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Kaki King

Mexican Teenagers EP

(Cooking Vinyl; US: Available as import; UK: 31 Mar 2009)

Surprisingly, the title track from Kaki King’s new EP is pretty close to what I’ve always imagined the early basement jams that eventually turned Dave Grohl into the Foo Fighters might have sounded like. That might make sense given that they worked together on the morose “Ballad of the Beaconsville Miners” from 2007’s Echoes, Silence, Patience, & Grace, but there are also unexpected stoner-rock riffs reminiscent of Queens of the Stone Age and ever-more-evolved flashes of the instrumental post-rock tendencies King has been cultivating since 2006’s Until We Felt Red. Every track features drums and electric guitars, a rather significant milestone for a girl whose NPR-ordained coronation as “Queen of the Acoustic” came right after her debut as an unplugged soloist and whose subsequent records followed a fairly logical progression from then on, at least until now. She also used to be a drummer, though, and the take-home message here is that whether it comes from hired sticks or her own knuckles, percussive support is a key part of the equation; it may be short and atypical, but this is still the best record King has made in years. She should keep a drummer on retainer from here on out. I think Dave knows a guy.

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