Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Lee Ranaldo and the Dust: Last Night on Earth [Matador, 2013]
There's a sweetness to Ranaldo's new music that his better-known band would have drowned out. And not only is this slept-on follow-up graced by melodies that band's tunings would have buried--beauties sometimes--but his singing, while still talkier than even the alt-rock norm, has turned tender, elegiac, lyrical. His guitar's mellower and more reflective as well. Perennial alt-NYC sideman Alan Licht sounds right at home. So does the drummer, one Steve Shelley. Play loud, so its lyricism reveals itself--which doesn't stop it from building to the avant-jams his better-known band specialized in and the play-loud dictum was invented for. A-