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What's up with avant-garde music

• Local musician, filmmaker, and artist Jenny Gräf is currently on tour in Europe, but that's no reason not to pick up her new Machines Inside release from Bandcamp. Where last summer's The Future is a Faded Song found the creative polymath doing her own take on the electric folk singer/songwriter mold, yielding a dispatch from some chthonic forest of the brain, Machines is a return to the electronic storm clouds of her Os and Peradam, a collaboration with Marcia Bassett. Opener "Animals in the City" lurches to life with an almost dance-floor-ready beat stomp before the whole thing flattens into a squelching rumble of distorted tones and textures. Eventually that morass builds to a roar-which is quieted by the beat's return. This contrast between untameable sound and calming rhythm traces the album's sonic terrain. There's this feeling of the natural world confronting the industrial here, like a bird's nest in the rafters of a manufacturing warehouse, that vacillates between the beautiful and the harsh. Songs like "Rootcave" and the clanking "Hawkmeat" deliver the harshness, while "Liquid State of America" finds a lovely chiming melody among shards of seemingly falling-apart sounds.

• In 2010, local electronics improviser/musician and writer Bonnie Jones teamed up with experimental flautist Suzanne Thorpe to create TECHNE, an arts education endeavor to teach sound, music improvisation, and technology to girls. Last summer they held DIY electronic music workshops in Oakland, Portland, Sacramento, and Seattle, as part of the nonprofit Girls Rock Camp Alliance. This summer they're taking TECHNE on tour again, coming to Philadelphia; Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; Charlottesville, Va.; Nashville; Charleston, S.C.; Baton Rouge, La.; and New Orleans, with a concert featuring Jones and Thorpe collaborating with local female artists in each stop. They're currently raising money for the project through the High Zero Foundation and are hoping to raise $8,000 by June 20 on Indiegogo. For more information and to donate, visit indiegogo.com/projects/electronic-music-powered-by-girls-2014-tour.

• Speaking of High Zero, the first list of performers for the Sept. 15-21, 2014 installment have been announced and, as usual, there's a wealth of talent descending on Baltimore, including violist/vocalist Charlotte Hug, collage mastermind Vicki Bennett, and Korean cellist Okkyung Lee, whose 2013 Ghil remains in Booed's rotation of favorite heavy sound experiences. Visit highzero.org to see the current roster.

• Normals Books and Records in Waverly opened its doors in 1990. It's been an oasis for locals with a need for something a bit out of step with the status quo ever since. Stop by the Metro Gallery June 6 to celebrate Normals' 24th anniversary with readings and performances by Tim Paggi and Megan McShea and music by Wume, Old Songs, and the Go Pills.

• Finally, Ladyfest Baltimore runs June 6 and 7 this week at the Windup Space and Liam Flynn's. The entire weekend is chock full of local artists-including Booed faves Curse, Sexgender, and Lzz Kng-and we wanted to send a few shout-outs to the touring acts, particularly Columbus, Ohio's Nervosas (who continues that state capital's great tradition of garage-y punk acts that includes Gaunt, Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments, and Scrawl), Atlanta post-punk trio Dasher, and Providence's no-wave-ish Whore Paint, whose lunge and jerk on its Swallow My Bones LP on Load last year leads Booed to suspect the trio might be Scissors Girls-noisy onstage.

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