Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  And It Don't Stop
Books:
  Book Reports
  Is It Still Good to Ya?
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Xgau Sez
Writings:
  And It Don't Stop
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Playboy
  Blender
  Rolling Stone
  Billboard
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
  Recyclables
  Newsprint
  Lists
  Miscellany
Bibliography
NPR
Web Site:
  Home
  Site Map
  Contact
  What's New?
    RSS
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
  Archive
CG Search:
Google Search:
Twitter:

Consumer Guide Album

The Mountain Goats: Bleed Out [Merge, 2022]
It's not like John Darnielle grabbed a chance to go on either vacation or what they call hiatus. Near as we can tell he never stops, and during the pandemic he not only put out two matched if insufficiently indistinguishable live-in-the-studio jobs headed The Jordan Lake Sessions but recorded an album of songs inspired by French hellenist Pierre Chuvin and then funneled the proceeds directly to his Covid-grounded road crew. But the mere rockers in the vast ring of fans who surround his giant cult will be pleased to note that after a long keyby spell, this one leans heavily on electric guitars. As a result the tracks seem to coalesce even when you don't altogether follow the allusive logic of their lyrics, although that's less problematic than usual on the most compelling bunch of songs he's put in one place in over a decade. Good guys or bad guys, most of the protagonists here are on some edge or other in a culture stretched near the breaking point by greed and violence that have become commonplaces. The title track is a finale. It offers zero hope that all will end well. A