There is almost no one we'd rather have whispering in our ears than Stars' Torquill Campbell. He and the rest of his steadily excellent Canadian band Stars have been making subdued pop beauties for well over a decade, and this year's The North
is as indelible as anything they've ever produced. It's a turn toward rhythm compared with the band's more melodious recent albums; lead track "The Theory of Relativity" is downright dance-y, though Stars is still more than capable of perfect bittersweetness — you need little more than the title of "Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It" for proof.
Extracurricular Activities: Stars' Amy Millan has a beautiful solo project, if you're a fan of the folk side of her main gig.