Don't Talk to the Cops!/Death Grips
But It's a Good Idea to Yell at Them in a Really Scary Way!
Don't Talk to the Cops!: Let's Quit (Greedhead download)
Not so easy to describe this Seattle duo, so just say dance-pop performance art that dares Justin Timberlake to take SNL into the studio with him. The very silly third track "Murderburger‑-Official Motion Picture Trailer" suggests that their true calling is sketch comedy, but then the "Laos! Laos! Laos! Laos!" mini-chant leads to "Swag Treated Treated Swag"'s "I know you like my glasses" leads to the electro-jumpy "Tip Toe Right By 'Em." And soon you realize that this electro has more pop than most. B PLUS
Death Grips: The Money Store (Epic)
Nobody comes out and says Skrillex-as-Unabomber or Skrillex-sans-fun because Skrillex is uncool. But that's what it is: aggro keyboards by Andy Morin d/b/a Flatlander, spitfire raps by MC Ride d/b/a Stefan Burnett, and crazed drumming by Zach Hill d/b/a you-know-him-from-Hella. Hill gets the attention because you (may) know him from Hella, and also because he's always been a hyperactive math-rocker who carries many slide rules. But the key to this triad is Morin, known if at all as one of Hella's engineers. Excoriating as Burnett and Hill are, the real abrasive is Flatlander‑-the shrieking trills that attack from above toward the end of "The Fever (Aye Aye)," the armored vehicle gone haywire that is "System Blower." As for what exactly Burnett's so mad about, the booklet that comes with the physical is a great help, and anyway, why ask? In case you hadn't noticed, the title's a metonym for postmodern capitalism. A MINUS
I've been avoiding giving away my favorite album, since my list is gonna be a countdown (although everybody will see it coming). My favorite song is "Bloodbuzz Ohio," my favorite band is The Velvet Underground, my favorite vinyl album I own is a signed Replacements album I found in a Marquette record store, my favorite show was a Wavves concert I saw in a crowded venue, my favorite guitar solo is Fripp's solo on Eno's "Baby's on Fire." I'm coming up with these off the top of my head.
The Sonics' Here Are the Sonics!!! did a wonderful job of inventing punk rock. London Calling is more enjoyable, I find, as an artistic statement than as an album (although it did have enough great songs to rank in my top 500). Black Flag proved you don't have to sing about Satan to get parents pissed off on Damaged, The Replacements manged to bring lounge music and the mandolin into punk on Let it Be and, just this year, The Menzingers showed that punk isn't dead with On the Impossible Past.
punk-rock artistic statement
What are your favorites?
I'm listening to The Smiths' "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby." A second ago, I was listening to Santigold's "L.E.S. Artistes." Next, probably My Chem's The Black Parade (for my 1,001 greatest albums list; I'm gonna comment on how it was a better punk-rock artistic statement than American Idiot).
I agree. I'm a senior in high school, so the kids in my class are, at the oldest, eighteen. They reacted positively to "Free Bird" but, with "Kind Woman," they asked me to shut it off. It's all about familiarity, not quality.
Matt Rice, you're an articulate pipeline to a shy world. Which makes you kind of a magic creature. I would love random comments and free associations and reports on what the hell the soundtrack is now. For all the diverse bunches.
I'm midway through Bruce Sterling's Zeitgeist, which, although I was a big fan of Holy Fire and Distraction, I passed on until Xgau's recent recommendation. Well, this one is hands-down my favorite of the three - probably
because the story revolves around the manager of an all-girl music group (the G7 girls featuring the American One, the French One, the Japanese One, etc.), but probably because it takes place in Turkish Cyprus and is just a lot of fun.
"Tom Jones: I want to die onstage"
"Cowards die many times before their deaths.The valiant never taste of death but once." -- Julius, Cease Her
Should note that Duke has caused me to wonder if I should check my White Man's Burden at the door a little more frequently than I already try to do.
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.
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