Jenny Owen Youngs 

It's a strange truth: Acoustic versions of rap songs are like catnip to the masses. Jenny Owen Youngs' deadpan take on Nelly's scummy, misogynistic "Hot in Herre" scored irresistible novelty points and ushered her debut album, Batten the Hatches, into the spotlight in 2007. Her potty-mouthed waltz "Fuck Was I" — in which she tossed around f-bombs in a sweet, chirping alto — landed on the soundtrack to Weeds' second season. Transmitter Failure, the 2009 follow-up, trades the warmth of Youngs' indie-folk for slick studio pop that's reminiscent of Aimee Mann. (Youngs recently spent some time on the road opening shows for Mann.) Failure is an honest, straightforward effort that approaches the intersection of pop and rock in the Regina Spektor–Leslie Feist neighborhood. It's not highbrow art, but it's a lovely record with a fresh-cut glow.

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