The Blow

Bonus Album

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For almost any other label -- even underground, independent ones -- an album such as this would be viewed as willfully obtuse in its lo-fi production and casual enigmatic minimalism. For K Records, it's just another day at the office. And for Khaela Maricich, the singer/songwriter synonymous with Blow, these nonchalantly homespun songs are actually a slight expansion of the approach she used when she was releasing her work under the name Get the Hell Out of the Way of the Volcano. Maricich sings inscrutable, slightly child-like, seemingly off-the-cuff tunes about chocolates, people who bury themselves in the air, and making out to a Hüsker Dü record (the last of which is actually a cover of a song, "Jet Ski Accidents," by fellow K artist Wolf Colonel). Although this might have the feel of a particularly arty improvised living-room session among friends, the arrangements are actually varied if extremely stark, with the skittering electronic tones, the funereal organ, basic guitar, primitive bossa nova, or handclaps serving as bare-bones musical beds. Too, Maricich often overdubs vocals upon herself to create eerie, slightly dissonant harmonies that can make her sound roughly like a lo-fi counterpart to some of Laurie Anderson's more accessible work. This has its modest rewards for those looking for sounds that are both humble and intensely personal, though it's really more of an EP than a "bonus album," its nine songs falling just shy of 20 minutes in length.

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