Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2011-08-05


SebastiAn: Total (Big Beat/Atlantic/Ed Banger, 2011) I like my dance music cheap and with a sense of humor, as on this debut album by a fashionable French DJ with Ed Banger connections. Imagine the not-bad Justice keeping 22 tracks under four minutes as it mixes and matches hardish club fads you lived without going back to 2005. Committed to synth squelch and chary of synth tweedle, it's basically instrumental except when transforming Mayer Hawthorne into the generic soul falsetto he was born to be and M.I.A. into the cheeky disco dolly she's too conscious to become. Even the interludes are catchy. In my favorite musical moment, it segues from switched-on baroque to a speedboat engine. A-

Skrillex: Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites (Big Beat/Atlantic EP, 2011) Having blown his scream fronting drama kings From First to Last, Sonny Moore dialed it down, launching a solo career that has endeared him to Lady Gaga and the Black Eyes Peas. True, he does enjoy turning synthesizers into doom dybbuks and hiring chipmunks to sing "I want to kill everybody in the world." But he also gets winning girlpop out of a sprite named Penny. This EP could use the two new songs on the all too accurately entitled More Monsters and Sprites EP, and Moore should stop milking that woman who goes "Oh my God." But when he swears rock n' roll will take you to the mountain, he's being sincere. B+

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