Dawn Richard, "Blackheart" (Our Dawn)
An original member of Danity Kane, R&B singer Richard left the group last year (again) after a public kerfuffle. Over the past few years, she's issued works that hinted at a wildly visionary approach to soul sonics, and she's gone even further here. A collaboration with the Los Angeles producer Noisecastle III, Richards' second studio album is thick with synth-based polyrhythms and layers of her often breathtaking voice. When delivered straight, it's solid and pitch perfect. More often, though, her voice is run through strange filters, electronically manipulating it to move from male bass to female soprano and beyond. She merges her words with Vocoders like she's rolling onto Kraftwerk's "Autobahn," hums with Giorgio Moroder-like synth throbs. The result is magnetic future funk, rife with Roland 909 tones, British drum and bass accents and much left-field surprise.
randall roberts, Los Angeles Times
Jazz thrush Diana Krall tackles the Lite-Rock Songbook on "Wallflower," her interpretations of songs by the Eagles, Jim Croce, 10cc and others. Out Tuesday but streaming at http://tinyurl.com/mgxwfbm