The Blow – Bonus Album

The Blow
Bonus Album

The Blow is a misleading name for several reasons. There is the obvious connection to those other “the” bands with a “the” tacked on the front of a seemingly random word, be it a verb or noun. Blow is also slang for cocaine (but you already knew that), and it’s another way to say sucks. There are, of course, some other connotations that I won’t get into. However, this The Blow is the name Khaela Maricich (the Microphones, Get the Hell Out of the Way of the Volcano) has chosen to use to release beautiful, stripped-down pop.

The Blow’s approach to music is the DIY/barebones approach that has made K records so popular. Bonus Album is a short nine-tracks release that gives the listener a taste of what is to come from this talented singer/songwriter. Enlisting help from her pals Mirah and Phil Elvrum, the whole affair is a true bonus. A definite highlight is the song “Watch the Water Roll Up,” a danceable number with Mr. Elvrum on the drums. (He also helped produce.)

Relying mostly on her very sweet, childlike vocals and sparse instrumentation is a winning formula. “Some Chocolates” and “The Moon is There, I am Here” are my favorite tracks. The titles set up the basic premises for the songs, and Ms. Maricich does the rest.

Bonus Album closes with “Little Sally Tutorial,” recorded instructions on a very strange game. Play it at a party to break the ice (as per instructions in the liner notes). It works.