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Songs by relative newbies and unknowns make lasting impressions

House of Lies cover.jpg
Now in its third season, House of Lies finally has issued a soundtrack — and thanks to music supervisor (and KCRW-FM air personality) Chris Douridas, the 12 songs he’s chosen not only reflect important moments in the Showtime series but also stand alone as an eclectic-yet-still-cohesive collection.

Aside from the late Count Basie, who is represented by the Quincy Jones-penned instrumental “Belly Roll,” the soundtrack (the first release on the Capitol-connected Strange Cargo/Manhattan Records imprint) includes relatively new and still-mostly-under-the-radar artists. Outside of Basie, Gary Clark Jr. and The James Hunter Six are arguably the most seasoned and best-known names — and their contributions (Clark’s searing, tense blues number “Bright Lights” and Hunter’s understated throwback-R&B tune “Heartbreak”) can also be found on their most recent studio albums. Right behind them, accomplishment- and profile-wise, is Aloe Blacc, whose “Take Me Back” predates his hit “Wake Me Up” collaboration with Avicii by a few years and should serve as an invitation to check out Blacc’s back catalog.

What really makes the House of Lies soundtrack special is the fine music — some of it very fresh — from virtual unknowns and should-be stars. In that bunch you’ll find “This Love Is Here to Stay,” a breezy slice of blue-eyed soul by Norway singer Thomas Dybdahl (listen for it in the episode that airs March 16). The best is saved for last: the album-closer “It Always Comes Around,” by singer-songwriter Michael Kiwanuka. Written for the season finale (airing April 6), Kiwanuka’s track picks up where his excellent big-league debut album, 2012’s Home Again, left off.

— By Chris M. Junior