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Remember last June? Liz Phair was getting in touch with her inner Avril. And Jewel was unleashing the Kylie within. If the Alaskan folkieís surprise electro-pop hit "Intuition" seems to have been either forgotten or forgiven, that might be because sheís been sticking to solo-acoustic shows since the sudden death (from a brain aneurysm) last fall of her touring bassist, Terome Hannon. No surprise, then, that as Rolling Stone reports, sheís working on a "lo-fi" follow-up. The neon synths of last yearís 0304 (Atlantic) will be absent again when her latest solo tour hits Lowell Memorial Auditorium (978-454-2299) on Sunday.

A former backing singer for Rob Zombie and David Bowie, Emm Gryner hit upon the perfect ratio of coffeehouse folk to pop polish on last yearís Asianblue (on her own Dead Daisy imprint). Following up her covers album Girl Versions (which included a wrenching version of Fugaziís "Waiting Room"), Grynerís singer-songwriterly piano ballads balance Top 40 sheen with indie heart. Michelle Branch, take notice. Gryner is at Club Passim in Cambridge tonight (May 6) and at AS220 (401-831-9327) in Providence on Saturday.

We preferred Grynerís Girl Versions to Tori Amosís Strange Little Girls, but we dug the way each took its shot at restocking the Great American Songbook. Yet another pianist is on her way down the pike with similar intentions. Charlotte Martin has opera-trained pipes that make her sound like a brassier Kate Bush. Her RCA debut, On Your Shore, is due this summer, and though sheís yet to shed her starched Broadway affectations, that hasnít stopped her from including dorm-room faves like Soundgardenís "Black Hole Sun," U2ís "I Still Havenít Found What Iím Looking For," Peter Gabrielís "In Your Eyes," and the Cureís "Just like Heaven," alongside Jerome Kern & Oscar Hammerstein IIís "Olí Man River" in her repertoire. Martinís own tunes are somewhat less remarkable, though her first-person stalker tune "Iím Normal, Please Date Me" makes a nice iPod segue into the Dresden Dollsí "Missed Me." This good but not great Charlotte plays the Paradise (617-423-NEXT) in Boston on Wednesday, where sheís opening for the Norwegian indie-pop wunderkind Sondre Lerche. The 21-year-old singer-songwriter is touring behind his superb Two Way Monologue (Astralwerks), an album of endearingly romantic tunes cut from the cloth of Bacharach-like sophistication and Beach BoysĖish whimsy.

Meanwhile, the pianist Christopher OíRiley does his part to add Radiohead to the classical repertoire, playing his inscrutable transcriptions of "Karma Police," "Everything in Its Right Place," and other tunes (see last yearís True Love Waits: OíRiley Plays Radiohead, on Sony/Odyssey) at the Iron Horse (413-584-0610) in Northampton on Friday; heíll also host a Mothersí Day taping of his acclaimed NPR radio show From the Top on Sunday at Jordan Hall (617-585-1260) in Boston. And Stephin Merritt, the Cole Porter of his generation, brings Magnetic Fields to Northamptonís Calvin Theater (413-584-0610) on Friday to celebrate the release of the bandís new i (Nonesuch).

BY CARLY CARIOLI

Issue Date: May 7 - 13, 2004
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