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    Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
    The Normal Bar: Where Does Your Relationship Fall?
    All is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost
    Gun Dealers' Daughter: A Novel: A Novel
    Crazy Rich Asians
    The Undomestic Goddess
    The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World

    Gigi's favorite books »


  • Hello Toothpaste


    For the past couple of months I've been struggling with eczema around my mouth. It's happened a few times before when I switched toothpaste and suddenly my lips -- and surrounding area -- immediately stung and burned and stayed red for days. But this time the problem simply stayed and got worse: the bottom third of my face itched like crazy then became sensitized then flaky. I tried all kinds of oils, ointments, and salves to try to soothe my skin -- to no avail. I looked like I had a red goatee. Then I saw this toothpaste at my local drugstore (where I was looking for a 1% hydrocortisone cream to offer me relief) and decided to try it. Ahhhh. I don't know what ingredient in toothpaste my skin suddenly decided to hate -- but apparently it's not in this stuff. Tastes pretty good, too!
  • Decleor Aromessence Angelique Nourishing Concentrate
    I found Decleor in the 90s at a time when eczema erupted all over my face. I needed skincare products that didn't irritate my skin, yet nourished and hydrated it. My favorite product is its Aromessence face oil; particularly this one. It's a blend of Angelica, Camomile, Geranium and Rosemary Essential Oils, and is specially formulated for dry skin. I warm up two drops in my hands, massage it over my skin and apply my moisturizer over it.
  • Tarte smolderEYES™


    Amazonian clay waterproof eye liner. I was poking around Ulta and saw this eyeliner on the display case. I swiped it on my hand -- a gorgeous golden olive shade, love at first sight! I tried to swipe it off, it wouldn't budge. So I thought: let's see how long this stays put on my hand. Well, it didn't smudge although it faded slightly, and at the end of the day the I could still see the blackened olive with flecks of gold swatch. Sold! I rimmed it around my eyes today; it was warm and humid and so I thought it would melt or rub off. Wrong -- it's now midnight and after a full day of work and play and sweat, it's still as fresh-looking as when I applied it. Unbelievable.
  • John Frieda Precision Foam Color


    The last time I colored my own hair was in the late 80s, I think. I did such a poor job (understatement alert!) that the next morning at work my co-worker said it looked like I had a hole in the back of my head. But now that I'm on a budget, and especially now that the grays seem to reappear every month or so, DIY hair color is a necessity so I don't end up in the poorhouse. The step-by-step video looked so easy that I decided to take the plunge. Instant love! Applying the product was easy-peasy, the color is gorgeous, and there's no hole in the back of my head.
  • Redken Shine Flash 02 Glistening Mist


    Once in a while I discover that I needed something even if I wasn't looking for it; this shine spray was a lovely surprise indeed. I received a sample size a while ago and absentmindedly stuck it in one of my bathroom drawers. Finally, I saw it one night and decided to give it a spritz before stepping out. AH-mazing! It goes on really lightly -- doesn't weigh down my hair at all -- and smells great. When this sample of mine runs out (which should be soon) I'm buying the biggest can it comes in.
  • Organix Brazilian Keratin Therapy Shampoo


    I ran out of shampoo and, on a strict budget these days, went off to my local drugstore in search of something new to try (note: I'm a Kerastase gal). I read ingredient labels and sniffed my way down the aisle; in the end I decided to give Organix hair products a go. It turns out there are 16 different lines, but my store carries less than half of them. I picked the Brazilian Keratin Therapy shampoo and conditioner because I liked the ingredients (organic cocoa nut oils, keratin proteins, avocado oil, and cocoa butter) and its delicious scent. All Organix hair products are sulfate-free, but this line is also devoid of sodium chloride and is formulated for wavy/curly tresses. Still a bit apprehensive, I kept my receipt just in case I didn't like it. Turns out I absolutely love it! It feels more luxurious than I imagined, smells heavenly, and made my hair shiny without any added weight. I've since thrown my receipt away.
  • Vanessa Dimoff Jewelry


    Sometimes words completely fail me, and all I can do is to rely on pictures to tell a story. Among Dimoff's current collections my favorite is "Bark," which is textural and raw like its namesake. Her El Cenote cuff (topmost) is made of quartz and sterling silver. And I can't stop thinking of this Corteza yellow brass dual ring, below.


  • Lade Grey Jewelry



    Lady Grey is Jill Martinelli and Sabine Le Guyader; I've been a fan of their sculptural, statement-making handmade pieces for some time. Like this ring here -- I'd wear this every day and spend time reflecting on it whilst daydreaming.


    This line's dark aesthetic inspires me so much that I've taken to following their blog as well, to gather insight on the journey of their creative evolution. The pair describes Lady Grey as "sinister, mystical, curious." I'm on board, all in for the ride.
  • Erica Weiner Natural Unpolished Diamond Ring


    Found this via Daily Candy today. This is crazy talk, I know, but I don't fancy "fine jewelry." I can walk by Bulgari, Tiffany, and their ilk and not feel tempted to stop in and browse around. But what I'm really nuts about are pieces that are a bit rough around the edges, feel organic, and/or are sculptural. Especially the ones that look like they were actually made by somebody. This one made me salivate, to the point that I'm looking like a crazy person right now. That's how much I love this. PS: If you want to propose to me and need a ring to do it, this is what you need to be looking at.
  • Make Up For Ever HD Microperfecting Primer


    While I was in Manila earlier this year I completed a professional makeup artistry course using Make Up For Ever products exclusively. One of my favorite products was this line of primers, which comes in one transparent and six color correcting shades. All you need is a dime size of the product to apply all over the face. It glides on easily and feels light and nourishing while helping foundation stay put all day. After holding up in hot and humid tropical weather, I know it won't wither in this northern hemisphere summer.
  • MAC Fix+


    I admit I was skeptical for a while: spend all that cash for scented WATER? But now I'm a believer. I always carry it in my kit -- I use it to set my makeup, moisten my face before applying moisturizer, dampen my sponge (if I'm not near a sink or another water source), and mix with eyeshadow to apply it wet. In a pinch I even use it to spritz my hair when I need to blast it with the hairdryer for a night out. And, yes, it smells absolutely lovely, too.


    I normally don't give shout-outs to websites in this column -- but I'll make an exception now. I love browsing through Moxsie's many shops -- but better yet, I'm a fan of their customer service. I've purchased a few items, and have never been disappointed (knock on wood); for instance, Bensimon sneakers and one of my favorite casual jewelry lines right now, Potluck Paris. I've been eyeing Urbanears headphones and cruelty-free Deux Lux faux leather bags. Just for starters. After all, it seems like they're adding something fun and new every day.
  • Shiseido Perfect Rouge Sheer Lip Color in Natural Red


    The dramatic red lip has been all the rage for the past few seasons, and especially for this Fall. There's only one problem: I don't do red. I mean, given my coloring I ought to wear it well, but I shy away from it. When I wear red lipstick, for instance, I look like Betty Boop; my face screams "Look at my lips!" I guess what I'm saying is that if you wear red, you've got to want the attention you'll inevitably get. Still, I've been wanting to break out of my neutral zone for a while, change it up, and go outside my comfort zone -- and so I've been looking for the perfect red I can wear. A beginner's red, so to speak. And I've found it -- this is a natural, sheer red that I think anyone can wear. I mean, if I can wear it, anyone can.
  • Clarins Instant Blush Magic Colour


    I admit I've been skeptical about all those "self-adjusting color" makeup products out there; I've simply tried too many that turned out to be nothing more than mere marketing gimmicks. But this -- this I like. After I smooth on my tinted moisturizer or foundation, I lightly dab this lightweight pink gel on the apples of my cheeks. Within a few minutes I've got that dewy, rosy glow that hints of health and -- dare I say it? -- youth. I sure hope Clarins continues to keep this in their product line; it's going to be a staple in my kit.
  • NARS Orgasm Illuminator
    Not another Orgasm product, I thought. I mean, really. But I tried it out, was instantly won over, and purchased a tube. I mix a bit of it with my tinted moisturizer or foundation and my skin instantly has a healthy glow, illuminated without sparkles or obvious shimmer. This product is flying out the door -- and not just because of its famous name alone.
  • Sonia Kashuk "Straight From Nature" Eye Brush Set
    I love makeup brush- es; to me they're a worthwhile investment. I've spent the equivalent of a nice pair of shoes on a Shu Uemura brush and called it a day. But I also have Sonia Kashuk brushes that I happen to really like and use quite often. Now these -- I love. Same good quality brushes but with a real bamboo handle (according to the literature, the handle for each piece is cut directly from a bamboo stalk).Gorgeous! And for $19.99 for a three-piece set, practically a steal.
  • Revlon ColorBurst Lipstick
    REvloncblipDeveloped by famous makeup artist Gucci Westman, this line of 20 colors really delivers what it claims! Moisturing but featherweight light, it also offers a burst of intense color with each swipe. I'm hooked.
  • Roberto di Castro Coral Necklace
    Coralneck"I can definitely see this on you," my friend Charmaine said after I declared how much I love this piece. I simply can't resist sculptural pieces, especially when they're also this delicate. Now if only my friend's vision turns into reality, I'll be extremely happy.
  • Fallon Christian Split Choker
    FallonThis one made me smile; it so perfectly reflects my split sartorial personality. Most of me is drawn to the dark, stark side, but once in a while I need a huge burst of color to feel energized. This necklace is a true people-pleaser: in my case, it pleases both the persons that I am.
  • Rick Owens
    RickowensIf I could, I would live wearing Rick Owens every day. I've been a fan of his aesthetic for so many years now; part of me has wondered when I'd stop lusting over his wonderfully twisted, distressed, asymmetrical, architectural pieces. It hasn't happened yet, and can't imagine I will. I even find myself buying pieces made by all the copycats. He describes his own designs thusly: "It is sweet but kind of creepy. It's about giving everything I make a worn, softened feeling. It's about an elegance being tinged with a bit of the barbaric, the sloppiness of something dragging and the luxury of not caring." He's been called the "Minimalist Goth" -- which in a nutshell explains precisely why I love his clothes.
  • Mulberry "Antony" Messenger Bag
    AntonyIf there's an It bag out there, then I don't want it. I just don't see the point of buying something that's so ubiquitous and so expensive, that everyone can point to a few months later and say "Oh that's so Spring 2010!" I can appreciate a beautifully-designed and made bag but the truth is I find carrying one a bother. Which is why, I suppose, I end up reaching for a messenger bag when I do need to get about town with my essentials intact. This one I particularly like: it's not too big so that I can get mistaken for a postal carrier, but not so small that it's, well, useless. Plus it's designed so it lays flat against the body and makes it difficult for anyone to try to snatch it from me. Sigh, I've been living in the city for way too long...
  • Cover Girl Simply Ageless Corrector
    CovGirlSAcorrectorConfession: I REALLY wanted to love the foundation. It just seemed like a genius idea, tailored to someone with my skin concerns -- but I hated it. It sat on my face like a mask and made my skin feel tight and dry. And so I returned it to the drugstore the next day. But this, this I like. I don't know what possessed me to buy it when I hated the star of the collection -- perhaps it was because Stacy mentioned my dark circles earlier that day. Anyway, next morning, after too-little sleep (as usual) I smoothed it on and voila! I noticed that my eyes looked brighter immediately. I patted on just a wee bit of concealer and dabbed a bit of brightening cream at the edges, and I looked like I had three hours more sleep. This one's a keeper.
  • Kaylee Tankus
    KayleetankusMaybe it stems from my early love affair with Japanese designers in the 80s, but my fashion aesthetic has always leaned toward those with an architectural, modern point of view. The problem is that I normally can't afford the clothes I fall in love with -- or at least I couldn't. Lately I've been discovering up-and-coming designers and brands, usually from Northern Europe and East Asia, who are offering women like me with more options. Perhaps they are not truly affordable options like fast fashion from the likes of H&M or Zara, but at least I don't have to admire them from afar. The Korean brand Kaylee Tankus was founded in 2004 but was reenergized in 2008 with a brand-new designer, New York-trained Minjee Kim. Prices range from $100 to $600 and although still hard to find, especially here in California, I'm beginning to find more online stockists. Maybe I can start dressing the way I really want to look from now on.
  • Stitch's Jeans
    Stitch's_totemThanks to the plethora of fits and washes out there today, I have now become what I thought I'd never be: a jeans and tee kind of gal (well, sort of). There are so many brands out there in the market that I find two things happening to me in my eternal quest for the best-fitting jeans for myself. One: I can't keep up with trying everything available out there currently; and Two, sometimes I'd think that if it weren't for the label sewn on each pair I own, I wouldn't be able to tell one from another. One notable exception to No. 2 is this brand, however. It just sticks out among the tall stacks of jeans in my closet. I picked up this pair recently and it fit like a well-worn glove the moment I pulled it over my hips; not bad for a pair of skinny jeans. Quick triva: Stitch's denim is aged in redwood barrels at an old laundry facility, built in 1948, in Evansville WY and they use real brass buttons and fittings.
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Connie Corley

This is beautiful and I also heard many wonderful things about my father who passed away just a month before yours. I am a friend of Joni's in LA and can see her beauty is part of the larger family's wonderful presence. Blessings and healing energy to you all. Connie in SoCal

Kaye B. Nuguid

Hi gigi, am a cousin on the pascual side, i was at the necrological service, thank God tito jun extended the invite. I love your speech n i thank God i went and get to know a great man, architect n father. I am specially affectionate to tita ampy who died same month as my mom. Must be hard for you & your sisters, our condolences. Was not able to approach you but rest assured you have a family in manila that is us. Prayers to their soul and to you & your sisters.

Isabelita Poe

Just read your eulogy. So candid and touching. I was happy reading about those little facets of your dad which i would not have known. Kudos to a loving daughter! Tito Joe was a great admirer. Also Cesar!

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  • Foreign Exchange - Leave It All Behind

    Leave It All Behind
    Foreign Exchange: Dear Friends: An Evening With The Foreign Exchange

    From one of my favorite albums of 2011. Each song is a gem, but I always go back to this one. 10/31/12

  • Rahsaan Patterson - 6 AM

    6 AM
    Rahsaan Patterson: Bleuphoria

    When you've been up all night and it's now 6 AM and you haven't slept and figure you'll just need to stay awake, you'd like to listen to something with a smooth groove, something that won't grate on your tired mind and worn-out body. Like this. 8/10/11

  • George Michael - It Doesn't Really Matter

    It Doesn't Really Matter
    George Michael: Older

    I'd forgotten about this album, probably because it was not one of Michael's popular ones. This tune is one of my few favorites from here: it heartbreakingly evokes dismissive regret, something I can closely relate to. There are a few times I've loved and lost, looked back and thought, "Well, it really doesn't matter; it's over now" -- even when I know it does. To listen, click here. 7/31/11

  • Kindred The Family Soul - You Got Love (Feat. Snoop Dog)

    You Got Love (Feat. Snoop Dog)
    Kindred The Family Soul: Love Has No Recession

    There's something about Fatin Dantzler and Aja Graydon, the married couple who comprise Kindred, that makes one believe in everlasting love, tenacious commitment, and steadfast unity in the face of the worst adversity. You know, all the things that we want from marriage. The title of this, their fourth album, says nothing's changed. The future may not always look so bright these days, but love always brings a bit of light into our lives. Click here to listen. 7/30/11

  • Jenna Nicholls - All the While

    All the While
    Jenna Nicholls: The Blooming Hour

    I've been lugging around her original version on my iPod for a while and was happy to know she released a newer, better version in May, along with updates of her other tunes. Singer/songwriter Nicholls charms with her sweet blend of folk/pop, which on some days is just the warm embrace we all need.

  • Dum Dum Girls - There is a Light That Never Goes Out

    There is a Light That Never Goes Out
    Dum Dum Girls: He Gets Me High

    Many of those who know me know that the Smith's classic is one of my top love songs of all time. It might not even have been intended as such, but I find refuge in the thought that you can find home in someone when you don't really have any. This cover is an upbeat version by the Dum Dum Girls -- and it's a fun update.

  • Adele - Lovesong

    Adele: 21

    I'd been tapping my fingers waiting for this album to be released -- and I wasn't disappointed when it finally did. Although there are better songs than this one, this classic Cure cover hit just the right spot while I was mulling over life and love in Manila. Adele's voice has the power to break your heart, yet give you the strength to stand up and keep moving.

  • Nina Vidal - Driving

    Nina Vidal: Nina Vidal

    Someone needs to explain to me why she's HUGE in Japan but not nearly as well known Stateside. I just don't get it. I've scoured the internet and have purchased every song of hers I can get in the meantime and am anticipating the release of her latest album "Love, Pop & Soul - The Cover Sessions," which will be available here in August. If you haven't heard her sing, you must visit her site:

  • Luciana Souza - Love Is For Strangers

    Love Is For Strangers
    Luciana Souza: The New Bossa Nova

    My friend Rick and I share our musical discoveries with each other all the time. Once in a while, our wild enthusiasm meets at the same level -- and then I know we're on to something. This tune -- penned by Souza's husband and producer Larry Klein and Steely Dan's Walter Becker -- made him stay up quite late on a night he had planned to tuck in early. You might want to learn more about Souza here on her site. If you get a chance listen to her live set on You might find yourself staying up late, too.

  • Oren Lavie - Trouble Don't Rhyme

    Trouble Don't Rhyme
    Oren Lavie: The Opposite Side of the Sea

    I confess, I don't know much about Oren Lavie -- yet. I first came across his name -- like millions did -- via his brilliant Her Morning Elegance music video, which was nominated for a Grammy in the "Best Short Form Music Video" category. Lavie falls squarely in the singer/songwriter category -- if one is so inclined to peg his music into a genre -- sure to appeal to fans of Nick Drake, Joshua Radin, and the like. Check out this amazing new talent here.

  • Ella Fitzgerald - This Girl's In Love With You

    This Girl's In Love With You
    Ella Fitzgerald: Sunshine of Your Love

    This is one of my all-time favorite songs, sung by one of my all-time favorite singers. Seriously, it doesn't get better than this.

  • Dido - Never Want To Say It's Love

    Never Want To Say It's Love
    Dido: Safe Trip Home

    I instantly connected to this song the first time I heard it last year because the words are exactly what I would think if I, well, you know. Am sort of the girl who says "I miss you -- and I really hate that."

  • Frou Frou - Must Be Dreaming

    Must Be Dreaming
    Frou Frou: Details

    Imogen Heap of Frou Frou sings like she's perpetually in a dream-like state -- and that's always the place where she takes me. And when she sings about falling in love, she takes me where falling is like dreaming: doesn't quite feel real, but it's just too wonderful to ever want to wake up. "I must be dreaming for I don’t fall in love long...I must be dreaming, oh. Pinch me to waking. So one day I might be yours. As long as I’m losing it so completely…"

  • Neko Case - This Tornado Loves You

    This Tornado Loves You
    Neko Case: Middle Cyclone

    I love this woman's voice -- it's a force of nature, which is why I can't think of anyone else who can sing this song, which opens the album, the way she does. When she sings I imagine I'm the tornado that sweeps through everything in its path in search of my beloved. Neko Case can bring me anywhere she wants to go.

  • Stars - Your Ex-Lover Is Dead

    Your Ex-Lover Is Dead
    Stars: Set Yourself on Fire

    There are songs that grow on me, they don't give me that immediate pow to the gut or heart. Usually these songs appeal more to my head: with each listen I finally get its deeper meaning and how it connects to my life. This is one of those songs. Some people enter your life only to leave it -- and that's all it is: "There's one thing I have to say so I'll be brave. You were what I wanted, I gave what I gave. I'm not sorry I met you, I'm not sorry it's over. I'm not sorry there's nothing to save."

  • Me'Shell NdegeOcello - Love You Down

    Love You Down
    Me'Shell NdegeOcello: Devil's Halo

    A great cover, to me, is one that interprets the original in a thoroughly fresh way without insulting it. NdegeOcello does exactly that with her version of Ready for the World's 80's hit "Love You Down." Pounding with sultry, sensual beats and trailing off with a shimmering guitar coda, this makes you wonder if NdegeOcello wasn't possessed by Prince during recording. Now if someone could only do the same for "Oh Sheila."

  • Diane Birch - Nothing But A Miracle

    Nothing But A Miracle
    Diane Birch: Bible Belt

    One listen to this tune, Diane Birch's first single off her debut album, and I knew she wasn't going to fade into obscurity as fast as she'd appeared. Her voice is the sound of one who has lived long enough to last several lifetimes -- and yet she's only in her early '20s. In a way she has, however, when you consider that she'd spent nearly half her life traveling the globe thanks to her father, a pastor who moved his family from one continent to another until she was back in the US where she was born. Birch, a self-described "old soul" wasn't exposed to pop culture until she was already 13 -- and then immersed herself immediately in all genres of music. Which is why this album is rich with varied styles and influences -- gospel, country, and '70s pop, for instance. But going back to that voice: well, you'll just have to hear it.

  • Pretty Wings
    MAXWELL: BLACKsummers' night
    MaxwellFirst in a trilogy, and finally arriving on July 7th is Maxwell’s long-awaited (if eight years isn’t long enough) album BLACKsummers’ Night! The first single “Pretty Wings” has received so much enthusiastic buzz that if it’s any indication of what the album is going to be like, I can’t wait any longer. It definitely adds to the rumor that we can expect more vintage Maxwell. And that’s a good thing.
  • Musiq Soulchild - Deserveumore

    Musiq Soulchild: OnMyRadio

    There’s no mistaking Musiq Soulchild for anyone else. This R&B artist bares his soul, wears his heart on his sleeve, each and every time he creates his lush, layered melodies and poetic, earnest lyrics. If you like Maxwell, you may dig this dude, too. If not, well give him a listen anyway.

  • Maysa - Walk Away

    Walk Away
    Maysa: Metamorphosis

    Has there been a Maysa album that I haven't yet listed on my Soundtrack sidebar? I don't think so. This is her seventh release, which again is in her classic jazz/contemporary jazz/R&B/soul style that she is famous for, but is certainly not predictable or boring in any way. "My vision for this album," Maysa notes, "was to change the music a little bit to be in line with the way I feel spiritually and emotionally. On a couple of my previous albums I was playing it a little too safe. I'm not afraid to express myself now!"

  • Liv Warfield - Get Away

    Get Away
    Liv Warfield: Embrace Me

    Funny how I still keep rediscovering tunes and albums I once used to listen to over and over again. This is one of them. Portland-based Warfield's debut album, "Embrace Me," which was released in 2006, is "all about acceptance and not being afraid to spread your wings to soar to the next level." Oftentimes compared to Sade, Warfield's voice has a sultry fullness that lends well to her songs that blend R&B and neo-soul. I'm hoping she gets the general recognition that she deserves -- and which has seemed to elude her still. To listen, click on her site here.

  • Jazzanova - Rockin' You Eternally

    Rockin' You Eternally
    Jazzanova: Of All the Things

    Ever since it became possible for me to buy only tunes I love, I've been buying fewer cds. But this one I HAD to have in hand -- it's the kind I can listen to from beginning to end and not sense a dull moment. Each blends into the next without sounding repetitive; in fact just the opposite occurs. "Our music can take listeners on a journey," says Alexander Barck, one of the six members of this German Berlin-based DJ/producer collective. And just like coming back from a journey, this made me wish it could never end.

  • DIANNE REEVES - Lovin' You

    Lovin' You
    DIANNE REEVES: When You Know

    This song has been covered over and over again -- and I've probably heard them all. And although no one can sing it quite like Minnie Riperton can, Dianne Reeves finally gives it the justice it deserves -- jazzed up and more uptempo, and evocative of the kind of love you want to sing to the sky about. Listen by clicking on the orange BOX above.

  • THE SMITHS - There is a Light That Never Goes Out

    There is a Light That Never Goes Out
    THE SMITHS: The Queen Is Dead

    I mentioned somewhere in my Facebook page recently that this mid-80s tune is one of my all-time favorite love songs -- and people thought I was kidding. OK, so the most obviously romantic stanza might start with "And if a double-decker bus crashes into us. To die by your side is such a heavenly way to die." But anyone who has ever felt alone and misunderstood, but was comforted by knowing that someone felt like home, then you'd understand why I was completely serious.

  • THE DUKE SPIRIT - The Step and the Walk

    The Step and the Walk
    THE DUKE SPIRIT: Neptune

    If anyone's been paying attention to my recent playlist it would be obvious this album's been on constant rotation on my iTunes. I love its '60s rock vibe, killer guitars, pounding drums and especially lead singer Leila Moss' cool, confident vocals. The first time I heard Moss reminded me of the first time I heard Debbie Harry over the radio -- it was like listening to an enticing sneer.

  • KATIE MELUA - Just Like Heaven

    Just Like Heaven
    KATIE MELUA: Piece by Piece

    This late-80s song by British alt-rock band The Cure always made me melt with its tenderness. When I heard singer/songwriter Katie Melua's 2005 version I was a soppy mess on the floor. When she sings: ""Show me how you do that trick, the one that makes me scream" (h)e said. "The one that makes me laugh" (he) said. And threw (his) arms around my neck. "Show me how you do it and I promise you I promise that I'll run away with you. I'll run away with you." You believe she will. Gladly.

  • YEAH YEAH YEAHS - Y Control

    Y Control
    YEAH YEAH YEAHS: Fever to Tell

    This tune is more than five years old, yet when it plays on my iPod while I'm running on the treadmill I'm in constant danger of falling off due to intense head bobbing. When Karen O sings, I want to be her: she's just too cool.

  • INCOGNITO - When Words Are Just Words

    When Words Are Just Words
    INCOGNITO: Tales from the Beach

    This is not your typical "tropical paradise" beach type of music, as the album title might suggest. Here's how Jean-Paul "Bluey" Maunick explains his inspiration for the group's most recent release: '""When I was a kid, my first taste of music came from the beaches of Mauritius," he says. "I spent a lot of time listening to the hotel bands, or the bands playing around the bonfires and cookouts. It's a small island, so there were beaches everywhere. I was always watching live musicians play. So for inspiration for this album, I went back to various beaches around the world - in Italy, Indonesia and elsewhere - and just let the music flow." And it sure does here, in Incognito's groovy blend of retro soul, funk, jazz, and dance. As always, the vocal power here amazes. Not only does Maysa grace us with her presence on four tracks, but Joy Rose, Tony Momrelle, and Imaani remind us why Incognito continues to remain such a powerful, inspirational force after all these years.

  • All Good Things
    THE WEEPIES: Hideaway


    The Weepies, comprised of husband-and-wife Deb Talan and Steve Tannen, have been quite busy since their debut album came out in 2006 -- creating, playing, working with other artists, touring and getting married. I'm a fan of this folk duo's honest, touching music and lyrics, which can talk about pain and longing without dragging you down. When I first heard the song "All Good Things" it sounded familiar and I quickly realized I'd heard the Mandy Moore version first; I then discovered they had worked on her album. No diss to Mandy, but I like this version much, much better. I have a feeling you would, too.
  • Your Song
    LOVE PSYCHEDELICO: This Is Love Psychedelico


    This is Love Psychedelico's (or more affectionately known to fans as Delico) first release outside of Asia -- and it's about time. The duo -- singer Kumi and guitarist Naoki -- formed the band about a decade ago and have been singing about love and peace ever since. Their music, a blend of '60s British Invasion and classic '70s rock, combined with mad Japanese-English lyrics, is cool, catchy, and highly infectious. I can't seem to get enough of them. To listen, click here.
  • Breathe
    LALAH HATHAWAY: Self Portrait


    This is Lalah Hath- away's fifth album, but only the third that I've heard. From what I can hear for myself, this is her best yet. So many of the tracks here are strong and can stand alone -- in fact, rather than download each and every one, I went ahead and bought the entire CD. Nowadays, I do that only when I believe in the entire package, not just some of its parts. Donny's little girl must be making her dad proud: she may have inherited his velvet voice, but she has a style all her own -- and she only gets better, trust me on this. The first track "Let Go" has been attracting lots of positive buzz, but I can't stop listening to the next song, "Breathe." It makes me do just that.
  • Pump
    The B-52s: Funplex


    Has it really been 16 years since their last studio album (and almost 30 years since I was both stunned and seduced by "Rock Lobster")? I love the B-52s so much that I was almost equally thrilled and scared to hear they were coming out with a new album this Spring. Thrilled for obvious reasons; scared because I didn't know if they could still be relevant (they are in their '50s, after all). But as soon "Pump" burst out blazing, I knew they were back. As Strickland says: "It's loud, sexy rock and roll for your pleasure zones, with the beat pumped up to hot pink." Just the way I like it.