No need to be coy: Touch Screens, the new album from local producer/songwriter Erik Blood, is all about pornography. From the sweaty, churning alt-rock of the album’s opener “Phenomenal Pornography” to the rhythmic moans of the keys, his latest effort is musically diverse but singularly focused. His musings on porn aren’t meant to shock or be ironic; there’s an honest affection for the industry underlying each track. Touch Screens’s aesthetic is rooted in the girl-next-door charm of '70s porn, not the tramp-stamped ladies of the every-desire-is-one-click-away Internet age.
Thing is, you have to listen closely to discern the lyrics about porn actors and “Shame Spots” beneath the driving guitar and layers of synth. There’s energetic rock aggression on “Constance and Casey,” dreamy atmospheric ambience on tracks like “Lethur” and “(Wakefield),” and danceable chicka chicka guitar on “Today’s Lover.” Blood’s primo producing skills—he made his name working with some of Seattle’s finest (Shabazz Palaces, the Moondoggies, THEESatisfaction)—are evident in the album’s seamless flow between tracks and the tremendous drum sounds he lays down. He also plays everything but the drums on this second solo release, proving he can shine when he steps away from the mixing board.
The peppy/dark duality of the album is best heard on “Share Your Love,” which starts with playful chatter about the offscreen love lives of porn stars, only to transition to the frustration of the actor’s loved one. Nothing’s taboo here. Touch Screens may not be suitable for work, but the artfulness of its composition won’t leave you craving a shower after a listen.
Erik Blood at Reverb Festival
Fest is all day Oct 6; Erik's set starts Oct 7 at 12:30am, Sunset Tavern, $5–$75 (Reverb Festival wristband)