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The Blow - Poor Aim Love Songs torrent
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rnrnOriginally created for the Pregnancy Series, a group of limited edition EPs released by States Rights Records and Slender Means Society, Poor Aim: Love Songs is a brief but punchy piece of pop music. The album marks the first collaboration between the Blow’s primary member, Khaela Maricich, and Jona Bechtolt (now a full-time member of the band) and the results are often fantastic. The pair set out, successfully, to create a mini concept record filled with radio-style pop songs about misfired affection. “Hey Boy”, the album’s opener, stomps in with a heavy hand-clap beat, and then some subtle guitar—from Wolf Colonel’s Jason Anderson—floats in just before Maricich’s pleading voice sings, “Hey boy, why you didn’t call me?”. Then she begins listing reasons, both touching and absurd in their delivery, why said boy didn’t call. Maybe he is gay, or has a girlfriend, or thinks she came on too strong. Later in the song, we hear a litany of trite explanations Maricich gets from her girlfriends. All this, we come to find, started when they spoke at a party and the narrator thought the two of them connected. There is something both simple and intricate in Maricich’s rendering of this situation. rnrnThis is the gift Maricich and Bechtolt display on Poor Aim. The songs are deceptive in their depth. The production here is clean, and the music threadbare, relying mostly on the beat and Maricich’s charming lilt to drive the song forward. But there are subtleties that elevate the songs throughout. On “The Sky Opened Like the Tide”, the bass starts out droning, sliding along with some synth notes, before breaking into crisp, distinctive notes, amping up the tension as the narrator is once again in search of that connection at a party, getting lost and frantic in a crowd of strangers. Hand claps, and the occasional breathy ha, ha in the background, make “Hock It”, arguably the album’s best song, seem more churning and obsessed. rnrnThe Blow also succeeds in getting the most out of only a few elements. It’s easy, when crafting this sort of minimal electro-pop, to let every song sound the same. But the pace is mixed here, most notably in the closer, “Come on Petunia”. The song starts with Maricich singing the chorus to the Police’s “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” in a creepy near-whisper over Bechtolt’s shuffling, dark production. Between repetitions of the Sting-penned chorus, Maricich speak-sings some rapid fire verses, and the lyrics provide the EP with an interesting arc. Her characters seem to have figured out that this whole finding love thing isn’t easy, and Maricich’s deflated delivery of “Every Little Thing …”, coupled with her quick, but drained voice on the verses shows these people have been beaten down. But they are still searching for ways to find love, to push on. There is little optimism left in them, but their sheer stubbornness, even if delusional (one boy in this song wonders if, even now, he could propose to the girl in “some old-fashioned way") reveals these people aren’t just horny teenagers. Maricich has given us an album of characters who want hard, and want all the time, and will find what they want or fall apart trying. rnrnLike most reissues, it’s interesting to see this release in light of the Blow’s most recent, and brilliant, album Paper Television. You can feel the band starting to cultivate the minimalist sound it has since nailed. The songs of Poor Aim, while great in their own right, aren’t quite as polished as “Parentheses” or “Pile of Gold”. Still, it is interesting to look back on a band’s work and see how it got to where it is. And in the end, this may be the biggest benefit to these sorts of reissues, that they shed some light on process and song craft. That so many of these reissued albums fail to stand on their own is unfortunate, but the Blow’s Poor Aim: Love Songs is a solid effort, able to stand on its own—a release suited for those who are already fans of the band, or those just looking to get their feet wet. rnrnrn- popmatters.comrnrn
rnrnSo the idea for Poor Aim: Love Songs was to make a short record of radio-ready pop hits, at the time a new idea for the Blow. The first collaboration between Khaela Maricich (previously the only Blow member) and Jona Bechtolt (YACHT), they put it out in 2004 as the inaugural Pregnancy Series release, curated dually by Portland hometeamers States Rights Records and Slender Means Society, and had it reissued by K this year after commissioning remixes (from Lucky Dragons, Strategy, and Alan Fortarte of White Rainbow, among others) for most of the original tracks.rnrnThose few who copped a copy at the time likely found it easy to recognize big pieces of it on the Blow\'s 2006 full-length Paper Television. Each record features tricky couples math, naturalism-as-sex-and-love metaphors, YACHT\'s propulsive synthwork and Maricich\'s pointedly broken syntax: Maricich asked the boy on "Hey Boy" "why you didn\'t call me?" and told another lover "You don\'t even believe in outer space/ Equal to the rate at which you doubt my crying face." Some dude asks her to put her heart in his hand and even though she knows he might hock it she can\'t keep it in her pocket, so, oh man.rnrnThe Blow beat accusations of exhibitionism and confessionalism the same way rappers do-- with specifics, and without being particularly sentimental. Rock \'n\' roll, de-abstracted. When on "The Sky Opened Wide Like the Tide" she\'s wondering where her friends are tonight, her guesses are practical, a citywide Olympia, Wash., tour: "Are they at the Reef? Are they at Ben Moore\'s? Are they at the Capitol Theater?" By Paper Television, YACHT caught up, plundering commercial radio airwaves for regional rap crazes (snap music, hyphy, crunk, etc) and Timbalandesque gorgeous sound to put together the perfect palate for his partner\'s rapper sensibility. Poor Aim, for Bechtolt, was a more mixed bag-- "Hey Boy" came from J-Kwon\'s "Tipsy", a Billboard #2 that year, but most of his other original tracks stuck hard to the indie-dance friendly sped-up rave that the Blow are now notable for barely using.rnrnThe hip-hopization of indie rock was (is) a long time coming. By commissioning the six new remixes here, the Blow admit their songs aren\'t perfect, could be different, or better, and that they\'re open to new ideas. It\'s a casual gesture, too-- no pretense of their art as island-- inviting friends and like-minded people to make new work from theirs. The newly remixed Poor Aim is reminiscent of other Portland documents (the States Rights Records Bro Zone compilation comes to mind), on which artists feature other artists guest on and remix one another\'s work, bringing a mixtape mindset to an arena where work usually has to be singular and hermetically complete just to be taken seriously. On "The Love That I Crave", Maricich sings, "I\'m so tired of being wasted just chasing the same old thing/ I want to get hit by a big thing, come take me, change me," which is as good an explanation of why they bothered to remix all this stuff as any. rnrnYACHT and Maricich both take the opportunity to do reworks of their own, one way they embrace the evolution of their group. YACHT\'s "Hock It" remix loops the track\'s catchphrase to give it a chorus-- important for those commercial aspirations-- and also update it: give his track more heft, more G-funk, more quirk. His new "Hock It" is less linear, more club-worthy. Los Angeles-based Lucky Dragons aka Luke Fishbeck is the one non-Portland remixer. But it was his sojourns in Portland and tours with Portland artists over the last four years that helped YACHT, E*Rock, Bobby Birdman, and co. create their DIY-laptop scene. His Blow remixes are the smartest-- turning "The Sky Opened Wide" back into the gypsy ballad that it was before the electronics got to it, all wistful violin, guitar, and recorder; then taking the "we\'re over here" samples from that same song and making a new one of his own to close the record: pitch-shifting computer flutes; floating voices; samples cut in and out and scrambled, gently.rnrnStrategy, a Portland-based remixer, LCDs-out "The Love That I Crave", glamming up the vocals and giving it a disco sheen, while Alan Fortarte takes "Hey Boy" to it\'s "Tipsy"-limit, chopping up Maricich\'s ABCs. It\'d be easy to say then that the upshot of Poor Aim: Love Songs, v. 2, is process-in-motion, or window-into-band-at-work, proof of evolution, etc but if that stuff exists here it\'s on the fringes. The songs here are as charming, detailed and touching as ever. What more do you really need? rnrn8.0rnrn- pitchforkmedia.comrnrn
rnrnResilient electro-pop music. The songs are catchy as hell and rise to meet all the duo\'s snobby music standards. With sing-along-when-you-think-you\'re-alone types of refrains, it\'s as if the oldies station on the car stereo is playing at the same time as the urban party music station, with the occasional interfering sonic sway of an \'80s keyboard refrain. It\'s the sound of feeling fun and desperate and bravely romantically unsuccessful all at once. Easy listening for difficult feelings. rnrn- amazon.comrnrnrnrnArtist: The BlowrnAlbum: Poor Aim:Love SongsrnDate Of Release: 2004, re-issued 2007rnGenre: Indie Pop, Alternapop, ElectronicrnBitrate: VBR --alt-preset extreme