Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2015-05-29


Parkay Quarts: Content Nausea (What's Your Rupture? EP, 2014) The deal seems to be that the latest garage-punk heroes spell their name like the fancy flooring when they put in time on the long-player and the lower-priced spread when they don't. And though I've liked them all so far, I've preferred the quickies. This one includes songs about insomnia, catastrophe, and a shrink I'm glad they can afford, Roky Erikson and Nancy Sinatra covers, and no bitching about romantic dysfunction. The best lyric forswears social media, the worst waxes Dylanesque. Strong from the start, it takes off midway through with the ear-catching "Pretty Machines." All in all: the world looks kind of like hell, and punk won't save you from it, but meanwhile . . . A-

Slutever: Almost Famous (self-released EP, 2015) Two bratty Philadelphia ex-girls take their DIY voice-guitar-drums to LA, where they dream of becoming the best-known rock group never to release a full-length. So the sound is bigger and the songs are too on this cassette-and-download-only EP--"Open Wide"'s laziness, "Smother"'s infantilism, "Miss America"'s alcoholism, "Maggot"'s dirtbag sex, "Teen Mom"'s broken heart. To call their self-imposed limits principled would misread their purpose. These women don't want to be momentous because what they've achieved already was fucking hard. They don't want to be momentous because enough is enough. A-

Spider Bags: Frozen Letter (Merge, 2014) Permanent floating Chapel Hill garage trio promise they'll always always be honest with you--and mean it ("Summer of '79," "Back With You Again in the World") **

Total Babes: Heydays (Wichita, 2015) "Our lives are ahead of us," so let's keep driving and hope the roses are still coming and going when we get there ("Heydays," "Circling") **

White Lung: Deep Fantasy (Sub Pop, 2014) Sex as warfare, self-obliteration as self-assertion, and they like it hard and fast either way ("In Your Home," "Drown With the Monster") **

Wire: Wire (Pinkflag, 2015) More anxious than ever, and they don't like postmodernity much, yet somehow they find electronics musically mellowing ("Blogging," "Harpooned," "In Manchester") ***

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