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Mia Doi Todd, ‘Gea’ (City Zen)

After gussying up her early tunes for the 2002 major-label bomb The Golden State and drifting in more eclectic directions on 2005’s Manzanita, the Los Angeles songwriter goes back to acoustic basics for a quietly unified seventh album that documents a doomed relationship with devastating restraint. Her music and lyrics stripped back to simple, effective strokes, Todd focuses on her strength, a haunting alto packed with suppressed passion. Nearly classical accompaniment sustains rather than heightens the mournful mood, and it suits her distinctively disciplined style just fine. Now Watch This: Mia Doi Todd, “Night of a Thousand Kisses”

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Tags: Albums