Artist Of The Week: Kate Nash

Lily Allen. There, we said it. Now, can we move on to Kate Nash instead of spending lots of time comparing her to another female singer/songwriter with a British accent who recently broke through the clutter? While the comparisons are meant to be flattering and not taken as offensive (she and Allen are fans of one another and pals, to boot), Nash deserves the same chance that Lily had to stand on her own without being compared to Kate.

So, who is Kate Nash? If you don’t already know her, she’s no one short of your first favorite new artist of the New Year, that’s who. Her debut album, Made of Bricks, has won her gobs of praise in the U.K., and it’s officially coming out here in the U.S. this week (Tuesday, Jan. 8, to be precise). The disc is filled with songs that are as straightforward and blunt as you can ask for, but delivered with a charming sung/spoken vocal that is instantly enrapturing.

But it’s not until you’re hooked on the obvious traits of her songs like “Foundations” that you start to absorb the subtleties of her songwriting. And appreciate them you will. As she details a relationship falling apart, her “fingertips are holding on to the cracks in our foundation,” and she admits she knows she “can’t let go,” even though she knows she should, her vulnerability is seductive and beguiling. And when she recalls a lover’s spat, her spiteful wit is all too sharp and stinging, especially if you’ve been through it yourself.

And the holidays may be over, but Kate’s cover of The Waitress’ “Christmas Wrapping” that’s presently on her MySpace page is a loveable shamble that shouldn’t be missed.

With the North American arrival of Made of Bricks, Nash is skipping over the pond to our shores for a few shows. For now, she’s only playing Toronto, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. But you can be sure she’ll be back after her stint on the Big Day Out festival tour of Australia and New Zealand and a string of dates in Ireland and the U.K. that run into early March. You’ll need that much time to soak yourself in the wonders of the album anyway, so don’t get too bent out of shape about it, mmmkay?