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Out of This World

Jersey girl sounds nothing like Springsteen -- or anyone else on Earth.


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Singer-songwriter Nicole Atkins’ debut CD, Neptune City, pays nostalgic tribute to her New Jersey home. But the album’s 10 songs sound like they were ushered in not only from another era, but an entirely different solar system. “It’s a picture of my personality,” she says. “I’m really into David Lynch’s [soundtracks] and ’60s garage rock and psychedelic. I combined all those sounds to make my sound.”

Atkins -- a torch-song chanteuse who often rides on Radiohead’s surrealistic wavelength -- supplies Neptune City with its dreamy, lyrical soundscapes. But Franz Ferdinand’s producer Tore Johansson lathers the album with lush, ethereal strings and synths. “He wanted to make the record scary and dark,” says Atkins. “He talked my language.” The 28-year-old singer’s voice references ’50s and ’60s stylists, yet contemporaries like Fiona Apple and Rufus Wainwright also figure into her frothy mix. “The record is about coming to terms with moving back home,” she says. “I moved to North Carolina to clear my head. When I [returned] home, everything was the same there. But I was so different.” Neptune City comes out on October 30. It was originally planned for a summer release, but Atkins’ record company pushed back the date to tweak the sound a bit. Atkins says she can finally exhale: “I’m not having nervous breakdowns every day. I’m psyched.”
Thu., Oct. 18, 9 p.m., 2007

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