Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  And It Don't Stop
  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
  And It Don't Stop
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Rolling Stone
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
Web Site:
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
CG Search:
Google Search:

Consumer Guide Album

Gina Birch: I Play My Bass Loud [Third Man, 2023]
As with The Raincoats, a beloved album released lo these 43 years ago, my initial response here was something like "Dig your spirit lady but isn't this a little crude?" But much faster than with The Raincoats--two-and-a-half plays in, say--I was completely hooked on the solo debut of this 67-year-old dyed blonde who now counts painting her principal art. This is partly because it isn't really crude--chief bandmate Michael Rendall of the Orb knows his way around a keyboard and sometime Killing Joke bassist Youth has also produced Crowded House, Bananarama, Beth Orton, the Verve, and Erasure. But it's also because Birch has generated a new bunch of songs, which like the production and even her Raincoats features may sound casual but in fact are honed. Between the declarative "I Play My Bass Loud" opener and the loopy "Let's Go Crazy" closer she whispers "I'm a bubbling cauldron of rage," caps "Big Mouth" with an apologetic "Now we're all upset," makes clear that "Pussy Riot" is more than just a band, calmly asks a know-nothing noseybones "Why the hell shouldn't I be a feminist?" and is never more indignant than when she explains why "I Will Never Wear Stilettos" while plugging Doc Martens, brothel creepers, Polish waitressing shoes, and anything that's red and laces up. A