Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Emperor X: The Lakes of Zones B and C [Dreams of Field, 2022]
Over the ever-lengthening years Chad Matheny has carved out a principled DIY career for himself, and at some level he's proud of it. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean the world has stopped coming to an end. And it also doesn't mean that he's as inclined as he once was to keep up the good fight. Here there's a sun-powered GPS, there DHL losing your furniture, here a hummingbird better equipped to weather the storm than we are, there sketchy Syrian punks who haven't figured out how fucked they are. So if "Our lack of certainty is no excuse for nihilistic dread," well, in addition there's "no need to give ourselves a hernia/The real heavy lifting's for the young." Musically, Matheny has never been more sure-footed, but spiritually he's in a bind. So am I, and quite possibly you. A disturbing record. A