Today, Portland pop band The Blow released their first single in seven years, the first offering from an album to be released in October on Brooklyn's Kanine Records. The band is a short-term throwback to an not-too-distant era when something called "a blog darling" existed, and seemed super
legit. But their return to action is more noteworthy than your usual "band from a while ago still making music" non-headline, because they were ahead of their time in a way that's just now becoming clear. Their excellent album Paper Television
was the sort of omnivorous pop LP that drew from minimal synth-pop, hip-hop, and R&B in ways that have fully come into vogue in the meantime. A song like "True Affection"
(which is still just so so good) is crisp and minimal, but soulful in a way that sidesteps chilly ironic interpretation completely. You can hear the faint echoes of cutting edge stuff like Grimes or AlunaGeorge in it, though their versions are more nutso maximal and radio slick, respectively.
The new song, "Make It Up", is the first we've heard from singer Khaela Maricich's collaboration with new member Melissa Dyne. (Former member Jona Bechtolt, not one to wait around, has been making YACHT records for years.) Though the specific sonics are a little different than the previous version, slightly smoother maybe, The Blow still makes big-stroke radio pop longing sound personal and homemade. You can listen to it here.
Also, can we just stop for a second to note how much improbable music nerd wish-fulfillment is happening in 2013? New Bowie! New My Bloody Valentine! A new Julie Ruin album! New Timberlake (says someone who isn't me, probably, with an exclamation point). James Murphy producing an Arcade Fire record! Can whoever is hoarding the monkey's paws use at least one finger for an Outkast reunion? Thanks, dude.
Follow Jeff Klingman on Twitter @jeff_klingman.