Natasha Kmeto can't get no satisfaction, and it's killing her. As a singer raised on both the come-ons of '90s R&B and the all-night throb of house and trip-hop, the 30-year-old future-soul producer-songwriter can fog up windows without even trying. But her second album is called Crisis for a reason: Recorded in a year fraught with personal upheaval, the record doesn't writhe in ecstasy so much as in the ache of being deprived of it. On her last two EPs, Kmeto pierced the glitched-out rhythms and Richter-shifting bass of modern EDM with vocal hooks straight off an Aaliyah greatest-hits set. Here, the beats feel hollowed out, infused with strobing synths, finger snaps and a blacklight moodiness worthy of the Italians Do It Better crew, and Kmeto fills the sparse atmosphere with striking directness, pleading for affection ("Take Out"), detachment ("Last Time") and the time to get her shit together ("Idiot Proof"). Even "Morning Sex," with its airy pianos and resting-heartbeat pulse, feels like an elegy to intimacy rather than a roll in postcoital bliss. Crisis is still the sexiest album that'll come out of Portland this year, but the pleasure is wrapped in the pain of longing—which, of course, only makes it sexier.
SEE IT: Natasha Kmeto plays Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison St., with Grown Folk, Ben Tactic and Lincolnup, on Saturday, June 22. 9 pm. $5. 21+.