Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2011-11-15


Comet Gain: Howl of the Lonely Crowd (What's Your Rupture?, 2011) Desperate times catch up with desperate punk love poetry ("Clang of the Concrete Swans," "Ballad of Frankie Machine") **

Faust: Something Dirty (Bureau B, 2011) Synth-free after lo these many decades, their experiments have more oomph, especially the Hawkwind homages ("Tell the Bitch to Go Home," "Dampfauslass 2") **

Giant Sand: Blurry Blue Mountain (Fire, 2010) With nothing much at stake but the shape of his life, Howe Gelb keeps his slow hand in ("Fields of Green," "Better Man Than Me") **

The Mountain Goats: All Eternals Deck (Merge, 2011) Four great songs, all of which address mortality directly instead of implying it the way the nine merely ambitious ones do ("Estate Sale Sign," "For Charles Bronson," "Sourdoire Valley Song," "Beautiful Gas Mask") ***

New York Dolls: Dancing Backwards in High Heels (429, 2011) Weary blues from trying ("Talk to Me Baby," "End of the Summer") *

Radiohead: The King of Limbs (XL/TBD, 2011) So much more fun than Eno these days ("Little by Little," "Bloom") **

Wilco: The Whole Love (Anti-, 2011) Full-on Radiohead electronica Americanized with aw-shucks diffidence, red-blooded guitar, sharp tunes, and exceptionally dull poetry ("Standing O," "One Sunday Morning") ***

Wire: Red Barked Tree (Pinkflag, 2011) Even formalists get the grays--well, especially formalists ("Bad Worn Thing," "Please Take") **

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