When Anvil Chorus singer and keyboardist Anna Cole brought her band's debut EP to the Pitch, she expressed concern that it would not be well received. She even went so far as to apply masking tape to a stick of beef jerky (still wrapped, of course -- it would just be gross otherwise) and scrawl on it the word payola. Well, the music on this disc is slightly more potent -- and delicious -- than an Oberto kippered beefstick. As a matter of fact, it's the closest thing to heroin any local release has achieved since I've been accepting payola -- er ... reviewing music -- for this newspaper. This EP is dark, dire and drop-dead sexy, an immediately ensnaring chemistry of obsessive, paranoiac instrumental layers and maddeningly sensual rhythms and vocals. When Cole sings on the opener, "Excess in the Bottoms," in a husky, out-of-breath rasp, Sweaty, shaking is how you make me feel/So won't you lay down, abandon all of your ideals/For just tonight/For just tonight, you have no choice but to do as she says, knowing full well you're probably not gonna make it home by sunrise. The remaining tracks are a descent into a maelstrom that is by turns soothing and harrowing, sexy and scary. The goal is not to tell stories or play melodies but to build moods through texture, touch and repetition. Bassist Byron Huhmann and drummer Brad Wicklander form a possessed steel-grinder of a rhythm section, with Andrew Kirk's dissonant guitar providing the sparks. Unfortunately, Cole's piano frequently gets buried when it isn't expressly given the spotlight; if her playing were as searing as her voice, Anvil Chorus would be the better for it. Still, you can compare this band to Joy Division, Björk, the Cure, Portishead, whomever, and none will make you feel quite the same way. Experience the hammer blows live at Anvil Chorus' CD-release party with Darling at Sea on Friday, August 19, at the Brick.