by Joel Smith and Micheal Bowen & r &

The Trucks & r &

The Trucks & r &

4 stars & r &

The Trucks are not the kind of girls you take home to mother. On their eponymous debut release, the Bellingham-based quartet -- who almost literally melted the sound system at Mootsy's when they played here in July -- sing about everything from nipple-twisting and oral sex to vibrators and their tendency not to change their underwear. Which might be totally reprehensible were it being sung by a bunch of cheesedicks in tight leather pants.

But it's not. The Trucks are a bunch of cute 20-something girls who wear outlandish costumes, sing in high girlie voices (except in the self-explanatory "Man Voice") and totally f***ing wail. They've described their music as "sassy, potty-mouthed girl-pop with a murderous edge." Fittingly. Nearly every one of the synth-heavy, xylophone-ringy tracks on this disc is tailor-made for screaming, drinking too much and dancing until you pass out. From the indignant tone of "Titties" to the reveries of "Old Bikes" and "Big Afros" to the sweet "Diddle-Bot" (it's "got three different speeds -- slow, fast and go go go"), this is perfectly crafted, perfectly raunchy pop.


DOWNLOAD: "Big Afros"

& r &

Toru Takemitsu & r &

A Flock Descends & r &

4 stars & r &

If you're strolling through a Japanese garden, you want the music of Toru Takemitsu playing in your ear buds. Strings lull and dwindle into forest silences; glissandi evoke the flights of birds; sudden crescendos flash like vibrant floral displays. Takemitsu (1930-96) likes to juxtapose contemplative quiet and clutches of discord: Some of the crescendos in A Flock Descends Into the Pentagonal Garden sound like Bernard Herrmann's score for The Birds with a psychedelic booster shot. Spirit Garden takes four-note sequences and lengthens, softens, reverses, intensifies, and fragments them, shooting off outbursts from the strings like sparks in the night sky.

Marin Alsop (she's everywhere!) leads the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in this Naxos overview of some highlights from the career of Japan's best-known 20th-century composer -- even including snippets from some of Takemitsu's many film scores. With its streaks of dissonance, lonely flutes and trumpet snarls, Takemitsu's ethereal and otherworldly music privileges mood over melody. It wants its listeners to be relaxed but attentive.


DOWNLOAD: Spirit Garden

Witness to Wartime: The Painted Diary of Takuichi Fujii @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through May 16
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