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Kaki King

Kaki King is an excellent example of how Ani DiFranco-inspired guitar-playing can be anything but derivative and annoying. King's incredible handling of her guitar comes not so much from obsessive devotion to that righteous babe, but from her background as a drummer. When King plays, it's both rhythmic and melodic; even when she's playing chords, you can hear every note.

The careful construction and execution of each note makes King's music wonderfully dense, and Dreaming of Revenge has all of the markings of greatness: epic instrumental sprawls, rock songs with hooks, contemplative ballads, expressive lyrics ("I don't want to go but I can't say I've had a good time doing anything," sings King on "Saving Days in a Frozen Head"), creative album art (you can make a mobile) and surprising moves within songs that give the whole album an ethereal coolness. King's voice will slip into haunting ooohs; her guitar parts will change atmospheres; other sounds will dash across the soundscape.

Something about the blend of King's guitar with orchestral strings, keyboards and pedal steel gives Dreaming of Revenge its unique feel. Though it was recorded on the East Coast, Dreaming of Revenge sounds Western--not country, but Western. There are slide guitars and pedal steel, yes, but Dreaming of Revenge has that certain airiness, like the sound of a wide-open space. And the open spaces Dreaming of Revenge evokes are clean, crisp and green; it's an idyllic world, even to us desert-dwellers who can see for miles and miles and miles.

More by Annie Holub

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