Record Review 

Sub Pop is no longer unofficial home to grunge, let alone the stoner dirge-rock that characterized the label's best-forgotten late '90s/early 2000s output. It has refashioned itself as a purveyor of intelligent, delicate indie rock. Even Kurt Cobain, whose legacy loomed large over the label throughout the '90s and threatened to turn it into a backward relic, seems increasingly irrelevant to Sub Pop's image in '04. Instead, by championing indie-pop and charmingly innovative indie rock from the likes of the Elected, the label looks like it may finally succeed in severing its ties to the past.

The Elected is the latest side project from members of Rilo Kiley, and it dovetails nicely with Sub Pop's new tasteful paradigm. Taking the gentle, jangly fare favored by New Mexico's achingly melodic the Shins as a starting point, the L.A.-based band adds subtle electronic and alt-country touches to the mix. Distended twangs and the whirs of dilapidated machinery provide the backdrop for singer/songwriter Blake Sennett's tales of everyday bustle and desolation in the city. With the Elected, Sennett takes the opportunity to expand beyond the pathological tunefulness of Rilo Kiley -- the computer-generated percolation on "Go On" would have been unthinkable within Rilo Kiley's country-leaning indie-rock template. A surprisingly effective departure for Sennett, Me First is also yet another auspicious release for Sub Pop. Just don't call it a comeback.

The Elected performs at the Earl Tues., March 23. 10:30 p.m. $8.


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