Extra Wow (Warp Records)
Aspiring musicians, take note. Few words make an indie-rock critic swoon like “Krautrock.” Indeed, it’s possible that 75 percent of Krautrock fans have at least dabbled in music criticism, so presenting your own variation of the genre — provided you know your stuff — is akin to bribing the judge at a pie-baking contest with a little whipped cream. Portland duo Nice Nice is the latest group to say, “I think I’m Can, I think I’m Can,” although this only describes a slice of what they do. On “One Hit” they decide that the three chords of punk are two too many, so they scrap them and give the last remaining chord a merciless beating for good measure. “Big Bounce” sounds like they’re riding the beat for the Beastie Boys’ “So What’cha Want” down to the bottom of the ocean. “New Cascade” is a drone wash with sprinkles of Far East flavor. Nice Nice are tinkerers, but Extra Wow remains cohesive, due in large part to a sunny psychedelic vibe and a relentless rhythm that churns like a steel factory that’s behind on its quota. The uniform sound may have come at the expense of great individual songs, but the band still has time, and they’re headed in the right direction. Pass the whipped cream.