Video: SASAMI, ‘The Greatest’

SASAMI (Photo by Andrew Thomas Huang)

You were expecting a second album of inward-gazing indie-rock from SASAMI, perhaps?

You have another thing coming. Or things, as it turns out.

The L.A. singer-songwriter — born Sasami Ashworth — checks in with all barrels blazing on the two singles she released this week, “The Greatest” and “Skin a Rat.” The follow-ups to her positively unhinged cover of Daniel Johnston’s “Sorry Entertainer” issued in July, the songs will appear on her sophomore album “Squeeze,” out Feb. 25 via Domino.

The album finds SASAMI exploring her Korean-Japanese heritage, inspired in part by, to quote the album explainer, “the Japanese yōkai folk spirit called Nure-onna (translation: wet woman), a vampiric deity that has the head of a woman and the body of a snake.”

The album is sequenced in movements, to mimic an opera or orchestral work and it is advertising as moving through nu-metal, pop-country, folk rock and classical.

A classically trained composer, SASAMI conducts in the video for “The Greatest,” a new-fashioned power ballad the artist says “is about how often the greatest, heaviest feelings we have for someone are in the absence of the realization or reciprocation of that love. Like power born out of a black hole. All fantasy.”

“Skin a Rat,” which features Megadeth’s Dirk Verbeuren on drums and gang vocals from Vagabon’s Laetitia Tamko and comedian Patti Harrison, shreds its way to “to cathartic release of anger and frustration with oppressive systems and humans,” SASAMI says. “Very nu-metal influenced. Wrote and demoed the whole song on my iPad with MIDI drums and hired an epic drummer to perform it live to tape.”

SASAMI produced the majority of “Squeeze,” with Ty Segall co-producing a handful of tracks. The songwriter’s guests include Hand Habits’ Meg Duffy, King Tuff’s Kyle Thomas, Christian Lee Hutson, Barishi, Moaning’s Pascal Stevenson, Jay Bellerose and No Home.

||| Watch: The videos for “The Greatest”

||| Also: Stream “Skin a Rat” and her cover of “Sorry Entertainer”

||| Live: SASAMI headlines the Teragram Ballroom on April 13. Tickets on sale at 10 a.m. Friday. (She opens for Japanese Breakfast at two sold-out shows at the Glass House on Nov. 15-16.)

||| Previously: “Free,” “Jealousy,” live at the Echo, “Not the Time”