- Sondre Lerche
Sondre Lerche possesses the type of adorable personality that makes Care Bears seem like juvenile delinquents. The Bergen, Norway native's online journal expounds on the virtues of green papaya -- "Such a good fruit when eaten at the right time and place. Great for breakfast, maybe with a bagle [sic] and cream cheese" -- with the same enthusiasm he projects in a telephone interview. ("I asked you, 'How are you?' and then you asked me, 'How are you?' and I said, 'Good, how are you?' We could go on forever!" he exclaims after some particularly circuitous repartee.)
The troubadour backs up his sparkling disposition with a knack for equally lovely songwriting. After releasing 2001's Faces Down when he was merely a doe-eyed, mop-topped 18-year-old, Lerche returned this year with Two Way Monologue. A lush and fanciful album schooled in the orchestration of the Beatles and Burt Bacharach, Monologue is incredibly poised. "I wanted to make everything a bit more intimate, something that is a bit more homogenic in a way than the Faces Down record," he explains. "Where Faces Down was all kinds of colors, this is more different shades of one color."