, Pick Me Up Off the Floor
(Blue Note/Capitol) – Since her first two albums got pegged as adult MOR, Jones has worked overtime to prove her indie cred. The effort isn’t necessary, as she has an innate sense of a great arrangement or an appropriate cover tune. These 13 originals, featuring Jeff Tweedy as occasional co-writer, firmly places Jones in the lead pantheon of writers and interpreters. “How I Weep” uses minimal piano and strings to spotlight her talents, and if other tracks emulate smoky nightclubs of yore, when Jones puts her style into it, the emulation is much more than OK.
, The Prettiest Curse
(Mom + Pop) – The lo-fi women’s band from Madrid has won fan adoration through the vibrant, buzzy feel of a Velvet Underground revival. Some fans might dread Hinds’ move into higher production values, but there’s little to fear. The opening track, “Good Bad Times,” has suggestions of New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle,” and even the more distortion-soaked tunes such as “Boy” and “Burn” display a precision Hinds never showed in the past. Fans shouldn’t worry: Hinds has in no way sold out.