Juana Molina

Beguiling as 2004's Tres Cosas and 2006's Son were, I've been reluctant to defend Juana Molina as more than background music to friends. The background is where her songs take shape, and they remain peculiar there—get too close, amid the particulars of her milonga-Stereolab acoustic-electronic sound, and you find only air. Yet 2008's Un Dia (Domino) hangs in the background like a ghost in a Japanese horror film, disturbing the picture around it. Molina has brought up the beat, increasing the dissonance that was always there, and folded her girlish voice into a sample pastiche that's truly her own (with songs, as always, sung in Rioplatense Spanish). It's one of last year's underrated achievements, and the Argentine is always intriguing live. With Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles and Rafter. 18+.
Fri., Feb. 20, 7:30 p.m., 2009

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