Jesca Hoop once belonged to us. The singer-guitarist was born in Santa Rosa, raised in Northern California, lived off the grid as a homesteader in the forests of Wyoming and Arizona, and worked for a spell as a nanny for Kathleen Brennan and her husband Tom Waits, who brought Hoop's unusual music to the attention of the rest of the planet. Her songs were so unusual, in fact -- blending Kate Bush-style art-pop with weird guitar chords and ethereal vocals -- that now Hoop belongs to the great wide world. A few years ago, she left California and moved to Manchester, England, and has since toured with Eels and collaborated with Bush's pal Peter Gabriel. Her music has evolved from the intricate, angular harmonies and sylvan baroque folk of her debut album, Kismet, to the more electric and colorfully poppy grooves percolating on last year's The House That Jack Built. — By Falling James

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