"Elegant View"

This spookily turgid, squealing suicide burner manages to accomplish two things: It makes killing yourself seem like a super-gradual process that never quite ends, while justifying some of the Radiohead references this Mississippi quintet garners. Potent stuff.

"Love Is Free"

No, of course it isn't—but soft-sold, sentimental uplift remains Crow's stock-in-trade, as though she's forever convinced that the 1960s never ended and her 3,000-watt grin and frizzy, bottle-blond mane can somehow make this cloudy, dowdy world a happier, better place. Bunk, sure, but if the Mama Sunshine Singers were to cover and release this as a single, I'd queue up for a digi-copy.


Baltimore's Deathset slam out finger-snap-quick, synth-pop-punk tunes; this one's a rabid pogo where they name-check themselves with all the youthful, caustic vigor of pre-Paul's Boutique Beastie Boys. New album Worldwide shoves 18 songs into 25 hectic minutes, which seems wasteful given that the storage capacity of your average disc is, like, 80 minutes; maybe this is nitpicky considering that by 2011 no one will be buying CDs, anyway.

"Western Centipede"

I'd like to think that ol' Bob intended this as some sort of oblique mash-note to loyal hand/erstwhile GBV member Todd Tobias, who produced and played every instrument on Pollard's new Robert Pollard Is Off to Business. Otherwise, it's just a typically hashed conflation of insect/company man metaphors linked to an above-average indie-rock tune.

"After Class"

See, the trouble with collegiate remembrances is that they're never as pure as we'd wish; even the most golden experiences are tinged with some degree of bitterness. 2008's most-hated-on-thus-far indie act nails this unfortunate contradiction with a languid insouciance, as lovelorn longing plummets into deeply stoned oblivion.