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El Perro Del Mar

Who? The Swedish songstress, otherwise known as Sarah Assbring, may owe her career to a stray pup. The artist got the inspiration for her name (which literally means “the sea dog”) after being approached by a mongrel on a beach in Spain. Launching the solo project in 2003, the Twiggy look-alike appropriately crafts songs that deal with loneliness and learning to stand on her own. She has already hit the road with the likes of Calexico, Jose Gonzalez, Camera Obscura, and the Concretes. Her eponymous debut, which culls tracks from various singles and EPs, has been released stateside by the Control Group.

What’s the Deal? Don’t let deceptively chipper song titles like “Candy” and “Party” mislead you — the singer is too busy warding off feelings of sadness to celebrate. “Oh I think it’s so hard trying to get around what they want me to be / I’m just done trying to care about everyone else except me,” Assbring sings on the former track, before launching into the sugar-coated chorus. El Perro Del Mar mixes her trembling vocals with a Motown sensibility on the self-produced affair. Songs like “God Knows (You Gotta Give to Get),” “People,” and “I Can’t Talk About It” offer ’60s girl group harmonies — that is if the girl group was on the verge of tears. After all, it’s her party and she’ll cry if she wants to.

Fun Fact: When she’s not tearing up, Assbring might just be out running. “I love long distance running [and] there’s just nothing like a good run in the evening,” the singer told “[It] doesn’t matter if it’s raining or if it’s terribly cold and windy. For me it’s like meditation. It’s an unusual thing these days to exhaust the body rather than the brain.” GINNY YANG

Now Hear This: El Perro Del Mar – “God Knows (You Gotta Give to Get)” DOWNLOAD MP3

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On the Web:

>> Listen to El Perro Del Mar on Napster