RADAR: Cate Ferris

Brighton-based alt/pop singer/songwriter Cate Ferris pretty much redefines the DIY ethic. Coordinating the fan-funding her new Disappear EP is one thing, performing all the instruments -- in the studio and live on stage -- is clearly another. Various keyboards and a megaphone, guitar and flute, synth beats and a hodgepodge of percussive instruments -- and Ferris' own naturally sublime voice -- are layered and looped, stripped down and fleshed out, all in an intricate and artful display.

Fortunately, what might could end up as musical mayhem doesn't sound cluttered or mired in what might come across as overly clever or precocious. The melodies, particularly on the four-tracker's title cut, rule the proceedings, followed closely by Ferris' sweet, supple and straight ahead vocal delivery. And on the lovely ballad "Hurricane Skies," it's just Cate and her piano creating what sounds to us like a modern standard. Even when she's capable of juggling a closetful of instruments, she knows when less is definitely more, Stream "Hurricane Skies" at the Currents page.

Newfoundland art-pop collective Hey Rosetta! released their new Second Sight album this week in Canada and Australia with an "official" U.S. release now scheduled for January 27. As we mentioned in our RADAR last month, "witness the amount of glorious rhythmic dynamics and blink-you'll-miss-it musical elaborations rolled up in the four minutes of "Soft Offering (for the Oft Suffering)." Now we get all that along with one of the more interesting performance videos of recent memory. Frontman/founder Tim Baker wrote the song, Marcus Pacquin (Stars, Arcade Fire) produced the music, Marc Bennett directed the video. More DC here...

"I like big voices and a bit of that drama," declares Melbourne singer and songwriter Meg Mac -- aka Megan McInerney -- and she brings it all and then some to this smouldering version of Bill Withers' classic "Grandma's Hands." More on Ms. Mac on the DC RADAR here...

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Pieta Brown