Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Beats Antique

  • Collide [CIA, 2008] ***
  • Shadowbox [Beats Antique, 2016] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Collide [CIA, 2008]
One alleged Bay Area belly dancer plus two Bay Area lower-case gypsies dub up Middle Eastern beats--and tunes--they play themselves ("Beauty Beats," "Roustabouts [Bassnectar Remix]"). ***

Shadowbox [Beats Antique, 2016]
Struck by this Oakland trio's tenth-anniversary album, which was released shortly before Donald Trump killed Leonard Cohen in 2016, I delayed coverage because I hadn't given them a thought since 2008's Collide and also because I got distracted. I hope they're working on the next one as I write. But I can finally attest that if you're buzzed by the idea of Middle East dub rendered vaster by the complementary miracles of data storage and guest cameos, this is where to start and you're unlikely to need a whole lot more. Simultaneously atmospheric and detailed, abstract and groovalicious, it makes the case for international understanding while limiting its lyrical content to a distorted chant called "Vendetta," a defense of a 17-year-old murderer, something in Japanese called "Three Sisters," and something in French that includes the word "salaam." A-