Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Sonic Youth: NYC Ghosts and Flowers [Interscope, 2000]
Maybe the trauma of guitar loss jolted them past songform, or maybe they're acting out with David Geffen gone bye-bye. Either way this impressionistic poetry-with-postrock is the most avant-sounding of their DGC-etc. product, and either way its avant parts are more listenable--nay, beautiful-t-han anything on Washing Machine if not A Thousand Leaves. Songform guy that I am, it put me off at first. But heard refracting the dusk on the Taconic Parkway or spattering through the rain on Second Avenue, its refusal to distinguish between abrasive and tender or man-made and natural is a compelling argument for their continuing to do whatever they damn well feel like. A