The HillsThe soundtrack for MTV's The Hills offers 14 tracks of upbeat pop from the likes of Natasha Bedingfield, Pink, Lindsay Lohan, Good Charlotte, Imogen Heap and Garrison Star. It also includes the ‘80s classic “Walking in L.A.” from Missing Persons.

Another blast of breezy teen pop comes in the debut album from 15-year-old Jordan Pruitt, who was first heard on the Disney soundtrack to the movie Air Puppies with a cover of “We Are Family.” That track and 11 others comprise her CD, No Ordinary Girl, which has just been released by Hollywood Records. Pruitt sounds mature and confident for her years; No Ordinary Girl moves from contemplative guitar tracks like “Outside Looking In” which touches on themes of alienation that every high schooler can identify with to pure-fun funky dance-lite songs like “Jump to the Rhythm.” This will fit in easily next to Ashlee Simpson and Mandy Moore on your CD shelf. For more information, check her website at: www.jordanpruitt.com.

 

Ether Aura Ether Aura
Before We Could Sing
(Analog Terror)


Led by the ethereal vocals Kate Hinote, Ether Aura is a Detroit-based quintet that melds an intoxicating mix of dream pop and guitar rock on its second independent CD. Hinote is an exceptionally flexible vocalist, moving seamlessly from echoing, Lush-like lullabye melodies (“The Other End”) to straightup pop rock (the crunchy two-and-a-half minute gem “Twist”).

The band was formed “from the ashes” of Detroit gothic rockers Caelum Bliss and the electro-tinged Deathgirl.com by Hinote and guitarist Tony Hamera, who co-write all the songs together. Since forming in 2003, they've drawn comparisons to everyone from Garbage to Cocteau Twins, thanks to the combination of Hamera's chimey guitars and Hinote's angelic vocal delivery.

Before We Sing features 11 tracks, leading off with the full-band swagger of “White Brick Walls.” The song opens with the eerie strains of Hamera's guitar which call a stomping rhythm section to centerstage, where Hinote finally steps in to lend an airy Lush-like vocal to the mix. It's a strong and darkly entrancing opening.

That's followed with another guitar jamming gothic-tinged track on “Chemistry,” which lofts Hinote to her upper register – the dichotomy between the force of the guitars and the lightness of the voice is as if a rock band lured an angel down to the microphone.

“Tell Me That I'm Nothing” opens with jaunty guitars and a Brit-pop vibe as Hinote sings about trying to be her best while enduring ego-shattering put-downs. The sing-song “Your Favorite Song” follows, punctuated with plenty of poppy “la-la-las” as Hinote sings of dreams and love with vocal twists reminiscient of Kristy Thirsk and Harland (who've both sung with Delerium).

If you listen to Internet radio and turn on www.auralgasms.com , you'll hear Ether Aura (and Thirsk and Harland) in heavy rotation – they're some of the most exciting “dreampop” artists working today, and this album is a must-have for anyone who loves female vocalists and alternative pop bands.

Ether Aura manages the rare trick of combining a big rock band instrumental sound with vocals from the realm of dreams. It's a beautiful thing. Before We Sing is a little piece of rock heaven.

To hear samples and learn more about the band, visit www.etheraura.com.