Amy Blaschke sings like a ghost. This is not to imply transparency or formlessness, and it's not meant to invoke the dreaded Critics R Us standby"haunting"that has plagued taciturn indie girl vocalists ever since Beth Gibbons conceded that nobody loves her, not like you do, in 1994. This is simply meant to imply that, um, she sings like a ghost. The entirety of the young local's self-titled sophomore release sounds like that scene in The Sixth Sense where Bruce Willis replays an old therapy session cassette again and again until he hears an apparition; the only thing less spare and delicate than Blaschke's elementary guitar/bass/drum setup is her sorrowful voice. This would damn her to the consignment bin of talented but relatively interchangeable post-Lilith female singer-songwriters if she didn't execute her narratives with such crushing conviction. Physical sentiments like "He came on to me like an avalanche" and "There's a twister rolling in and it's headed straight for me" don't seem particularly intriguing on paper, but Blaschke delivers them with such uniquely detached tranquility that she tips that tenuous less-is-more seesaw in her favoryou actually want to know the circumstances, the romantic minutiae that inspired such a morose, cold half-hour waltz. Blaschke's in complete control of the distance she keeps between herself, her dirges, and her audience, and that's precisely why she's so evocative. A.B.
Amy Blaschke plays with the Trees and Tomo Nakayama at the Green Room at 9 p.m. Tues., Nov. 25. $5.
Minimal techno, ambient breaks, IDMSeattle-based Lusine (aka Jeff McIlwain) drops some of the most surgically precise sounds this side of Cologne. Just touch off his Push EP, a four-track slab of vinyl released earlier this summer, for a glimpse of what German labels like Hymen and Mental Industries have known for some time: McIlwain is a master of understated melody and wafer-crisp percussion. But it's the mushrooming low-ends, firing at you with the slow-motion weightlessness of a slingshot underwater, that raise the goose bumps on your forearms and draw your shoulders in tight. Such is the case with Push's title track, a deep-space exploration of an intricate break placed beneath a simple three-chord melody, with flickering, technoid blips behind you. It's not until the breakdown, though, when the bass washes over you with magnitude of a passing solar flare before dissipating into the darkness beyond, that you concede surrender. "Haze" sets a muted techno kick and flirting high-hat adrift on trailing dub effects and disarmingly subtle glitches, while "Slapback" pulses a purring low end over its namesake beat, popping filters on and off of melodic synths, swaddling anxious clicks and edits with soothing warmth. Like much of McIlwain's output, Push balances ambience against percussive elements to let you make the call: Kick back and guiltlessly dissect or step up and release. The Fourth City crew's basement weekly provides the perfect middle ground to test out either side. JUSTIN PAUL
Lusine plays with Twine, Nordic Soul, and Jerry Abstract at the Deep Down Lounge (below Temple Billiards), 126 S. Jackson, 206-709-4332, at 9 p.m. Mon., Nov. 24. $5.
THE GREEN PAJAMAS
Through Glass Colored Roses: The Best of the Green Pajamas
What to make of a pop-rock band that straight-facedly claims, "No one can save us but Kim the waitress"? What happens when Kim can't pull herself out of a socio-economic hole she never thought she'd spend so long in? Or goes to grad school? Or simply finds a better gig at another coffee shop? None of these questions seemed to trouble pre-Posies Seattle quintet the Green Pajamas, whose cosmically crushed-out anthem became their best-known tune via a cover by Chicago's Material Issue. As well they mightn't. As the tellingly titled Through Glass Colored Roses makes clear, Jeff Kelly and crew spent their time working a strand of not-quite-power-pop that used its antecedents in the Byrds and Big Star to move well above irony. Armed with shimmering guitar lines and a faith in "those hazel eyes that say everything"and largely unheard outside the Pacific Northwest during the Los Angeles-rooted Paisley Underground explosion of the mid-'80sthe Green Pajamas now sound like the last truly, blessedly innocent breath of an AM-radio Valhalla that in real life curdled somewhere around the time that John and Michelle split the Mamas and the Papas. "These are the best times in our lives," one song has it, while in another, Laura Weller rises up against all the ethereal, languid romanticism to mock that the Ideal Girl "doesn't love you anymore." Fittingly, but without mythmaking, this compilation ends with the swirling "This is Where We Disappear." Not completely, thoughif you don't find the belief here too painful to listen to at this late date, that is. RICKEY WRIGHT