Critic’s Notebook: Sky Ferreira, Gyptian, GEMS, Laraaji


Sky Ferreira performs at Virgin Mobile Free Fest. (Photo by Josh Sisk/FTWP)

Notable recordings from the world of pop music.

Sky Ferreira

Lately, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga have all been making pop music that frequently tries to be weird. Sky Ferreira makes weird music that frequently tries to be pop.

There’s a fog of stylish detachment hanging over the 21-year-old’s debut album,  “Night Time, My Time,” but when a surging chorus backs Ferreira into a corner, her voice blooms with the emotive desperation of a late-’80s one-hitter — a Martika or a Jane Child. Which means you could be singing “Nobody Asked Me (If I Was Okay)” at karaoke in 2035. Start practicing now.

Gyptian

No false advertising here — Gyptian’s latest, “Sex, Love and Reggae,” delivers on all three fronts, proving that he has the most versatile purr in the genre. From the bubble-gummy title track to his cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors,” the world is his bedroom.

GEMS

This D.C. duo continues to tiptoe toward Best Band in Town status with its new four-song EP, “Medusa,” borrowing heavily from the Cocteau Twins but softly nudging into an emotive sweet-and-sour spot all its own.

Laraaji

Brian Eno’s All Saints record label recently released a clutch of recordings from one of the superstar producer’s most interesting collaborators: a stand-up comic turned zither maestro. Most of Laraaji’s music is mesmerizing. All of it is interesting. His 1987 brain-soother, “Essence/Universe,” “Essence/Universe,” radiates like a mandala, while his 1995 left-field electro disc, “The Way Out Is the Way In,” twitches like a Keith Haring painting.

GEMS performs at U Street Music Hall on Thursday. Sky Ferreira performs at the 9:30 Club on Nov. 18.

Chris Richards became the Post's pop music critic in 2009. He has covered D.I.Y. house shows, White House concerts, go-go and Gaga.
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Peter Marks · November 11, 2013