Damien Rice

If you happened to see the movie Closer, then that was probably your first taste of Damien Rice; "The Blower's Daughter," from his debut O, served as the movie's ultra-depressing theme and proved even more ultra-depressing than the movie. Last year, Rice released his follow-up, 9, which was a bit more hopeful affair and, like O, featured the hypnotic, but also excessively depressing, voice of Lisa Hannigan—Rice's regular collaborator, despite the fact that their numerous duets weren't even credited to her. Maybe that's why in March Rice and Hannigan announced their professional relationship "had run its creative course." This sounds an awful lot like a nice way of saying she told the attention-hog to piss off, and it's too bad too. Watching these two vocally challenge each other onstage was a wonderfully dark but somehow beautiful affair. Without her, one has to wonder how audiences will survive Rice's shows without the benefit of, say, powerful antidepressants.