Monday, February 16, 2009

Top Ten Songs On Elbo.Ws Reviewed In 50 Words or Less: 02/01/09--02/15/09

1. The Thermals - "Now We Can See"

Download: The Thermals - "Now We Can See"

Eschewing the more direct biblical/political angst of their previous efforts, the punk trio opt for a more satirical lyrical approach ("now that our vision is strong...we don't need to admit we were wrong") in addition to a more harmonic, mid-tempo musical one. A steady effort whose hooks quickly ingratiate themselves with the listener.

Grade: B+

2. Camera Obscura - "My Maudlin Career"

Download: Camera Obscura - "My Maudlin Career"

"This maudlin career has come to an end/I don't want to be sad again." Maybe it doesn't make a difference at this point, but a tribute to the Ronettes/Crazy McGoo's wall-of-sound filtered through sing-songy blog-pop, and executed with a modicum of guitar fuzz might be the thing to turn that frown upside down.

Grade: B

3. Bishop Allen - "Dimmer"

Download: Bishop Allen - "Dimmer"

A pleasant, amiable exercise in mid-paced indie-pop from one of its many New York-based millennial purveyors. Fine enough, but nothing truly revelatory.

Grade: C

4. Bishop Allen - "The Ancient Commonsense of Things"

Download: Bishop Allen - "The Ancient Commonsense of Things"

Hey, what a difference a song makes. By quickening the tempo, diversifying instrumentation, and by varying melodic sensibilities, the Brooklyn-based trio create something to write home about (not that you'd spend your time writing to your parents about bands you like, but you get what I'm saying).

Grade: B

5. Heartless Bastards - "The Mountain"

Download: Heartless Bastards - "The Mountain" (Hype)

The riff is nice and stompy in the best Neil Young/Dinosaur Jr., and the pedal-steel guitar adds great, open-ended sonic texture which evokes the titular landform. But over the course of 5 minutes, "The Mountain" gets awfully repetitive. Couldn't they've thrown in a bridge (figurative or otherwise)?

Grade: B-

6. Black Dice - "Glazin"

Download: Black Dice - "Glazin"

Sure, it's not the thrash-y noise of the electronic experimentalists early records, but we have Fuck Buttons for that now. On to more melodic (if not necessarily better) things for the Brooklyn-based duo.

Grade: B

7. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - "Everything with You"

Download: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - "Everything with You"

Most of the notices for TPOBPAT invoke the precocious folk-flavored inklings of twee-pop when describing everyone's new favorite buzz band. But fans of the psychedelic Strawberry Wine-era of MBV will find much to admire here as well. Either way, "Everything with You" is as sweet as one could possibly imagine.

Grade: A-

8. Laura Gibson - "Spirited"

Download: Laura Gibson - "Spirited"

No disrespect to the artist, but this music sounds like it comes from a winner of an America's Next Joanna Newsom contest--which, incidentally, I would totally fucking watch. (stops and waits for song to finish). Country-esque instrumentation helps add a degree of variety, but not enough for this to be called original.

Grade: C+

9. The Black Lips - "Short Fuse"

Download: The Black Lips - "Short Fuse"

Like a Brianjones Town Massacre for Buddy Holly, the Atlanta quartet's brand of appealing throwback invokes many different musical eras at once while still retaining an element of the inexplicably new.

Grade: B

10. Marissa Nadler - "River of Dirt"

Download: Marissa Nadler - "River of Dirt"

The ethereal vocals and hint of a country twang suggest a shoegazed-out Neko Case, without the psychedelic or vocal transcendence. Still, there's plenty here worth admiring, including the agreeably wandering pace.

Grade: B

Cross-published on CIMI

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Blogger jon jon said...

yo do you have a crystal ball,didn't you just have am appreciation post for the Thermals?, Now they're #1,looks like they got the MFR bump....


9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jon jon-
Flattering as that is, I think The Thermals were doing pretty good on their own :)

But let's try to get the MFR bump to rival the Colbert Bump!


10:53 AM  

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