Pleasant princess Castle

Home to Lavender Diamond, The Bird and The Bee, Great Northern & the Watson Twins!

Lavender Diamond. Lavender Diamond began as a fictitious character in singer Becky Stark’s fertile mind. What’s developed around her sunny alter ego is a group of seasoned musicians who create a folky but sophisticated backdrop for Stark’s delicately gorgeous voice. Live, the angelically featured Stark takes the stage in frothy vintage evening gowns, flashing an otherworldly smile as she delivers vocals about peace, love, heaven and sorrow. With Steve Gregoropoulos manning piano, Jeff Rosenberg on guitar and drummer (and respected visual artist) Ron Rege Jr. pounding his modest kit with soft mallets, they compose a melange nearly too beautiful to bear. (Alie Ward)

The Watson Twins. The dulcet tones of two striking 6-foot twins twine ’round your ears, and you sort of levitate toward your nearest download source (or even record shop) for their EP called Southern Manners, an elegantly dark and exquisitely melodic set of neotrad country tunes the sisters Watson have issued via their site (www.thewatson? and at their MySpace page. The critical acclaim for the EP has taken the Kentucky-born Chandra and Leigh by surprise; the ex-Slydell backup singers have been quite happy as support vocalists for ex–Rilo Kiley Jenny Lewis and others, but now they really ought to be preparing for the spotlight. (John Payne)

The Bird and The Bee. This duo — songbird Inara George and producer/instrumentalist Greg Kurstin — make delicious music. Greg (an ace session dude for Beck, Flaming Lips, Chili Peppers) lays down crisp, jazzy arrangements with the lilt of ’60s pop — think Bacharach and Beach Boys, warm brass and sleigh bells. Inara lends a teasingly poker-faced chirp to her skippin’ melodies and bittersweet lyrics (“Are you prepared for the atom bomb?/Are you prepared for my aching arms?/Are you prepared for serenity?/Are you prepared to disagree?/Are you prepared for me?”). Blue Note EP is out now; LP out next month. CD release party Jan. 23 at the Troubadour. (Greg Burk)

Great Northern. This young group of experienced hands (Rachel Stolte on vocals/keys, Ashley Dzerigian on bass, ex-Earlimart Solon Bixler on guitar/vocals/keys and Davey Latter of Stanford Prison Experiment on drums) come strolling out the gate equipped with extraordinarily mood-laden and memorable songs distinctively wrapped in a warm and fuzzy grandeur. In advance of their forthcoming gorgeous-power disc Trading Twilight for Daylight (Eenie Meenie), do yourself a favor and grok their MySpace page, where you can get a feel for their slow-burning allure. These are simple songs that pack a very direct emotional wallop, yet are fleshed out in superbly orchestrated electric and acoustic guitars, glorious vocal harmonies and dusky Mellotron-like keyboards. (John Payne)


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