Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Robert Christgau's Going Into the City


Expert Witness: Singer-Songwriters Endure

New in Expert Witness:

  • Robert Forster: Songs to Play (Tapete) A-
  • Eszter Balint: Airless Midnight (Red Herring) A-
  • Father John Misty: I Love You, Honeybear (Sub Pop) ***
  • Thomas Anderson: Heaven (Out There) ***
  • Steve Martin & Edie Brickell: So Familiar (Rounder) *
  • Donnie Fritts: Oh My Goodness (Single Lock) *
  • Stephen Kellogg: Blunderstone Rookery (Fat Sam/Elm City) *

Robert Christgau's memoir, Going Into the City: Portrait of a Critic as a Young Man will be reprinted in paperback available February 16.

Expert Witness: Box Set Bonanza

New in Expert Witness:

  • The Velvet Underground: The Complete Matrix Tapes (UMe) A-
  • Jon Savage's 1966: The Year the Decade Exploded (Ace) A-
  • The Rolling Stones: Brussels Affair (Live 1973) (Rolling Stones) **
  • Bob Dylan: 1965-1966: The Best of the Cutting Edge (Columbia) *

Dey Street Books announced that Robert Christgau's memoir, Going Into the City: Portrait of a Critic as a Young Man will be reprinted in paperback available February 16.

Expert Witness: A Blast From the Balkans

New in Expert Witness:

  • Taraf de Haïdouks: Of Lovers and Parachute Skirts (Crammed Discs) A-
  • New York Gypsy All Stars: Romantech (Traditional Crossroads) B+
  • New York Gypsy All Stars: Dromomania (self-released) A-
  • Boban & Marko Markovic Orchestra: Gipsy Manifesto (Piranha) ***
  • This Way to the Egress: Great Balancing Act (self-released) **
  • Asphalt Orchestra: Asphalt Orchestra (Cantaloupe) **
Expert Witness: Music Meets Comedy

New in Expert Witness:

  • Childbirth: Women's Rights (Suicide Squeeze) A-
  • Lil Dicky: Professional Rapper (Lil Dicky) A-

Also new:

Expert Witness: Up the Alt

New in Expert Witness:

  • Speedy Ortiz: Foil Deer (Carpark) A-
  • Foxymorons: Fake Yoga (Foxyphonic) A-
  • Ought: Sun Coming Down (Constellation) A-
  • Lord Huron: Strange Trails (IAmSound) B+
  • Beach House: Depression Cherry (Sub Pop) **
  • Beach House: Thank You Lucky Stars (Sub Pop) **
  • Low Cut Connie: Hi Honey (Contender) **
  • Speedy Ortiz: Major Arcana (Carpark) *
Expert Witness: Ladies First

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  • Lana Del Rey: Honeymoon (Polydor/Interscope) A-
  • Jazmine Sullivan: Reality Show (RCA) A-
  • Halsey: Badlands (Astralwerks) A-
  • Lana Del Rey: Ultraviolence (Polydor/Interscope) ***
  • Carly Rae Jepsen: Emotion (Schoolboy/Interscope) ***
  • Adele: 25 (XL/Columbia) **
  • Madonna: Rebel Heart [Deluxe] (Interscope) *
Expert Witness: Grimes Embodies Hyperfeminist Individualism for a Post-Rock Mindset

New in Expert Witness:

  • Grimes: Art Angels (4AD) A
  • Sophie: Product (Numbers) A-
  • Janelle Monae: The Electric Lady (Bad Boy/Wondaland) ***
  • Björk: Vulnicura (One Little Indian) *
  • Grimes: Visions (4AD) *

Also, thanks to Chris Drumm for transcribing this oldie:

Expert Witness: Long Beach Lingers

New in Expert Witness:

  • Aesop Rock & Homeboy Sandman: Lice (Rhymesayers/Stones Throw) A-
  • Vince Staples: Hell Can Wait (Def Jam) A-
  • Vince Staples: Summertime '06 (Def Jam) B+
  • Lady Leshurr: Mona Leshurr (Gutter Strut) ***
  • A$AP Rocky: At.Long.Last.A$AP (Polo Grounds) **
  • Big Grams: Big Grams (Epic) **
  • Homeboy Sandman: White Sands (Stones Throw) *
Expert Witness: String Band Folk Still Moves

New in Expert Witness:

  • Have Moicy 2: The Hoodoo Bash (Red Newt) A-
  • Asylum Street Spankers: The Last Laugh (Yellow Dog) A-
  • The Ragpicker String Band: The Ragpicker String Band (Yellow Dog) A-
Expert Witness: Cybergrunge and Future Electronics

New in Expert Witness:

  • Oneohtrix Point Never: Garden of Delete (Warp) A-
  • Arca: Mutant (Mute) A-
  • Arca: Stretch 2 (UNO NYC) B+
  • The Knife: Shaken-Up Versions (Brille/Mute) ***
  • Arca: Stretch 1 (UNO NYC) ***
  • Arca: Xen (Mute) **

Robert Christgau's memoir, Going Into the City, was picked in Seattle Times critics' best books of 2015.

Expert Witness: Tinariwen, Terakaft, and Sidi Touré

New in Expert Witness:

  • Tinariwen: Live in Paris (Anti-) A-
  • Lost in Mali (Riverboat) A-
  • Sidi Touré: Alafia (Thrill Jockey) B+
  • Terakaft: Alone (Ténéré) (Out Here) B+
  • Samba Touré: Gandadiko (Glitterbeat) ***
  • Boubacar Traoré: Mbalimaou (Lusafrica) ***
  • Lobi Traoré: Bamako Nights--Live at Bar Bozo 1995 (Glitterbeat) **
  • Samba Touré: Albala (Glitterbeat) **
Expert Witness: Craig Finn's Best Bunch of Songs This Decade

New in Expert Witness:

  • Jinx Lennon: 30 Beacons of Light for a Land Full of Spite, Thugs, Drug Slugs, and Energy Vampires (Septic Tiger) A-
  • Craig Finn: Faith in the Future (Partisan) A-
  • Public Image Ltd.: What the World Needs Now (PiL Official) *

Carola Dibbell's novel, The Only Ones was listed by the Washington Post as one of the Best science fiction and fantasy books of 2015.

Expert Witness: Middle Eastern Rap to Jewish Southern Folk

New in Expert Witness:

  • Khat Thaleth: Third Line: Initiative for the Elevation of Public Awareness (Stronghold Sound) A-
  • Mark Rubin Jew of Oklahoma: Southern Discomfort (Rubinchik) A-
  • Sleaford Mods: Chubbed Up + (Ipecac) ***
  • Neil Young + Promise of the Real: The Monsanto Years (Reprise) **
  • Algiers: Algiers (Matador) **
  • Sleaford Mods: Key Markets (Harbinger) *

Robert Christgau also has a new article at BN Review:

Expert Witness: You Should Always Listen to More Jazz

New in Expert Witness:

  • Last Exit: Iron Path (ESP-Disk) A-
  • Aram Bajakian: There Were Flowers Also in Hell (Sanasar) A-
  • Big Lazy: Don't Cross Myrtle (Tasankee) ***
  • Last Exit: Head First Into the Flames (DMG/ARC) **
  • The Esoteric Circle: George Russell Presents the Esoteric Circle (Flying Dutchman) *

We've also added some archival pieces by Carola Dibbell:

Our books were selected for the "Reading Room" page of the Oprah's Favorite Things issue of O. To quote:

  1. THE ONLY ONES by Carola Dibbell (Two Dollar Radio) Dibbell's major accomplishment (besides publishing her first novel just shy of 70) is her narrator, Inez, blessed and cursed with immunity in a society ravaged by plagues. Inez's voice--a fragmented vernacular that is wise, tough, and humane--elevates this dystopian novel in which, after a botched experiment leaves her an unwitting mother, every choice is a desperate one.

  2. GOING INTO THE CITY: PORTRAIT OF A CRITIC AS A YOUNG MAN by Robert Christgau (Dey St.) The legendary rock critic remembers the people, places, ideas, and art that have informed his writing. Pay special attention, as Christgau has, to the women: Ellen Willis, a powerful cultural critic who teaches him the meaning of loss; and his wife of 40 years, Carola Dibbell (also on this list with The Only Ones), who's coauthor of the marriage he considers his greatest work.

Expert Witness: Love, Doubt, and Death in New York City

New in Expert Witness:

  • Laurie Anderson: Heart of a Dog (Nonesuch) A+
  • Jeffrey Lewis & Les Bolts: Manhattan (Rough Trade) A
Expert Witness: Just Rhythm Music, on Its Own Unrelenting Terms

New in Expert Witness:

  • Mbongwena Star: From Kinshasa (World Circuit) A-
  • Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba: Ba Power (Glitterbeat) A-
  • Tal National: Kaani (Fat Cat) A-
  • Tal National: Zoy Zoy (Fat Cat) A-

Carola Dibbell's website was crippled for a few days but is back up now. Unfortunately, the outage occurred while she is promiting her novel, The Only Ones, in Portland, Oregon. She appears Friday night, October 23, 7-9PM at Late Night Library's All Fines Forgiven, reading and conversing with Amelia Gray.

Expert Witness: Canada, Croatia, and the Misery of Sufjan Stevens

New in Expert Witness:

  • John Kruth: Splitsville (2008, Smiling Fez) A-
  • John Kruth: The Drunken Wind of Life: The Poem/Songs of Tin Ujevic (Smiling Fez) A-
  • Amy Lavere and Will Sexton: Hallelujah I'm a Dreamer (Archer) A-
  • Old Man Luedecke: Domestic Eccentric (True North) B+
  • Kinky Friedman: The Lonelinest Man I Ever Met (Avenue A) ***
  • Guy Davis: Kokomo Kidd (M.C.) **
  • Sufjan Stevens: Carrie & Lowell (Asthmatic Kitty) *
  • Guy Davis: Juba Dance Featuring Fabrizio Poggi (M.C.) *

Robert Christgau and Carola Dibbell will be appearing at the Texas Book Festival in Austin, TX:

  • Saturday, October 17, 4PM, Robert Christgau will be in conversation with Jeff Salamon
  • Sunday, October 18, Noon, Carola Dibbell will be reading with Colin Winnette

Carola Dibbell will be speaking and reading from The Only Ones in Portland, Oregon:

  • Thursday, October 22, 4-5:15 PM, Carola will give a public talk at Portland State University
  • Friday, October 23, 7-9 PM, Carola will be reading and in conversation with Amelia Gray at Late Night Library's All Fines Forgiven, Clinton Street Theater
Expert Witness: A Trip Down Country Road

New in Expert Witness:

  • The Bottle Rockets: South Broadway Athletic Club (Bloodshot) A-
  • Jason Isbell: Something More Than Free (Southeastern) A-
  • Wussy: Public Domain, Volume 1 (Shake It) ***
  • Daniel Romano: If I've Only One Time Askin' (New West) **
  • Ashley Monroe: The Blade (Warner Bros.) **
  • Kacey Musgraves: Pageant Material (Mercury) *

Also a technical note: for some time now, the Random A-List page has been stuck in a rut where the same dozen items appear nearly every time you load the page. This was a consequence of the ISP installing some server-side caching software: a good idea in terms of overall performance, but crippling in this case. I've disabled the caching, so the page works now. I've also added a convenient "reload" link near the top. By the way, the page has a couple options built in: if you add to the URI ?xgr=[ABCDE][mp] you can generate a grade for an exact grade (m for minus, p for plus, so ?xgr=Cp for C+. You can also use ?gr=[ABCDE] for a whole letter grade including plus/minus. There are a few cases with parameterized options like this that have never been properly documented.

Expert Witness: Future Is the Proof We Need That Money Doesn't Buy Happiness

New in Expert Witness:

  • Future: Monster (free mixtape) B+
  • Future: DS2 (Deluxe Edition) (Epic) A-
  • Migos: Yung Rich Nation (300 Entertainment/Quality Control/Atlantic) B+
  • T.I.: Da Nic' (Grand Hustle) ***
  • Drake & Future: What a Time to Be Alive (Cash Money/Epic) **
  • Young Thug: The Barter 6 (300 Entertainment/Atlantic) **
  • Migos: Rich Nigga Timeline (free mixtape) *
  • Future: 56 Nights (free mixtape) *
Expert Witness: Chance the Rapper and Friends Count Their Blessings

New in Expert Witness:

  • Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experment: Surf (Free) A
  • Paris: Pistol Politics (Guerrilla Funk) A-
  • STS X RJD2: STS X RJD2 (RJ's Electrical Connections) ***
  • Akrobatik: Built to Last (Playaktion) **
  • P.K. (Park Kultury): Get Lost (H.S.I.) **
  • Public Enemy: Man Plans God Laughs (Spitdigital) *

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