Top Ten Tracks on Elbo.ws Reviewed in 50 Words or Less: 7/16/8--7/31/08
1. Calexico - "Two Silver Trees"
Download: Calexico - "Two Silver Trees"
With a brief, string-plucked melody that recalls the feeling of lucid dream, Calexico slowly develops cognizance by adding a subtle rumble of a drumbeat, accordion, and whispered vocals. The hushed atmosphere of the verses borders into Western-themed camp, but the orchestral-pop in the chorus is positively luminescent.
2. Conor Oberst - "Danny Callahan"
Download: Conor Oberst - "Danny Callahan"
The slight swing in the beat helps give Conor Oberst's first solo effort a breezy, alt-country boogie that is able to charm so easily as to allow no depression to set in. (This despite the tragic subject in the narration). However, this is certainly familiar, both to fans of Bright Eyes and Bob Dylan.
3. Cold War Kids - "Something is Not Right With Me"
Download: Cold War Kids - "Something Is Not Right With Me"
Finally, some truth in advertising in the music world. This track sounds like someone doing the ole' grab-twist-pull mechanism on Ben Folds. So how is it that my nuts hurt?
4. The Walkman - "In The New Year"
Download: The Walkman - "In The New Year"
The woozy balladry of The Walkmen's new song is the second in a row to hold a debt to Bob Dylan's radical snarl, but with any intellectual edges scrubbed off with a druggy guitar-fuzz. Reverb-heavy production touches provide an impeccable foundation, the song itself is merely competent. It never really begun, baby blue.
5. Kings of Leon - "Crawl"
Download: Kings of Leon -"Crawl"
After teasing the audience with a hint of the avant-garde (the distorted bassline iis right out of Bjork's "Army of Me"), the Southern-Rock apologists quickly settle into familiar territory with Who-inspired 2-chord blast of power chords not unlike "The Seeker". Doesn't search high, not does it hit low. Turns out I don't need to ask Timothy Leary about shit. The Kings of Leon got him covered.
6. Lackthereof - "Last November"
Download: Lackthereof - "Last November"
To borrow from Eve 6--bet you didn't see that one comin--(the)Lackthreof leaves me...well, not empty inside. Just mildly indifferent, for the most part. Experimental collages of sound shouldn't be this ordinary.
7. Buffertlibre DJ - "Rewinded"
Download: Buffetlibre Djs - "Rewinded"
You mean I have to listen to all of this? And why am I not seeing Slimer yet? This is some bullshit. Not a bad interpolation of songs though. But Girl Talk is more imaginative.
8. Dr. Dog - "The Old Days"
Download: Dr Dog - "The Old Days""
"The Old Days" starts out with the easy-going vocals of reggae on top of a collage of melodious, orchestra psych-pop, before a honky-tonk breakdown and a supernova of sound eclipse the song's laid-back beginnings. This song is nothing if not breezy insouciance.
9. Parts and Labor - "Nowheres Nigh"
Download: Parts and Labor - "Nowheres Nigh"
Taking the opportunity to evolve musically presented after drummer Christopher Weingarten's departure, the formerly excellent Brooklyn-based sonic scrap-artists opt for a less fractured, more structured approach. A turn to the conventional that was not necessary, with a melody that's poorly cribbed from the Bob Mould playbook.
10. Tricky - "Council Estate (Drums of Death Remix")
Download: Tricky - "Council Estate (Drums Of Death Remix)"
The remix of Tricky's first work in five years, trip-hop titan Tricky skitters with oscillating bleeps-and-bloops for an apocalyptic party jam. Not without merit, but I am more curious to hear the original version. Without it, one can't really appreciated the changes in the remix.