Melody Gardot, "Currency of Man" (Decca)

Gardot's music is informed by a range of sounds, namely softer worldly flavors, jazz and hushed storytelling. Often likened to Norah Jones, her jazzy, gorgeous voice is on full display on "Currency of Man," her boldest and biggest accomplishment. In 2009, on "My One and Only Thrill," a star was born. Here, she's welcomed in more than jazz tones. She and producer Larry Klein brought in horns, R&B production, woodwinds, dramatic strings and early-folk-inspired consciousness. It's a departure, for sure. "It Gonna Come" and "Preacherman" are outstanding tracks that address racism and homelessness. Gardot spreads out with ballads, torch songs and brooding blues. "Don't Talk" ushers in funk organs and space guitars; "Don't Misunderstand" harks to '70s slow-burn funk, and "She Don't Know" employs soulful backup vocals and smoky percussion. It's a great and varied listen.

Bill Chenevert, Philadelphia Inquirer

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After he sheds his Michael Jackson mask, Mac DeMarco is playing his instruments in the ocean on the soulful slow jam "Another One."