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Sean Daly's CD picks: Katy Perry, the Fratellis, Ed Harcourt

Katy Perry

Album: One of the Boys (Capitol)

In stores: Now

Why we care: This 23-year-old Angeleno is being called "the next Gwen Stefani." Considering the way she messes with male minds, "the next Pink" is more like it. The singer-songwriter belittles the boys, flirts with the girls and destroys Vegas. In the end, though, she's more pop tart than predator.

Why we like it: Over a big beat and fuzzy guitars, Perry sings I Kissed a Girl like Billy Squier in capri pants. The boyfriend-skewering Ur So Gay isn't homophobic, but it does pummel straight guys who can't handle her edge. Perry shows a blah soft side here and there, but don't worry: She gets back in your face soon enough.

Reminds us of: Perry plays the Vans Warped Tour on July 11 at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg.

Download these: I Kissed a Girl and Ur So Gay

Grade: B

The Fratellis

Album: Here We Stand (Interscope)

In stores: Now

Why we care: These shaggy Scottish pub stars process the Beatles much like Oasis once did: with a wink, a pint and great, grimy hooks. This disc follows their 2007 debut, the riotous Costello Music, which wasn't as slick . . . but wasn't as good, either.

Why we like it: With its besotted abundance of good-time melodies, the album plays like a bear hug from the guy on the bar stool next to you. But rest assured there's beauty among the rapscallionship. Look Out Sunshine! shimmers like a '60s confection, with a chorus ("And tell my friends I'll be around / Getting nowhere, sleeping somewhere") that's pure pop bliss.

Reminds us of: The Arctic Monkeys with nicer girlfriends but fewer teeth.

Download this: Look Out Sunshine!

Grade: A-

Ed Harcourt

Album: The Beautiful Lie (Dovecote)

In stores: Now

Why we care: British loner Ed Harcourt is an established star overseas, but his quirky brand of late-night Brit-pop hasn't caught on here. That's too bad. He's a mix of Radiohead's experimentation and Badly Drawn Boy's cheek. Buy him a beer, and he'll sing you a weird, wonderful lament.

Why we like it: Harcourt is using curious sounds, and curiouser time changes, to build his soft, strange sing-alongs. You Only Call Me When You're Drunk goes from wistful to zany halfway through, while The Last Cigarette merges acoustic guitar and gypsy violin.

Reminds us of: If Elton John had an indie son who was more like Dad than he'd ever admit.

Download this: Whirlwind in D Minor and Late Night Partner

Grade: B


Marie Digby

Song: Umbrella

Album: Unfold (Hollywood)

In stores: Now

Why we care: This 25-year-old NYC singer seduced 5-million viewers when she YouTubed a folkie cover of Rihanna's hip-hop hit Umbrella. The strange bedfellows schtick worked wonders. Her version of the song appeared on MTV's reality show The Hills. Disney's Hollywood Records then signed her to a big deal.

Why we like it: Unlike Alanis Morissette's wicked cover of My Humps, which skewered the misogyny of the Black Eyed Peas smash, Digby treats the provocative Umbrella with a delicate earnestness. Even those "ella-ella-ella"s have dandelion pluck. Digby, who is of Japanese-Irish-American descent, weaves the rest of her debut with the same innocence.

Reminds us of: She'll be dating Marilyn Manson any day now.

Grade: B

Sean Daly's CD picks: Katy Perry, the Fratellis, Ed Harcourt 06/21/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 24, 2008 11:15am]
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