Keren Ann Nolita

The title of Keren Ann’s North American debut, Not Going Anywhere, seemed to be eerily prescient as she indeed has a new disc out as the ink is barely dries on her previous press. Splitting her time between Paris and New York — the album title is New York shorthand for North of Little Italy — there are things here that will please fans of her last work, but, luckily, there are some great changes that considerably improve upon it as well. Previously, it was an intimate affair, with Keren Ann’s striking voice and acoustic guitar, but by throwing drums, electronic flourishes and some electric guitar into the mix, Nolita just spellbinds with its hushed beauty. The quietly ambitious "Nolita” pushes the seven-minute boundary with a gorgeous arrangement of trumpets, strings and breathy samples and easily blows away anything from her last album. The true classic here though is "One Day Without,” which starts innocently enough with a lazy beat and simple piano, but then swirls with the help of a slightly fuzzy electric guitar. Leaps and bounds above the last album, Nolita moves Keren Ann beyond mere cocktail background music into something worth taking time to pore over. (Blue Note)