Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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It's the New York chauvinist in me that loves Wish You Were Here: Love Songs to New York (Village Voice), not the employee of the newspaper that's donating the net proceeds to the September 11 Fund. A third of the 18 selections explicitly reference the disaster, including revamped Moe Tucker and Peter Stampfel songs and ex-Slit Ari Upp's kiddie-choir rewrite of the Cookies' "Don't Say Nothing Bad About My Baby," and all reflect it. While only Andrew W.K.'s "I Love NYC" feels like an anthem, the songs rarely settle for competence and always reinforce each other. Muslim artists from Senegal and Egypt are in the house, along with Indian Brits and white Brits and New York polyglots. Much as I love the Moby technohymn that opens, my favorite moment comes just when you'd think Matthew Shipp's "Amazing Grace" is gonna say amen--and up pops an ugly piece of techno noise by unknown Lenny Dee. The title: "Extreme Terror." Us New Yorkers prefer to to look death in the eye.


One New York band with a knack for terror is the supple, vocalless guitar-bass-drums trio Big Lazy. On their eponymous CD (Tasankee, Box 220-303, Brooklyn NY 11222, biglazy@walrus.com) they conjure dark streets where you can hear sirens wail and trucks rumble. Best track: "Just Plain Scared." They have a new one, too: New Everything.

Playboy, Mar. 2002


Feb. 2002