Top Ten Songs on Elbo.ws Reviewed in 50 Words or less: 4/15 to 4/30
Hey, this is a couple of days late, so you get an extra track. Yay for everyone!
1. Download: Sonic Youth - "Sacred Trickster"
The legendary noise-makers first track for Matador aptly demonstrates that Sonic Youth are capable of sounding both youthful and sonic, even after nearly 30 years. Kim Gordon-sung track belies the band's punk influence, but melodies always remain the focus, even amongst suddenly-shifting chords and non-traditional song-structure.
2. Download: Passion Pit - "Moth's Wings"
"Moth Wings," as compared to past singles from the rafter-hyped, college-formed blog-band, features a more carefully-considered variation (more subdued vocal work, less pronounced synths) on the band's excitable electro-pop sound. Maturation suites the band reasonably well. Some of the energy is gone, but if "Moth" is indicative of the group's new album, the passion remains.
3. Download: Dinosaur Jr. - "I Want You To Know"
On 2005's Beyond, the alt-rock pioneers musically picked up exactly where they left off their proto-grunge, burying all hatchets. The reunion continues, but without a compelling melody, the merits of "I Want You To Know" (taut band interplay, Mascis' sinewy solos, fuzz, fuzz, fuzz) don't quite shine through.
4. Download: Sunset Rubdown - "Idiot Heart"
One of two off-shoots Wolf Parade offshoots, "Idiot Heart" revolves around a steadily building new-wave riff, constantly adding and subtracting new musical elements to augment a tale of an "idiot heart." Despite passionate singing, nothing here adds up to a pleasing whole.
5. Download: The Field - "The More I Do"
Axel spins his compositional wheels to create another hypnotic, minimalist (in song structure, if not actual sound) masterpiece of ambient techno. Absolutely gorgeous and shimmering.
6. Download: The Sounds - "Dorchester Hotel"
Chiming guitar chords, and an unabashedly dance-rock sense of rhythm, helps propel "Hotel"'s neo-new-wave-isms to a catchy climax. Not quite a lovely place, the "Dorchester Hotel," but all in all, worth a visit.
7. 7. Download: John Vanderslice "Too Much Time"
The second single from the indie troubadour's upcoming Romanian Names, "Too Much Time" emphasizes the singer's more austere electronic inclinations to help buoy his tale of romantic woe. Another solid track from a solid singer-songwriter.
8. Download: Great Northern - "Houses"
Why does the chord progression and melody of "Houses" remind me of "Fly Away" by Lenny Kravitz? In spite of expansionist chorus, so little else of "Houses" seems distinctive enough to pick out of a hat of past alt-rock hits.
9. Download: Passion Pit - "Little Secrets"
Ah, here's that uber-synth-sound and yelping vocals that Passion Pit is known for. "Little Secrets" doesn't really divulge its pleasures until later in the song, when a good-time disco bridge helps almost lift "Secrets" into the stratosphere of satisfactory listening.
10. Download: Major Lazer - "Hold The Line (DJ Edit)"
Gatling gun guitar-lines and dancehall vocals are sure to have people crowding the dance floor everytime. But what's with the horse sample?
11. Download: Iron and Wine - "The Trapeze Swinger"
Originally written for the film In Good Company, Iron and Wine's b-side acoustic-strumed guitar work bears similarity to Ryan Adams' "Oh, My Sweet Caroline." The easy-going folk-cum-soft-rock harmonies are a bit much, but additional touches (auxillary percussion, slide guitar) make the song palatable.