Review: "Benny," by Alex Winston
Liner notes: "Benny, Benny, takes my penny/Then he skins me to the bone," trills Alex Winston on her portrait of a sketchy faith healer, embedding barbed observations in a sugary pop anthem.
Behind the music: Winston, a classically trained opera singer and Detroit native, got warmed up for her debut album with a covers EP featuring songs by the Rolling Stones and Mumford & Sons. The addictive King Con depicts a variety of fringe characters, from polygamists ("Sister Wife") to rowdy Amish teens ("Run Rumspringa") to pop-culture obsessives ("Velvet Elvis").
Check it out if you like: Women who subvert shiny mainstream sounds to darker ends, such as Lily Allen, Lykke Li, and Gemma Ray.