Blush, "Steady" (myspace.com/blushrock)
Singer Mary Cushman's vocals suggest Björk in a lip lock with Shirley Manson, dancing a high-heeled strut over the bubbling modern rock created by her brothers and bassist Jayson Benn. The guitar starts at a simmer, giving Cushman's theatrics the stage, but bursts forth with ringing warmth in the chorus. There's a similar crispness in the girl-group pop swoon, mixed by Mike Zirkel (Garbage).
Blush, with Dolly Trauma and Sad Day Sanctuary. Saturday, July 1, at the Lime Spider.
Mifune, "Patsy Cline" (myspace.com/mifunesound)
This world-pop nine-piece blends the groovy, funk-tribal vibe of afrobeat with spacey, Stereolab-style ambient pop. The beat is as insistent as the melody, vibrating beneath the keys' and horns' shimmer and sway, while a "Girl From Ipanema"-style groove surfs over chanted vocals, conjuring a joyous island dance.
Mifune, with Xela and Matt Gerovac. Friday, June 30, at the Grog Shop.
Who Killed Marilyn, "Faith and Lies" (myspace.com/wkm)
The vocal hook is catchy as the music alternates between throbbing bottom-end thunder and goth-punk rumble that recalls genre pioneers Lords of the New Church. Of course, this has more of a post-millennial feel, with locomotive drum fills and alt-metal ferocity as Christopher Marinan rails, "Where's the love?"
Who Killed Marilyn. CD-release party. Friday, June 30, at Peabody's.
David Mayfield and Chitlin'. Thursday, June 15, at the Happy Dog.
It's hard not to give your heart to lithe, angel-voiced teen Chitlin'. Mayfield, who also plays with a full bluegrass band, opens with an Americana lilt and an energetic picking style that goes well with his canny humor, as evidenced on the Myspace-dedicated country waltz, "When Will You Update Your Profile?" But it's Chitlin's haunting, reedy croon that steals the show. She recalls Jolie Holland, but her songwriting is just as impressive, particularly on the stunning "Waiting to Call."
David Mayfield Band, with Chitlin'. Thursday, June 29, at the Beachland Tavern.