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The Mars Volta 

Noctourniquet

★ ★ ★ 1/2

Beating out both Justin Bieber and Mumford & Sons for 2011's Best New Artist Grammy, jazz vocalist/bassist Esperanza Spalding was given quite the chance to cross over to much wider success. She makes good on the opportunity with the new Radio Music Society, which opens up her already wide-ranging sound to include some poppier touches. It's hard to deny Spalding's sheer talent as performer and composer; her deft jazz-vocal workouts dance over easy grooves, often accompanied by a keen horn section. Spalding may leave behind more a breezy rush than a lasting emotional impression with this record, but it certainly sounds like she's having fun.

Worth a Listen: "City of Roses"

Noctourniquet
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