Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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***1/2

GOLEM
Fresh Off Boat
JDub

New York rowdies fronted by an accordionist who speaks five languages

No matter how much the klezmer claque kvells about the genre's hard-partying wedding-band origins, most revivalists favor the musicianly and the genteel. Clearly influenced by the spirit rather than the lineup of Gypsy brass, a wilder outsider style from Eastern Europe, Golem say nuts to that. Replacing klezmer's signature clarinet with Alicia Jo Rabin's violin, they bill themselves as "folk-punk." Although Aaron Diskin and Annette Ezekiel sing mostly in Yiddish, their intense grit, buoyed by tunes they could well have picked up off the street, always conveys a world-weary resolve that will stop at nothing in its quest for fun. Yes, they'll play a slow dance if you ask. But request "Hava Nagilah" and they'll give you "Have a Tequila" in the bargain.

Blender, Nov. 2006