She & Him

She & Him

More than just a movie-star vanity project, She & Him have made a serious impact on the indie-pop landscape with two acclaimed albums in two years. Actress Zooey Deschanel (She) had starred in flicks like Almost Famous and Elf when she hooked up with M. Ward (Him), a Portland-based songwriter with a run of critically acclaimed of folk albums, to record a cover of Richard and Linda Thompson’s “When I Get to the Border” to be included on the soundtrack of The Go-Getter, a movie she was starring in. Deschanel revealed to Ward that she had been writing songs in secret; Ward asked to hear her tunes, and after Deschanel sent him some demos he asked to produce her album. Deschanel agreed, and She & Him was born.

She & Him released their debut, Volume One, in March 2008. The album featured a strong set of country-pop heavily influenced by 1970s AM radio, with Deschanel’s syrupy alto out in front of a vintage-sounding, Ward-directed accompaniment. The record might have been considered painfully cute were the songs not so expertly crafted. Even the album’s covers -- Smokey Robinson’s “You Really Got a Hold On Me” and relatively obscure Beatles number “I Should Have Known Better” -- managed to sound fresh. She & Him toured through the summer of 2008. In December, Paste Magazine named Volume One its album of the year.

Volume Two came out in March 2010 to similar acclaim. The sound was bigger and lusher, but the songs were just as tight. Deschanel and M. Ward took the band back out on the road for the summer and insisted in interviews that the band was in it for the long haul, and that a Volume Three was on the horizon. ~Wilson McBee

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