Elk City, New Believers

Andy Battaglia

By Andy Battaglia

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

The members of Elk City have toiled somewhere in a nowhere-zone of indie-rock for about a decade now. They live in New York, play shows to a following that will show up if the set time isn't too late and just generally go about their business with lots invested but seemingly little expectation for dividends.

Formerly unassuming indie band pens a masterpiece.

This wouldn't be worth noting if it didn't signal the unassuming quality at the core of Elk City — and how that unassuming quality, in turn, makes a masterpiece song like “Los Cruzados” even more powerful than it might be otherwise. Simmering and atmospheric behind a pair of strummed and ringing guitars, it floats on the voice of Renee LoBue, who sounds like a hundred different singers without ever failing to sound like herself. She can come across as soulful and jaunty (“Little Brother”), ghostly and flat almost to the point of Nico (“Silver Lawyers”) or playful and sassy (“Totally Free”).

The band behind her follows in line, with a sound that drifts through several different iterations — most rooted in the guitar-rock that used to creep out of college radio stations. (Note, as you likely will by the sound, Elk City's newest member: former Luna guitarist Sean Eden.)