Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2017-05-19


Daddy Issues: Can We Still Hang (Infinity Cat, 2015) On their 2015 debut, this Nashville grrrl-grunge trio hit the bratty thing square on its pink-haired noggin. From stupid boyfriend to thrilling girlcrush, from toughing out the bruise to impressing the coolster, from creepy to ugly to out to lunch in this shitty world, they're tough and trash-mouthed and so needy it hurts. Of course these eight songs are good for a laugh--it's in the contract they believe they'll one day sign. But right at the outset their emotional complexity puts them beyond that and in it at the same time. A-

Daddy Issues: Deep Dream (Infinity Cat, 2017) They grow up, as punk types always do, and as punk types almost always do, find adulthood as short on fun and thrills as they'd feared. So their guitars overextend into the Jesus and Mary darklands as their vocals blur over with distortion and dismay. But the songs tend musically distinct, sometimes sharp and sometimes heartbreaking. "I've been losing since I lost my virginity." "But it's unimportant now / Because I'm unimportant now." "She's a model / I'm a motel / She ditched college / I don't play guitar too well / We're both boring girls." Only then, just when they seem stuck in the dumps forever, they stick a "Boys of Summer" cover in Don Henley's smug mug. A-

Diet Cig: Swear I'm Good at This (Frenchkiss, 2017) Small voice, loud drummer, big dream: "I want to be the best one at this/But I don't want to get out of bed" ("Maid of the Mist," "Blob Zombie") **

Girlpool: Powerplant (Anti-, 2017) Far be it from me to encourage punky minimalists to Learn Their Instruments on the path to Peace Through Art or Big Bucks. Too often that's a not-so-shortcut to sterile formalism or creepy-crawly commercialism. Yet the dream-pop these Philly-based Angeleno BFFs have worked up achieves a surprising softness, vulnerability, dynamic range, and melodicism. Cleo Tucker's guitar articulates and Harmony Tividad's bass complicates as some guy named Miles bangs the drums supportively. The only hitch is all the Explore Your Poeticism. More "You'll build him a tower and he'll burn you a bridge," please. I want to know what you're driving at, meandering toward, or both. B+

Hurray for the Riff Raff: Navigator (ATO, 2017) Bronx Puerto Rican emigrates to New Orleans, where she crystallizes a rock group fit to declaim her story ("Living in the City," "Pa'lante," "Rican Beach") ***

I Am the Polish Army: My Old Man (self-released, 2017) Her emotions too strong for punk speed or indie irony, Emma DeCorsey rocks the way she feels, the old-fashioned way ("My Old Man, "Throat") *

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