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By Jeremy Saperstein
The Blow is Khaela Maricich. Formerly known as Get the Hell Out of the Way of the Volcano, Maricich has released at least a pair of tremendously idiosyncratic records featuring her strong breathy vocals, and appeared with other artists from the K stable, including Phil Elvrum (The Microphones) and Calvin Johnson (K czar).
Sounding like a multi-tracked cross between a child’s nonsense rhymes and the tight harmonies of some sort of weird classical chamber music, Maricich’s songs never fail to make me think, either because of her clever turns of lyrical phrase (“Don’t you think we should kiss while Hüsker Dü is playing?/Do you like Grant Hart’s songs?/Do you like Bob Mould’s songs?/Have you ever sung along to ‘New Day Rising’?”) in “Jet Ski Accidents”, for example, or “Someone said that you’re a piece of paper/a piece of paper just pasted on the sky/I’ve a hunch that you’re a giant ball of rock/a million miles from me and all the people in the town”) in “The Moon Is There, I Am Here” or her clever and sophisticated-seeming (while maintaining a blisteringly charming naivety) compositional skills (the aforementioned “The Moon Is There…” or the contrapuntal harmonies in “The Touch-Me”).
Throughout, the sparse instrumentation and smooth pop melodies make Bonus Album a far better bet than the studied twee of other new pop bands. Khaela Maricich is a hardcore original, like Beck or Captain Beefheart or any of a thousand others. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next as I enjoy this release.