This outta-nowhere gem might have stayed in the mines had it not been pimped by one of the better music blogs out there, Womenfolk (www.womenfolk.net). The site offered a single tune from the disc--a lovely, catchy, haunting cover of Modest Mouse's "Third Planet From the Sun"--but helpfully mentioned the entire disc was available from Gabi's Web site, www.mkay.org/gabi. And sure enough, all 10 tunes are there to be right-clicked and saved to your hard drive, like some belated Christmas gift from a friend you didn't know you had. Why she's giving it away is no mystery--the entire disc's made up of covers, for which she'd have to pay dearly for clearance--but Gabi, a Brazilian presumably living in Los Angeles, don't respond to no e-mails, bro, which only ups the interest.
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The music--a singer and an acoustic guitar and a few supplemental noises tossed in to give the appearance of being slightly more than less--says enough. Hers is the soundtrack of the tasteful fan who makes music because she has to. The voice is dry, but also slightly damp with the enthusiasm and passion of the performer who aches to be heard by someone. She was bound to gather rock-crit adoration--covering beloved obscurities by R.E.M., Wilco, Golden Smog, Elvis Costello and Victoria Williams will always win you a heap of ink-stained kisses--but deserves wider acknowledgment and acclaim than from Web-surfing cheapskates. Choice cuts: Costello's "Bedlam," in which she replaces the autumnal sneer with a summertime smile; Golden Smog's "Radio King," treated as a love song to a million love songs; and Pato Fu's "Saudade," stripped of its late-night dance-club groove till it sounds like an early-morning lullaby.