Who? Raised in the forests of rural New Jersey, Jenny Owen Youngs brings her hay bails and whiskey bottles to the streets in her debut full-length Batten the Hatches (out today via Nettwerk). Abandoning her early years with the flute and the tuba, Youngs picks up her guitar and employs everything from banjos to trumpets on her debut. Gal pal Regina Spektor even pops in for a cameo on the answering machine ode to an ex-lover “Voice on Tape.”

What’s the Deal? Youngs’ biting wit is glossed with her tender vox and while her lyrical candor stings, her ethereal vocal quality soothes. Her impassioned speak-singing is reminiscent of Alanis, but the presence of contemporary influences like Cat Power, Rachael Yamagata and Beth Orton are the dominant ghosts. Youngs wraps her heartbreak in violins and expletives in the stand-out track, “Fuck Was I,” reminding us that sometimes the most elegant way to go down is with your middle finger up.

Fun Fact: Jenny Owen Youngs is a shark fanatic. “Many people don’t know that if a shark has locked its jaws on some part of your body, a good way to force it to disengage is to jam your thumbs into its nostrils,” she told Spin.com. “Even fewer people know that if a Jenny Owen Youngs has somehow clamped onto you, she can be baited in another direction with grilled tofu or distant cries of ‘spring break!'” KRISTINA ENSMINGER

Now Hear This: Jenny Owen Youngs – “Voice on Tape” DOWNLOAD MP3

On the Web: jennyowenyoungs.com

Talk: Are your hatches ready to weather the coming Jenny storm?


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