The Blow, "The Woman You Want Her to Be" (via Pledge Music). A clinical analysis of a potential inamorata (I think), "The Woman You Want Her to Be" is one of the sonically weirdest songs about lesbian romance that I've ever heard. Khaela Maricich's lucid, deadpan recitation of desirable, idiosyncratic qualities recalls Laurie Anderson or David Byrne circa "In the Future," while the music traverses odd industrial-electro terrain akin to that of Chris & Cosey, Laurel Halo, and even motherfuckin' Trio (compliment!). It's the most interesting track the Blow—who also include Melissa Dyne—have created to date. It comes off the former Olympia-based duo's album Brand New Abyss (out September 22). The Blow play Neumos October 26.
METZ, "Cellophane" (Sub Pop). Sub Pop's ear for noisy yet melodic rock remains acute. METZ reliably deliver a batch of songs that make you want to punch Nazis as you hum along to their naggingly anthemic melodies. "Cellophane" is an exemplary addition to this Toronto trio's canon of cannon-powered rock brut. It comes off their new, Steve Albini-produced third album, Strange Peace (out September 22). In a press release, guitarist/vocalist Alex Edkins said, "The songs on Strange Peace are about uncertainty... They're about finding some semblance of peace within the chaos." That's beautiful and necessary.
Tobacco, "Slaughtered by the Amway Guy" (Rad Cult). I have a voracious appetite for Tobacco's drastically warped production style and splenetically funky beat programming. Whether it be proper studio albums or odds-and-sods collections like Ripe & Majestic, whence comes this lysergic oddity, I can't get enough of Tobacco's usurpation of studio orthodoxy. As with most Tobacco tracks, "Slaughtered by the Amway Guy" pulls off all sorts of extreme-frequency stunts and repudiates audio-engineering-school decorum with IDGAF brio. Tobacco auteur Tom Fec has created his own genre, a kind of diseased, neon-green-sludge electro to which you're more likely to gape in awe than dance. Respect.
KO Solo, "Intro :: Sunspots" (Bandcamp). Syrinx Effect saxophonist/vocalist KO Solo (aka Seattle's Kate Olson) has an excellent new EP titled Dreamer Too that displays her keen ability to evoke intimately vast space with just her horn, vox, effects, and a computer. Steeped in post-bop jazz and minimalism, Olson summons methodical, tranquil improvisations that conjure profoundly spiritual feelings that should please fans of Pharoah Sanders, Don Cherry, and Terry Riley. Olson says the four tracks here were "inspired by recent environmental and celestial events," and I have to admit, I'm quite over the moon about "Intro :: Sunspots." Olson really maximizes the emotional power of her melancholy, mellifluous sax and sparse beats, creating an eerie desolation that recalls Deep Listening Band's recordings in the Fort Worden Cistern.
Harald Grosskopf & Eberhard Kranemann, "Be Cool" (Bureau B). The album title may be too on-the-nose, but Krautwerk is a surprisingly strong, late-career effort by a couple of old German cosmic-rock legends. Harald Grosskopf drummed with Klaus Schulze, Ash Ra Tempel/Ashra, and Cosmic Jokers and Eberhard Kranemann played several instruments with Kraftwerk, Neu!, and other lesser outfits. That's serious krautrock kred. Here they forge a rugged, indomitable motorik groove that harks back to Moebius/Plank/Neumeier's Zero Set, always a worthy source of inspiration. Listening to "Be Cool" makes you feel as if you're in a speeding tank that's rumbling over bumpy terrain while World War 2.5 rages above. Not bad for some geriatric Übermenschen.
Noteworthy September 1 album releases: LCD Soundsystem, American Dream (DFA/Columbia); Motörhead, Under Cover (Motörhead Music); The Knife, Shaking the Habitual: Live at Terminal 5 (Rabid); The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Echo of Pleasure (Painbow); Mogwai, Every Country’s Sun (Rock Action); Hercules & Love Affair, Omnion (Bad Boy); Madeline Kenney, Night Night at the First Landing (Company); Curve, Doppelgänger [25th Anniversary Expanded Edition] (3 Loop Music) ; Bicep, Bicep (Ninja Tune).