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Sexual Science

What Is the Blow, Anyway?

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PLEASE DON'T get defensive if I call the Blow something like "boredom-core" or "intelli-porn"—because the sound and concepts otherwise defy description. Perennially youthful, unflinchingly sexual, and unfathomably detached, with a tremorless alto that sounds like a postcoital sigh of "what now," singer/songwriter Khaela Maricich gazes at romance through—by turns—a kaleidoscope of existential introspection, a microscope of scientific observation, and the warm, fleshy sublimity of her own navel. Love her for her big giant mind. Or don't. She (almost?) doesn't care.

"I am always staring at myself, trying to figure out who or what I am," she recently wrote in an eloquent career-summarizing essay in The Stranger titled "The Delicate Art of Not Giving a Fuck."

A mainstay of the turn-of-this-century lo-fi scene in Olympia alongside Mirah and Mt. Eerie, Maricich started out making clap-along camp songs and folk ballads about the moon under the iconic hand-drawn shield of K Records. Snapping out of the small-town reverie, she moved to Portland and set up shop in an industrial Eastside loft, partnering with YACHT's Jona Bechtolt, getting chummy with creative ad juggernaut Wieden + Kennedy, playing PDX Pop Now!, and creating Blue Sky vs. Night Sky, a multimedia piece for 2004's TBA that she now admits was "more complicated than self-revealing." She soon moved to New York to play in art's major leagues along with partner Melissa Dyne, a multimedia artist in optics, installation, and acoustics who joined the Blow in 2009. ("We live together, in the gay way," Maricich candidly explains in The Stranger essay.)

The duo is set to release a new self-titled record on Kanine Records in October, and the promo single "Make It Up" is replete with Maricich's signature sexual science: meditations on atoms, breathy percussion, crystalline, tightly interlocked harmonies, and also—can it be? some late-blooming exuberance... perhaps even a wisp of satisfaction.

What should you expect from the Blow's TBA show, We Put It Together So We Could Take It Apart? Who knows? Maybe something akin to 2010's Tender Forever TBA set, where Maricich's fellow K Recs alum Melanie Valera romped solo through a commanding set of stage and lighting viz effects. But since it's only billed as a "salute to the void," teased as "investigative," and rumored to involve sampling, it's bound to be full of surprises.

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