Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2011-10-28


Jonny Corndawg: Down on the Bikini Line (Nasty Memories, 2011) Filthy and whimsical, a strange combo anywhere, is even stranger in a Brooklyn weirdo who pretends to sing country music--and does, pretty much ("Life of a Bear," "Shaved [Like a Razor]") ***

Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside: Dirty Radio (Partisan, 2011) Appalled by robot radio, 10,000 cellphone conversations, and the premature death of Polaroid photography, she hooks up with a stand-up bassist and sings the way she imagines witchy mountain women do--or rather, did ("Thirteen Years Old," "Write Me a Letter") **

Ruth Gerson: Deceived (Wrong, 2011) Nine dead women, a stillborn baby girl, a male suicide, and whatever got thrown off the Tallahatchee Bridge ("Knoxville Girl," "Little Sadie") ***

Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs: No Help Coming (Transdreamer, 2011) Down-and-out from inside out, quasi-Appalachian style ("No Help Coming," "Lord Knows We're Drinking") ***

Amy LaVere: Stranger Me (Archer, 2011) She has a small voice for a roots-targeted gal with too much pride to boop up songs that miss the bull's-eye ("Damn Love Song," "Stranger Me") ***

Martina McBride: Eleven (Republic Nashville, 2011) Megacorny about the right things, including breast cancer, 17-year-old daughters, and connubial love ("I'm Gonna Love You Through It," "Marry Me") *

Rod Picott: Welding Burns (Welding Rod, 2011) Hard labor and its grimy fruits ("Sheetrock Hanger," "Welding Burns") **

Blake Shelton: Red River Blue (Warner Bros., 2011) Although his big voice bogs down making his songwriters' big emotions sound deep, their jokes he's got the attitude for ("Hey," "Get Some") **

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