At long last alt-rock
Vampire Weekend: Modern Vampires of the City (XL)
Think maybe this is overworked? Think maybe the hosannas are reflexive, generalized? I did, and then I didn't. So now think Paul Simon instead if you insist, admittedly a great album. But Sgt. Pepper is a truer precedent, to wit: if you're smart you say where's the rebop, only if you're smarter you quickly figure out that maybe sustaining groove and unfailing exuberance don't matter as much as you believed. Each verse/chorus/bridge/intro melody, each lyric straight or knotty, each sound effect playful or perverse (or both)‑-each is pleasurable in itself and aptly situated in the sturdy songs and tracks, so that the whole signifies without a hint of concept. And crucially, the boy-to-man themes you'd figure come with several twists I've noticed so far and more no doubt to come. One is simply a right-on credo: "Age is an honor‑-it's still not the truth." Another is how much time Ezra Koenig spends wrestling a Jahweh-like hard case. The Big Guy comes out on the short end of a fight song called "Unbelievers," and a DJ "spinning `Israelites' into `Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown'" gives Him a nasty turn. But Koenig claims no permanent victory. Too smart. Too much a man, too. A PLUS
Deerhunter: Monomania (4AD)
Consider me converted, at least until Bradford Cox lurches off in yet another direction. Here he opts for the kind of lo-fi garage scuzz that's always said to come bearing melodic emoluments and seldom does except in its punker forms‑-and now this progger one. Well into its 12 songs in 43 minutes, the tunes maintain as reliably as classic Ramones, one after another after another. Not that they're nearly as neat‑-there's distortion everywhere, vocalsguitarskeyboardsnotessounds. But for once the distortion just adds savor the way it's supposed to, as do the three trickier and less ingratiating ear-stickers that close. As for themes, whaddaya think? He's alienated, heartsick, confused. OK, fella. Just keep putting that time in at the garage. A
Ding ding! Robert Dial Jr, you get a trophy and a wet kiss!
Also, from now on I'm rating all music I hear on googlefritz alone.
Can't wait to hear it.
I'm probably not addressing your point, but I fall into the camp where I believe it doesn't matter.
I mostly use Xgau's reviews/grades as a reference point, not the final word (that belongs to me). Considering he has been on point for decades, I can trust what I should listen to versus what I should avoid. Now of course I don't always agree; sometimes my frustration comes out as missing a great record that deserves a better grade. Sometimes he misses the mark on certain influential hip hop records (I'll agree Chronic and Straight Outta C are bad). I'll consult some other resources on supposed great albums and make my own assessment about them.
For me, Contra not having a + ain't a big deal. If he ever did a CG book again for this decade in 2020, maybe he will bump it up to it like he did Born in the USA and Sign O The Times.
Or hey maybe MVotC will drop to just an A over time, which I assume Neon Bible and Fishscale would be at with a revision (eventhough I cherish both albums). It's a great album, I have it pegged at a solid A-, maybe A. Still needs more listens. Contra is around the same area.
I hope before Xgau retires, he'll publish a core collection book covering his favorite picks for all the decades he has written. Maybe in an autobiographical style, would be a good way to go out, no?
Have a good night Ryan.
And now I got to have a good laugh, by reading about the song on Wikipedia. The whole entry is good, but the last line is particularly delicious.
A more comic-devoted friend just bopped me upside the email head about the "end" of the traditional Superman and said, "hey, goofus, they actually did that":
this was about 15 years after I stopped paying attention to mainstream comics.
About Supe, though, I've long argued that cartoon and comic book characters often come to a natural end and should simply vanish at that time. (Though it's so hard to come up with excellent new ones, I understand the temptation to recycle.)
I felt Superman came to an end in the '60s with the "crazy" Superman stories (Bizarro World and so forth). In fact, I think he transformed into Wonder Wart-Hog, who has himself vanished and returned a couple times, to much better effect than Superman. Probably because he's not a corporate slave.
The new Superman costume doesn't have red underpants any more!
What is WRONG with this country?????
Killing a few minutes yesterday at Newbury Comics, I picked up a copy of Pere Ubu, *Live at the Longhorn April 1, 1978* (I mean, no matter how bad it sounds, gotta check it out)
And now I find it won't be released for like three weeks!
Is this the new brick-and-mortar marketing strategy -- make sure the store gets it well before you can order on-line?????
about the blogger
Starting in 1967, Robert Christgau has covered popular music for The Village Voice, Esquire, Blender, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He teaches in New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, maintains a comprehensive website at robertchristgau.com, and has published five books based on his journalism. He has written for MSN Music since 2006.
live local music on
Enter your ZIP code to see concerts happening in your area.
Data provided by Zvents