Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2012-10-26


Carsie Blanton: Idiot Heart (Carsie Blanton, 2012) Clever gal will sell you impeccably catchy collection of coy songs about her sexual peccadillos for whatever you think they're worth ("Chicken," "Little Death") **

Carole King: The Legendary Demos (Rockingale/Hear Music, 2012) Just '60s reference tracks, many piano-only, but the young mother sings the words, especially the ones she didn't write, with such innocence and hope ("Take Good Care of My Baby," "So Goes Love") *

Jens Lekman: I Know What Love Isn't (Secretly Canadian, 2012) Lost affair leaves him mooning, melodic as ever but too crestfallen to do anything about it ("The World Moves On," "The End of the World Is Bigger Than Love") ***

John Mayer: Born and Raised (Columbia, 2012) Grammy-crushing craftsmen can be damned good at saying something in 80 words or thereabouts--say 61, or 116 ("Love Is a Verb," "Speak for Me") ***

JD McPherson: Signs & Signifiers (Rounder/Histyle, 2012) Reformed Oklahoma art teacher nails rockabilly originals like he's writing haikus ("North Side Gal," "Signs & Signifiers") ***

Roxanne Potvin: Play (Black Hen, 2011) Clean-cut Canadienne tops shows of intelligence with novelty cover ("I'm Too Sexy," "Barricades") **

Stew & the Negro Problem: Making It (TNP, 2012) Back to writing show-tunes-sans-show--rock and roll show tunes, sometimes, but always set pieces ("Black Men Ski," "Speed") **

M. Ward: A Wasteland Companion (Merge, 2012) Sad singer-songwriter loses his marbles one marble at a time--says so himself ("Primitive Girl," "Clean Slate (For Alex and El Goodo") **

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