Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Top Ten Tracks on Elbo.Ws Reviewed in 50 Words or Less: 5/01/08--5/16/08

Ok, ok, so this is a little late. Alright, a lot late. But, in my defense, I did a lot of moving over the past week-and-a-half or so. Not only for myself, but for others as well. As a result, I haven't given these tracks the consideration they are due. So this will be an especially quick 50 words. And the word count may skew closer to 65, or 10, depending on how stream-of-consciousnessy I'm feeling. So here we go! The top ten tracks on for the first half of May.

1. The Radio Department - "Freddie And The Trojan Horse"

Download: The Radio Dept - "Freddie And The Trojan Horse"

This track by the Swedish trio (formerly a quartet) is a subdued bit of New-Wave pop with political overtones relevant to the government of their homeland Sweden. This sounds splitting the difference between The Cure and one of the many anonymous synth-pop one-hit-wonders that topped the US Charts twenty years ago. Not bad, but needs more bite.

Grade: B

2. No Age - "Eraser"

Download: No Age - "Eraser"

Once the novelty of the nifty soundscapes wear off, as they do upon multiple listens, I'm surprised at how simplistic, in a bad way, this song is. Not that I dislike it now--the main section of "Eraser" is too much of a good-natured romp to not enjoy--but maybe the musical honeymoon is over?

Grade: B-

3. Brendan Canning - "Hit The Wall"

Download: Brendan Canning - "Hit The Wall"

The latest member of BSS to make the solo plunge, Brendan Canning debuts a cool, smooth ambient-pop song that, like its antecedents in the Broken Social Scene canon, takes its sweet time getting to an expansive, horn-drenched refrain about life's regrets. It would seem counterintuitive that bitter sounds sweet, but "Hit The Wall" does a great job of proving us wrong.

Grade: A-

4. RATATAT - "Shiller"

Download: RATATAT - "Shiller"

Lovely, and strangely reminiscent of The Fucking Champs, but anti-climatic. I should greatly enjoy this, given my musical tastes toward shoegazer and ambient music. That said, despite the sonic gymnastics, I still felt bored, like I was listening to a segue track while waiting for a proper song to begin. Should the song prove to be very popular, perhaps it will grow on me.

Grade: C+

5. Tokyo Police Club -Tessellate (Tom Campesinos Remix)

Download: Tokyo Police Club - "Tessellate" (Tom Campesinos Remix)

This remix of Tokyo Police Club's (the inferior North American answer to Arctic Monkeys) by Tom Campesinos--hey, where's the exclamation point?--reminds me of "Plainsong" by The Cure, in terms of the instrumental interplay on an epic scale. This remix does a very good job of placing the vocals in different context without sounding to "remixy".

Grade B+

6. Sunny Day Sets Fire - "Brainless"

Download: Sunny Day Sets Fire - "Brainless"

Given how much I loved "Stranger", I was highly anticipating this track. What a shame that this song, in comparison to "Stranger", is an anonymous piece of blog-rock, filled with POPPOPPOP and no other distinctive characteristics. Oh well.

Grade: C

7. Usher - "Love In This Club" MSTRKRFT Remix

Download: Usher - "Love In This Club" (MSTRKRFT Remix)

Layla? Seriously?. Whatever gets me dancing, I guess. Daft Punk would be proud.

Grade: B

8. This Is The Ivy League - "The Richest Kids"

Download: This is the Ivy League - "The Richest Kids"

This is like being strangled by twee cute and vintage 60s pop. Certainly catchy, and well-crafted. But on the other hand, Belle & Sebastian, or maybe The Zombies, should sue. That said, am I going to have this song's chorus stuck in my head the rest of the day? Survey says...

Grade: C+

9. Mates of State - "My Only Offer"

Download: Mates of State - "My Only Offer"

Speaking of adorable overload, here come Mates of State. Again, well-crafted, and certainly melodic, but also hardly distinctive. But also again: Will I the chorus of this song alternate in my head with the Ivy League? Survey says...

Grade: B-

10. Four Tet - DJ Mix

Download: Four Tet - "DJ Mix"

This is actually pretty awesome, but I more than understand if you don't have the time to listen to it. Still, this makes for a hell of a soundtrack for walking in the city.

Grade: A-

(Jonathan Graef)

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