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Adam Elk

If you're like me, your world was recently rocked, not because of a downturn in the economy or Eminem's duet with Elton John, but because Elton John won a Grammy for Best Album of the Year -- in 2001. For years you've appreciated Steely's seminal '70s work, while your indie rock friends with thick glasses and too-short pants consistently pooh-pooh them as a tired classic rock outfit. You lost track of the band after 1980. You didn't even know they were still around. And then they went and won a Grammy! Well, if you'd like to forget the whole mess and just return to the sound of the 1970s, when life was less complicated and there was shag carpet as far as the eye could see, look no further than Adam Elk. Along with artists like Archer Prewitt, Elk has picked up the torch lit so many years ago by Steely Dan and Sly and the Family Stone and is sprinting toward the Great Pop Song Olympics to be held shortly at a stereo near you. After four albums as the singer-songwriter/bandleader of Mommyheads, Elk has become a solo artist who crafts pop songs that melt your heart while making you tap your foot.

Both "Ripple Effect" and "Hay" come from Dept. of Ways & Means' Labello, Elk's first solo effort. He is joined by Todd Roper (Cake) on drums and Bart Davenport (formerly of Kinetics) and John Vanderslice (Mk Ultra) on backing vocals. "Hay" is pure 1970's pop pleasure, even though it was recorded in 1998. The track's lush orchestration recalls the best moments of the aforementioned Steely Dan or even Paul McCartney's early Wings albums. "Ripple Effect" is a catchy pop tune that offers an optimistic view of life. If you listen closely toward the end of the song you can hear a subtle nod to Elk's '70s influences in the form of a guitar riff borrowed from the Charlie's Angels TV show theme song.

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