Lately, I've become sonically enamored of two young female vocalists, one from Toronto, the other from Akron. The 21-year-old from Toronto performs under the moniker Lights, is so skinny that the term "waif" is insufficient, and creates absolutely irresistible electro-pop. Lights has the marketing muscle of the L.A.-based Agency behind her, which probably explains why her "Last Thing On Your Mind" served as the soundtrack for the Old Navy commercial that was ubiquitous during the inaugural season of Gossip Girl. She's the artist Ashlee Simpson wishes she could be. Meanwhile, 18-year-old Jessica Lea Mayfield is the anti-Lights. Mayfield hails from a Rust Belt city in Ohio, and her connections are decidedly indie; her debut album, With Blasphemy, was produced by sometime-collaborator Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, and her languorous, understated, and often dark sound can best be described as Hope Sandoval meets Jim James meets Neko Case. My sense is that while Lights' rocket ship to the stars is nearing takeoff, Mayfield will be the one who still has a career 20 years from now.
Mon., Aug. 4, 7:30 p.m., 2008