The Blow The Concussive Caress, Or, Casey Caught Her Mom Singing

[K; 2003]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: bedroom electronica, lo-fi skits, absolute pop wizardry
Others: Mount Eerie, Y.A.C.H.T., Get the Hell Out of the Way of the Volcano

Eccentricity doesn't do this record justice. There's definitely meaning to these seemingly non-sequitorial lyrics, but why would I ruin it for you? Figuring them out is part of the fun when listening to the songs. And, of course, there's that standard unwritten rule that music listeners will interpret a given song each in their own way. There's enough intrinsic studio trickery on display here that a clear subtext is not necessarily needed.

The Concussive Caress is the sexiest, most intriguing record the mainstream will never hear. Maricich matches sharp intellect with tantalizing sexuality in ways not attempted since Exile in Guyville. It's highly conceptual stuff, much like The Microphones' Mt. Eerie (the horn resounding on "The Warriors' Hearts" brings that album to mind sound-wise), but you wouldn't have to have seen her act out the narratives to appreciate the striking sound clashes on display throughout. "How Naked Are We Going To Get?" kicks things off in fine style, working its magic as a sort of minimalist doo-wop track. And what follows are ear-perking pop deconstructions of several shades; so depending on your appreciation of The Blow's aesthetic, it can be a somewhat uneven affair. To the discerning listener, though, these songs will work their way into your heart, much in the way a Books recording would. Just when you start to wince, something will happen to make you smile. This is for fans of quirky and coy, fearless and unpredictable lo-fi pop rock like Young People and The Breeders.

I can't recall where, but I read some place that Britney Spears said something about how writing pop songs is hard, and anyone can make some "arty" thing. I'd like to see her (not really, though) try to do what Khaela Maricich accomplishes on this unbridled, fascinating record. The difference is simple. Britney is all exhibitionism and Khaela is all creativity. Their talents are universes away; so let's speak no more of the emaciated toothpick shitting up the progressively shitted-up Rolling Stone.

1. How Naked Are We Going to Get?
2. Chase Dream
4. A Night Full of Open Eyes
5. Sweetheart
6. Sweetheart (Continued)
7. What Tom Said About Girls
8. Nothing
9. Come on Pauline (Amy's Cassette for Pauline)
10. What the Guitar said ABout the Firmament
11. Where I Love You
12. What Amy Heard in Her Mother's Voice Played Backwards
13. Gravity (Pauline's Response to Amy)
14. The Warriors' Hearts

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