Fresh off of contributing her songwriting talents to Mandy Moore's upcoming release "Wild Hope," raspy-voiced singer/songwriter Rachael Yamagata has finished recording the follow-up to her 2004 full-l

Fresh off of contributing her songwriting talents to Mandy Moore's upcoming release "Wild Hope," raspy-voiced singer/songwriter Rachael Yamagata has finished recording the follow-up to her 2004 full-length debut, "Happenstance" -- and she couldn't be more relieved.

"I just finished it, thank God," Yamagata tells Billboard.com. "I just turned it into the label, so it's all kind of coming together." She expects the as-yet untitled album to be released in late April/early May on RCA.

Whereas "Happenstance" was much more piano-based, the forthcoming release finds Yamagata exploring new ground. "It's definitely an evolution from where I was before," she explains. "Half of it is some sort of 'Pulp Fiction'/Led Zeppelin rock creation. It's more in-your-face."

"The record is darker and grittier, and it's a bit more like my live show," she continues. "It's gutsier than the last one."

But fans of "Happenstance," which has sold 136,000 copies in the United States, according to SoundScan, needn't worry. "There are still the ballads and that kind of stuff," New York-based Yamagata reassures. "There are still beautiful songs, of course, but I think the sound is something new."

To achieve the new sound, Yamagata linked with producer Mike Mogis, who has worked with such acts as Bright Eyes and Rilo Kiley. "We really built things around stranger instruments like a marimba," she explains. Yamagata also reconnected for a couple of tracks with producer John Alagia, who worked on "Happenstance." Alagia's recordings will be found on a deluxe edition of the album, which will include five extra songs.

Yamagata played a few songs as part of Rachel Fuller and Pete Townshend's "In the Attic" showcase earlier this week in New York, but for now, the only concert she has scheduled is a performance at Singapore's Mosaic Music Festival on March 17. A proper tour is expected to begin in April.

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