Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Firesign Theatre: Shoes for Industry! The Best of the Firesign Theatre [Columbia/Legacy, 1993]
Not music, but over and above the jingles and anthems and everyone-knew-her-as-Nancy, so studio-savvy it's impossible to imagine without music--and even more impossible to imagine without radio, which furnished form and sometimes forum for these earplays, talk shows, and commercials from Bizarroworld. Targeting the bland cruelty and rapacious cowardice of life in these United States after we lost World War II, they attacked with a merciless vulgarity that was itself unmistakably American, spouting puns and accents like the surrealist tummlers and lapsed English majors they were. Although few '60s groups better grasped the concept-album concept, their longforms excerpt cleanly. This two-CD set highlights their 1969 and 1970 masterpieces and picks up the right pieces thereafter. Proof that not all hippies were flower children, and that prolonged cannabis exposure need not lower one's political awareness or raw IQ. A