Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Top Ten Tracks on Elbo.Ws Reviewed in 50 Words or Less: Parade of Wolves Edition

1. Wolf Parade - "Call It A Ritual"

Download: Wolf Parade - "Call It A Ritual"

Well, that was quick. After only being released a day ago, Wolf Parade's first new song in almost three years shot to the top of the Elbo.ws charts. And deservedly so, to a degree. While the track adds no radical changes to the group's sound, this jaunty, piano-driven hopscotch of an indie song pleases to a great degree.

Grade: B+

2. This Is Ivy League - "London Bridges"

Download: This Is Ivy League - "London Bridges"

This brisk bit of Belle & Sebastian-esque pop clips along at a nice pace, with jazzy minor-seventh chords, acoustic rhythm guitar, and a punchy bass line helping to make up for what is otherwise a fey tale of unrequited love. The guitar solo at the end, similar in style to Television, helps the track go out on a high note.

Grade: B

3. Annuals - "Sore"

Download: Annuals - "Sore"

This gentle lullaby leaps tall genres in a single bound. Which, granted, is Annuals's forte, but when the results are as grandly melodic as this (even the end-of-song key change--a pop cliche if there ever was one--sounds fresh), I see no reason for the North Carolina sextet to change course.
Grade: A

4. El Perro Del Mar - "Glory To The World"

Download: El Perro Del Mar - "Glory To The World"

El Perro Del Mar, who, vocally, sounds like a mousy Neil Young, mines a more synthesized territory for her new song, "Glory To The World", than her last, more folk-driven record. Both sounds have a profound, aching sense of loneliness behind them. Unfortunately, there's not much else to recommend.

Grade: C+

5. Islands - "Creeper"

Download: Islands - "Creeper"

Electronic beats nudge off what turns out to be a pretty standard rocker with some dance touches. Lyrically, there's darker territory about all things creepy and broken hearts. I'm all for bands changing direction, but, usually, the idea is to go somewhere interesting.

Grade: C

6. Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin - "Think I Wanna Die"

Download: Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin - "Think I Wanna Die"

As straightforward as new-wave influenced pop can be, the second single from SSLYBY's second record Pershing is short, sweet, and utterly lighthearted, with the Missouri quartet finding common ground between The Police and Elvis Costello. Totally listenable, but also inconsequential. Still, don't you want that in your pop songs?

Grade: B

7. Colin Meloy - "We Both Go Down Together"

Download: Colin Meloy - "We Both Go Down Together"

A live rendition of a track from Picaresque that's nearly identical--though its performed solely by Meloy--to the recorded version. Even though this version may be slightly unnecessary, the tale of a love affair between a plebe and an aristocrat still charms.

Grade: B

8. Foals - "Balloons"

Download: Foals - "Balloons"

Foals may be, in essence, commercialized dance-punk (I mean, more than it has been), but the Oxford quartet does write propulsive, cymbol-heavy catchy songs that should get most people out the dance floor. That said, this is music that holds up best upon first listen, and not necessarily subsequent ones.

Grade: B-

9. The Lovely Sparrows - "Department of Foreseeable Outcomes"

Download: The Lovely Sparrows - "Department of Foreseeable Outcomes"

The Lovely Sparrows are an Austin, TX-based folk-pop group who will release their first album soon. A group that sounds like an amalgam of Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, and Destroyer, should probably blow my mind, but the band fails to distinguish itself from its influences with this plaintive folk number.

Grade: C+

10. The Breeders - "Bang On"

Download: The Breeders - "Bang On"

This Mountain Battles song still plays like a groove in search of a song skeletal. As with last time: what a waste of a perfectly good white girl's idea of funk.

Grade: C

(Jonathan Graef)

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