. 18. What's the Deal? The cover of Gyllyng Street -- an anonymous man looking out at a harsh sea on a grey morning -- might do the best job of conveying the mood of an album since Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here." That's apt, since SoGP has a lot of Floyd's hazed-out feeling and recalls Flying Saucer Attack and what might've happened if Nick Drake had been Sigur Rós' principal songwriter.

  • Kate Nash

    Who? British (by way of Scotland) 20-year-old chirper Kate Nash wrote most of her chart-topping debut record, Made of Bricks, on a guitar and laptop during the three-week recovery for a broken foot suffered after tumbling down some stairs. She recovered nicely, though; Internet buzz for Bricks caused its release two months early in the U.K., and last month it topped the British charts. Her stateside bow comes this week with Geffen's release of the Foundations EP. What's the Deal? There are plenty of ways to try to describe Nash's gimmick-free pure pop wonders -- a Natasha Bedingfield record produced by Mike Skinner, a caffeinated Regina Spektor or a more stable Lily Allen with a better voice -- but none of them come close to conveying her wide-eyed ebullience. That doesn't mean Nash can't turn on the sass, though.

  • Chromeo

    Who? A love of hip-hop brought Chromeo members Dave One and Pee Thug together in high school, but an infatuation with '80s black pop music -- think Prince, Cameo and The Jets -- soon took over. Pee Thug's army of analog keyboards, moogs and drum machines provided the musical artillery for early singles such as "Destination Overdrive" that piled on bouncy, frivolous fun. After stints as Montreal area hip-hop producers -- Dave One did a track on Non Phyxions' 2002 debut record The Future Is Now -- the two produced 2003's She's In Control, while their latest effort, Fancy Footwork, hit store shelves via the Vice label earlier this summer. What's the Deal? The twosome's frequent comparisons to Daft Punk fall far short, unless it was Chic's Nile Rodgers and Kool Keith donning the Parisian's robot suits. Or if Bootsy Collins got behind the boards with Add N to X.

  • Jason Isbell

    Who? After six years as one of a trio of lead singers/guitarists for revved-up southern rockers Drive-By Truckers, Jason Isbell bid farewell to the band in April 2006. Accounts differ as to whether the split was amicable or more of a messy divorce but either way, Isbell's solo career gets off to a promising start with the new Sirens of the Ditch (out now via the New West label). The Alabama native adds soulful mediations and tender choruses to the rootsy alt-rock from his DBT days in a way that comfortably sets him apart sonically. What's the Deal? Even before Isbell's departure, Sirens had taken on a Bigfoot-level air of mystery among Truckers fans since its first sessions at Fame Studios in Muscles Shoals, Ala. began four years ago, shortly after Isbell joined the band's tour behind 2001's Southern Rock Opera.

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