Caught in the Net: She country-rocks because she can

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The Independent Culture

It's hard to believe that Laura Marling, at just 21 years old, is already on the cusp of releasing her third album, which comes just 18 months after I Speak Because I Can.

Following her Brit award and two Mercury nominations, there's much expectation, and "Sophia", the first song to be posted from A Creature I Don't Know, certainly delivers. On YouTube at tinyurl.com/3dqs38s, "Sophia" starts with Marling's low register, world-weary vocals and finger-picked guitar, building to Fleet Foxes-esque arpeggiating guitars, and strings, until it becomes almost another song altogether, all uptempo, jaunty country-rock and vocals with shades of Fleetwood Mac. It's a sublime taster of the full package that arrives on 12 September.

The pains of finding the perfect Twin

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, the four-piece from New York have been garnering praise since their album Belong, full of gorgeous melancholic indie-pop gems, was released earlier this year, but it's in Twin Shadow in whom they've found their perfect remixer. Twin Shadow, who is George Lewis Jr, has stripped back the guitars, applied the glossy synths of his hazy 1980s new wave-inspired indie-pop , and turned their track "Heart in Your Heartbreak" into the ultimate shoegazey indie disco anthem. Hear it here: tinyurl.com/3ro5gkm

Sub Pop's hip-hop bop is top cop

Last September, Shabazz Palaces became the first hip-hop act to sign to Sub Pop. The band like to keep their identities a mystery, to keep it all about the music, although we do know that they scored a documentary, Tough Bond, about kids sniffing glue to survive life in Kenya's urban slums, before releasing their forward-leaning hip-hop debut album Black Up in June. Ahead of their European tour next month, which includes a date at Madame JoJo's in London on 27 August (their sole UK date), they've posted a live performance of their latest song, "Bop Hard", part of a four-song session, on Youtube, at tinyurl.com/5r7a49b.

Baroque'n'roll is the new rock

The fifth album from Liverpool electro-pop band Ladytron arrives on 12 September, and fans have a sneak preview of some of the tracks from Gravity the Seducer at their record label Nettwerk Records' Soundcloud, at tinyurl.com/6xjjom7, including the new single "Mirage", whose layered synths and vocals are a treat. There's an alluring dark edge to their dreamy, textured tracks, and the band's songwriter and producer Daniel Hunt says the album is "more ethereal and melodic, a touch more abstract in places than we've gone before." And I like his new genre description "baroque'n'roll".

e.bray@independent.co.uk

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