Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2012-11-16

2012-11-16

Lukid: Lonely at the Top (Werkdiscs/Ninja Tune, 2012) Although I enjoy an endless groove as much as the next Afropop fan, my Afropop-inflected taste in grooves means that when it comes to British dance music, I prefer my beatmakers rockish. So it finally is with Luke Blair, who on his fourth and least austere album ventures into songlike territory without ever enlisting a vocalist, although vocal sounds do enter the mix. The first three tracks evoke a Madchester DOR approach, only Blair's fuzzed-up, uninhibited textures, the first two incorporating treated chorales, have more character than most of the wasted singers on that scene. Subsequently, different sonic sets front each track. One thumps, one arpeggiates, one twinkles, one loops atmospheric, one loops bassy, and so forth. It's almost as if Blair has called in has-beens for cameos--here Otis Clay, there, I don't know, Brett Anderson. Not exactly, though. A-

Two Fingers: Stunt Rhythms (Big Dada, 2012) At my usual loss when attracted to an electronic dance album, I sought out reviews to see what I could crib, and never got past the Pitchfork 5.6 I started with. Chicago Reader staffer turned Brooklyn freelancer Miles Raymer, thanks for providing lingo I can spin. "The brainy, meticulous knob twiddler [i.e. Amon Tobin, who did another album I liked under this slumming moniker] might be having a laugh at the expense of his own reputation as a brainy, meticulous knob twiddler"? Keep a smile on your face, Amon. "It's like flipping through the sketchbook of a respected conceptual artist only to find it full of expertly rendered pornographic cartoons"? Reminds me of a painter pal who in the '60s did a whole slipcase of polarized bicolor sex silkscreens--some lovely, some gross, all yummy. "The unmistakable trademarks of Americanized dubstep"? I'll leave that one to my aesthetic advisor Carola Dibbell, who enjoys this CD even more than me but observes, "He's not as good as Skrillex, though." A-

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