Keeping up with Brazilian music isn’t easy. Few record stores in the U.S. bother to carry it, and even fewer distributors bring it into the country (though it’s getting easier to find downloads on iTunes and eMusic). It’s more than worth the extra effort to scan Brazilian music blogs like Notas Musicais—the Portuguese-language site doesn’t seem to do much curating of what gets posted, but it’s how I learned that young singer Thaís Gulin made her second album late last year. I enjoyed her debut, but ôÔÔôôÔôÔ (Slap) is one of my 2011 faves. It was produced by Kassin (of +2 fame), and both Chico Buarque and Tom Zé make cameos. This is squarely in the MPB camp (musica popular Brasileira), and there are plenty of quirky arrangements and production flourishes to really drive home the lovely melodies and Gulin’s terrific singing. For today’s 12 O’Clock Track I’m posting the trombone-stoked title song for stream or download, but the entire album is great.