Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2013-09-30

2013-09-30

Afuche: Highly Publicized Digital Boxing Match (Cuneiform, 2011) tUnE-yArDs sax section carouses even more explosively when voices join in, and not usually Merrill Garbus's ("Monster Smith," "Dance Marino") ***

Ben Folds/Nick Hornby: Lonely Avenue (Nonesuch, 2010) "Ben Folds adds music and melody to Nick Hornby's words," which are so much better than Ben Folds's words, but tend cute and pat even so ("Levi Johnston's Blues," "Belinda") ***

Toby Keith: Clancy's Tavern (Show Dog/Universal, 2011) After the anti-"American Saturday Night," he starts sounding almost like the registered Democrat he is ("Red Solo Cup," "Beers Ago") *

Ashton Shepherd: Where Country Grows (MCA Nashville, 2011) She'd be fixing to backslide all the way down if there wasn't a title song making her bow her head to you-know-who ("Look It Up," "Tryin' to Go to Church") **

Sun City Girls: Funeral Mariachi (Abduction, 2010) After 50 albums, many unlistenable not just because they're out of print, "uncategorizable" trio drop what Pitchfork's smartest designates their last and friendliest record ("Ben's Radio," "The Imam") ***

The Superions: Destination . . . Christmas! (Fanatic, 2010) Fred Schneider and friends wish you an ebulliently ironic 25th ("Fruitcake," "Jingle Those Bells") **

The Wailing Wall: The Low Hanging Fruit (JDub, 2010) Songful spawn of Orthodox Judaism and Swami Muktananda seeks divine guidance and/or multi-instrumental satori ("Pineapple/Clarinet/Buffalo," "For C.M.R.") **

Jenny Owen Youngs: An Unwavering Band of Light (self-released, 2012) Loser in love loses label too, then bucks up rhythmically and hence maybe lovably ("Pirates," "Your Apartment") **

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