Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2012-05-08


Death Grips: The Money Store (Epic, 2012) Nobody comes out and says Skrillex-as-Unabomber or Skrillex-sans-fun because Skrillex is uncool. But that's what it is: aggro keyboards by Andy Morin d/b/a Flatlander, spitfire raps by MC Ride d/b/a Stefan Burnett, and crazed drumming by Zach Hill d/b/a you-know-him-from-Hella. Hill gets the attention because you (may) know him from Hella, and also because he's always been a hyperactive math-rocker who carries many slide rules. But the key to this triad is Morin, known if at all as one of Hella's engineers. Excoriating as Burnett and Hill are, the real abrasive is Flatlander--the shrieking trills that attack from above toward the end of "The Fever (Aye Aye)," the armored vehicle gone haywire that is "System Blower." As for what exactly Burnett's so mad about, the booklet that comes with the physical is a great help, and anyway, why ask? In case you hadn't noticed, the title's a metonym for postmodern capitalism. A-

Don't Talk to the Cops!: Let's Quit (Greedhead download, 2012) Not so easy to describe this Seattle duo, so just say dance-pop performance art that dares Justin Timberlake to take SNL into the studio with him. The very silly third track "Murderburger--Official Motion Picture Trailer" suggests that their true calling is sketch comedy, but then the "Laos! Laos! Laos! Laos!" mini-chant leads to "Swag Treated Treated Swag"'s "I know you like my glasses" leads to the electro-jumpy "Tip Toe Right By 'Em." And soon you realize that this electro has more pop than most. B+

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