Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  And It Don't Stop
  Book Reports
  Is It Still Good to Ya?
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Xgau Sez
  And It Don't Stop
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Rolling Stone
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
Web Site:
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
CG Search:
Google Search:

Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2016-06-24


Veda Hille: Love Waves (Canadian Council of the Arts/Conseil des arts du Canada, 2016) Vancouver melodist quotes Rilke, references Isherwood, reprises Gilbert & Sullivan, covers Bowie, covers Eno, insists M.F. stands for megafauna, and steals her best lines from her young son ("Burst," "Lover/Hater") **

Benji Hughes: Songs in the Key of Animals (Merge, 2016) Jingle king's lark seems designed to piss off the Anti-Silliness League and the Earworm Eradication Society ("Girls Like Shoes," "Fall Me in Love") *

Plus Sized Dan: Plus Sized Dan With Marshall Ruffin (Plus Sized Dan EP, 2015) "My people are poor people/Poor people got problems/Problems with no solution/Problems with no solution," bearded white Atlanta Berklee grad and Sunday-morning guitarist Ruffin soul-croons dejectedly. And lest we doubt their problems are really as bad as all that, he proves it by evoking four dead-end relationships with details so homely, unsensational, and depressing--"customer service on the phone" meets "a pet store smell, an old dog dish," like that--I wish I could just keep quoting them until you're convinced. Ruffin's chief enabler is Atlanta ex-Coolie and pizza baron Clay Harper, last encountered showcasing an Arabic-singing massage therapist. I hereby nominate him for any Americana award you got. A-

Paul Simon: Stranger to Stranger (Concord, 2016) Backwards street gospel, flamenco handclaps and heelstomps, and Harry Partch microtones move and color an obsessive craftsman's insomniac lullabies. But the unease of Simon's new songs runs deeper than the existential anxiety these technical strokes alleviate, and not just because they provoke musical anxiety to do so. Early in the opener, a Milwaukeean with "a fairly decent life" is murdered by his "fairly decent wife," and soon the rich are gobbling all the extra fries as the rest of us hoard canned goods; in the one after that, a bemused tale about a stage door clicking shut transmutes into a meditation on the rage of everyone who'll never get a wristband. Five years ago it was like Simon had been soaking up the Dixie Hummingbirds for so long he'd made his covenant with God. On this record the good news is that heaven has finally been found--located a mere "six trillion light years away." A-

Benjamin Dean Wilson: Small Talk (Tapete, 2016) Somebody organize a band for this Tulsa grad student (in math), who probably shouldn't even be singing his six extended, well-imagined songs about complicated middle-class lives, much less playing all the parts as if stuck on presets ("So Cool," "Sadie and the Fat Man") **

Select Review Dates

Get unique date list.

Enter begin date as YYYY-MM-DD:
Enter end date as YYYY-MM-DD: