Imaad Wasif has a thing for small letters. Not only did he lead moody post-punk outfit Lowercase in the '90s, but he insists that the name of his current band, alaska!, be spelled sans capitalization. The group's sound, though, is anything but understated. Awash in the broad melodic gestures of both new wave and classic rock, alaska!'s latest disc, Rescue Through Tomahawk, is the lost continent buried beneath Echo and the Bunnymen, Pink Floyd and Broken Social Scene. It's pop music with an innate mastery of atmosphere, rich textures and tundra-scaled riffs. Backed by drummer Lesley Ishino, formerly of the Red Aunts, and erstwhile Sebadoh bassist Russ Pollard, Wasif crafts songs that surge and roar even as they whisper. Or, as he croons icily in "C the Shape," "It's time to go/Against the flow/Let it drown you." Sounds like a capital idea.


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