Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Decline of Western Civilization [Slash, 1981]
Every big-name L.A. punk this side of Samoa gets soundtracked here. X are the great ones (buy their albums), Black Flag the good ones (keep an ear out for Greg Ginn's axe). After that come Fear, L.A.'s version of the Sic Fucks, tighter musically (big Van Halen fans) but less, er, subtle (spokesperson Lee Ving could be Don Rickles with a botched facelift). Then the Circle Jerks, L.A.'s other version of the Sic Fucks (bet there's more). And in the pits three critics' bands: Catholic Discipline (somebody tell Claude Bessy zat zere is no such thing as French rock and roll), Alice Bag (Craig Lee, call your office), and the Germs (L. Bangs: "Bye, schmuck"). Not bad, but no fun. For docudrama I'll take An Evening With Wild Man Fischer, for social theory I'll take Psychotic Reaction or even Carburetor Dung, and maybe you'd better just see the movie. B-