Genre: Dream-pop, shoegaze, indie electronica
For Fans Of: Sally Shapiro, Late Night Alumni, M83, Imogen Heap

I first discovered Caroline Lufkin back in freshman year of college. I’d heard nothing about her, except that she was the sister of J-Pop star Olivia Lukin (who I absolutely adore). Knowing only this and nothing else, I took a dive and checked out her debut album, Murmurs.

As it turns out, the two couldn’t be more different: Olivia has a full bodied voice, while Caroline all but whispers with her high-pitched coos. Olivia’s music is much darker and rock-tinged, while Caroline delivers lush, angelic dream pop. And whereas Olivia is usually depicted in heavy black make-up and gothic fashions, Caroline is pictured looking natural, frolicking amongst flowers and smiling contently. Jessica and Ashlee Simpson? Sort of, anyway.

After hearing the gentle, hazy beauty of songs like “Bicycle” and “Pink & Black,” I was immediately enamored, and Murmurs was put on constant replay–especially as I was drifting off to sleep.

Time’s since passed, and it appears Caroline is finally preparing to release the follow-up to her fantastic 2006 debut.

“Gone” is the first single from Verdugo Hills, due out on January 25.

Keeping true to the sound of her debut, “Gone” is yet another gorgeous dream-pop production. Atop twinkling piano and a simple strumming beat, “Gone” plays like a gorgeous lullaby–even if the underlying message proves much more sorrowful than its warm, sleepy sound implies. “It hurts me now, when you’re so far away / Now that you are gone,” Lufkin sadly croons throughout. (LISTEN/DOWNLOAD)

“Swimmer,” another song from Verdugo Hills which can be downloaded for free at Caroline’s record label website (and is available to stream below), is another treat. Tripping electronica beats join together with warm synthesizers and light strings to envelop Caroline’s lush, layered hums, resulting in one truly mesmerizing love letter.

If “Gone” and “Swimmer” are any indication, it sounds like Verdugo Hills–like Murmurs–will have listeners hopping on a cloud and drifting far, far away.

Verdugo Hills will be released on January 25. (iTunes)