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For the past few years, San Francisco trio Secadora (that's Spanish for "dryer," incidentally) has been making an appealing noise-pop rocket with a minimalist, stripped-down approach and a melodic, driving, guitar-based sound bound to draw comparisons to other indie rock contemporaries, but highly individual in its overall stylistic impact. A few of those comparison, though, so you can get an idea of what sort of ballpark Secadora plays in. Helium's fractured, spectral pop comes to mind, but Secadora is a bit less Grimm's Fairy Tales and a bit more rock. Blonde Redhead's breathy, sometimes abrasive, guitar-driven experimentalism is a reference point, but Secadora, while breathy and guitar driven, aren't overly given to abrasiveness or self-conscious experimentation. Rainer Maria's cerebral, melodic emo-pop isn't too far off, but Secadora isn't really all that, um, emo.

Enough with the comparisons, let's talk a bit about the music. First off, Secadora doesn't have a bassist, and you might not notice. Christian Serra's terrific work on the skins picks up the slack, and the absence of a heavy low-end suits Secadora's stark, moody sound. The center of Secadora's songs is the complex guitar interplay between singer Adrienne Robillard and Daniel Lowrie. Skeletal piano lines and dark organ parts creep in sometimes, but for the most part you'll follow that nervous, arpeggiated dance of guitars -- which occasionally erupt into epic, driving sheets of Sonic Youthish sound -- and Robillard's measured, breathy vocals. Secadora will surprise you again and again with how pretty their music is, not always a common trait of driving, dark guitar rock.

Secadora put out its first release, a self-titled five-song EP (also known as Electric Third Rail Power Trip), in 1998, defining their tense, moody, guitar-driven style. In 2001, they followed up with the Little Pieces of Paper LP, on the fledgling Keiki label.

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