Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Robert Christgau's Is It Still Good to Ya?



New questions and answers on Tuesday, August 21: Xgau Sez.

Expert Witness: Methodist Hospital's Goofy Apocalypse

New in Expert Witness:

  • Methodist Hospital: Giants (self-released) A-
  • Rolling Blackouts C.F.: Hope Downs (Sub Pop) B+
  • Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks: Sparkle Hard (Matador) ***
  • Low Cut Connie: "Dirty Pictures" (Part 2) (Contender) **
  • Young Fathers: Cocoa Sugar (Ninja Tune) **
  • Okkervil River: In the Rainbow Rain (ATO) *
  • Eyelids: or (Jealous Butcher/Schizophrenic) *


Expert Witness: Amanda Shires's Powers of Observation

New in Expert Witness:

  • Amanda Shires: To the Sunset (Silver Knife) A-
  • Lori McKenna: The Tree (CN/Thirty Tigers) B+
  • Sarah Shook & the Disarmers: Years (Bloodshot) **
  • Ashley Monroe: Sparrow (Warner Bros.) *

The second batch of answers to Xgau Sez was posted on Tuesday, at the top of the usual page.

Expert Witness: Three Cutting, Politically Minded Records

New in Expert Witness:

  • Chicago Farmer: Quarter Past Tonight ( A-
  • AD the Voice: Maxi-Single (Statik Entertainment) A-
  • American Aquarium: Things Change (New West) B+

Expect a second batch of answers to Xgau Sez sometime Tuesday. It will be posted at the top of the usual page.

Expert Witness: Elza Soares's Disruptive Brilliance

New in Expert Witness:

  • Elza Soares: Deus É Mulher (Deck) A-
  • Tom Zé: Sem Você Não A (Irara) B+
  • Iara Rennó: Arca (YB Music) ***
  • Tom Zé: Tribunal do Feicebuque (Irara) ***
  • Iara Rennó: Flecha (YB Music) *

We've done a partial update of the website. This includes a page for Robert Christgau's new essay collection to be published October 26 by Duke University Press: Is It Still Good to Ya? Fifty Years of Rock Criticism 1967-2017. The book contract requires that we embargo 70% of the book's content for three months before and two years after publication, so you will notice that a number of essays (59) will now link to the book page.

These changes are happening at a time when lots of things on the website are in process of being revamped, so it's quite possible for a partial update to introduce new bugs. If you encounter any problems, please notify the webmaster.

Xgau Sez

The first batch of answers to Xgau Sez have been posted. Some style issues are still up in the air, but that link will always get you the latest answers.

You can ask a question using this form.

Expert Witness: SOPHIE's Sweet Clarity

New in Expert Witness:

  • Sophie: Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides (Transgressive/Future Classic) A-
  • Beats Antique: Shadowbox (Beats Antique) A-
  • DJ Koze: Knock Knock (Pampa) **
  • Allen Ravenstine: Waiting for the Bomb (Morphius/MVD) *

We're setting up a new section where Robert Christgau will be answering questions from readers. To submit a question, use this form. Current plan is to post first set of Q&A on Tuesday, July 24.

Christgau has a new book coming out in October from Duke University Press: Is It Still Good to Ya? Fifty Years of Rock Criticism 1967-2017. You can order a copy at Indie Bound or your preferred book retailer.

Expert Witness: G.O.O.D. Music's Good (and Less Good) Music)

New in Expert Witness:

  • Pusha T: Daytona (G.O.O.D. Music) A
  • Tierra Whack: Whack World (self-released) A-
  • Kanye West and Kid Cudi: Kids See Ghosts (G.O.O.D. Music) A-
  • Gift of Gab: Rejoice! Rappers Are Rapping Again! (Giftstribution) ***
  • Nas: Nasir (G.O.O.D. Music) *
  • Kanye West: Ye (G.O.O.D. Music) *

We're setting up a new section where Robert Christgau will be answering questions from readers. To submit a question, use this form.

Expert Witness: Merrill Garbus's Creative Compulsions

New in Expert Witness:

  • tUnE-yArDs: I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life (4AD) A-
  • Courtney Barnett: Tell Me How You Really Feel (Mom + Pop) A-
  • Neko Case: Hell-On (Anti-) B+
  • Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile: Lotta Sea Lice (Matador) **
  • Lily Allen: No Shame (Warner Bros.) *
Expert Witness: Diali Cissokho and Kaira Ba's Beautiful Crossover

New in Expert Witness:

  • Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba: Routes (Twelve Eight) A-
  • Imarhan: Temet (City Slang) A-
  • Molly Tigre: Molly Tigre (Very Special) ***
  • Sidi Touré: Toubalero (Thrill Jockey) ***
Expert Witness: Wynton Marsalis's Smarts and Chops

New in Expert Witness:

  • Wynton Marsalis Septet: United We Swing: Best of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Galas (Blue Engine) A-
  • Moby Grape: Live (Sundazed) A-
  • Outlaws & Armadillos: Country's Roaring '70s (Legacy) B+
Expert Witness: Jon Hassell's "Anxiety-Easingj, Life-Enhancing" New LP

New in Expert Witness:

  • Jon Hassell: Listening to Pictures (Pentimento Volume 1) (Ndeya) A-
  • Jon Hopkins: Immunity (Domino) A-
  • Jlin: Black Origami (Planet Mu) ***
  • Jon Hopkins: Singularity (Domino) **
Expert Witness: Parquet Courts' Sharp, Sinewy New Album

New in Expert Witness:

  • Parquet Courts: Wide Awaaaaake! (Rough Trade) A
  • No Age: Snares Like a Haircut (Drag City) A
  • The Coathangers: Live (Suicide Squeeze) **
  • Idles: Brutalism (Balley) *
  • Bully: Losing (Sub Pop) *
Expert Witness: The Bold Pop of Janelle Monáe and Perfume Genius

New in Expert Witness:

  • Janelle Monáe: Dirty Computer (Atlantic) A-
  • Perfume Genius: No Shape (Matador) A-
  • Lana Del Rey: Lust for Life (Interscope/Polydor) ***
  • Taylor Swift: Reputation (Big Machine) ***
  • Sam Smith: The Thrill of ItAll (Deluxe Edition) (Capitol) **
  • Miguel: War & Leisure (RCA) **
  • Pink: Beautiful Trauma (RCA) *
  • Kesha: Rainbow (RCA) *
Expert Witness: Frankie Cosmos' Guts and Speedy Ortiz's Wordplay

New in Expert Witness:

  • Frankie Cosmos: Vessel (Sub Pop) A-
  • Speedy Ortiz: Twerp Verse (Carpark) A-
  • Hop Along: Bark Your Head Off, Dog (Saddle Creek) ***
  • Frankie Cosmos: Next Thing (Bayonet) **
  • The Breeders: All Nerve (4AD) *
Expert Witness: Bettye Labette's Dylan Covers and Wussy's Spacey Return

New in Expert Witness:

  • Bettye LaVette: Things Have Changed (Verve) A
  • Wussy: Getting Better (Shake It) A
  • Wussy: What Heaven Is Like (Shake It) A-
Expert Witness: The Complexity of Mount Eerie's Survival Record

New in Expert Witness:

  • Mount Eerie: Now Only (P.W. Elverum & Sun) A
  • Ry Cooder: The Prodigal Son (Fantasy) A-
  • Jeffrey Lewis and the Deposit Returners: Works by Tuli Kupferberg (1923-2010) (Don Giovanni) B+
Expert Witness: Cardi B's All-Killer Debut

New in Expert Witness:

  • Cardi B: Invasion of Privacy (Atlantic) A
  • Princess Nokia: A Girl Cried Red (self-released) B+
  • Roc Marciano: RR2: The Bitter Dose (Marci Enterprises) ***
  • Migos: Culture II (QC/Motown/Capitol) *
Expert Witness: The Late-Career Clarity of Willie Nelson and John Prine

New in Expert Witness:

  • Willie Nelson: Last Man Standing (Legacy) A
  • John Prine: The Tree of Forgiveness (Oh Boy) A-
  • William Bell: This Is Where I Live (Stax) ***
  • Elvin Bishop: Elvin Bishop's Big Fun Trio (Alligator) ***
  • Pops Staples: Don't Lose This (dBpm) **
  • Derek Smalls: Small Change (Twanky/BMG) *
Expert Witness: The Country Craft of Tyler Childers and Ashley McBride

New in Expert Witness:

  • Tyler Childers: Purgatory (Hickman Holler) A-
  • Ashley McBryde: Girl Going Nowhere (Atlantic) B+
  • Chris Janson: Everybody (Warner Music Nashville) **
  • Tim McGraw & Faith Hill: The Rest of Our Life (Arista) **
  • Thomas Rhett: Life Changes (Valory Music) *

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