Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Singles: The Great New York Singles Scene [ROIR, 1982]
I'd include Lester Bangs's "Let It Blurt" and Stumblebunny's "Tonight," both in a league with "Piss Factory," "Little Johnny Jewel," and "Blank Generation," which open this tape with a bang it never follows up on. But since neither was by a scene-making band, I understand why compiler Tom Goodkind didn't. And since Goodkind led U.S. Ape, I understand why he chose that one, which in truth sounds better than the Mumps, Speedies, and Student Teachers songs that close the thing. In between we get what sounds in retrospect like a lot of primitive art-rock (Theoretical Girls the savviest) and a lot of primitive pop (Nervus Rex the most polished). Although scenes are often better seen than heard, down beneath the greats this one just about earns its document. But it doesn't make you bewail its wasted genius. And where's "No More Nukes"? B+