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.
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.
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.
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).
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)?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cross-published on CIMI