Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Tin Huey

  • Contents Dislodged During Shipment [Warner Bros., 1979] B+
  • Disinformation [Future Fossil, 1999] *
  • Before Obscurity: The Bushflow Tapes [Smog Veil, 2009] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Contents Dislodged During Shipment [Warner Bros., 1979]
They get arch at times, both lyrically (e.g., the "surreal" "Puppet Wipes") and in rhythm changes and instrumental breaks that betray an art-rock heritage. But like Pere Ubu, these Akron boys make art-rock that rocks, with chops you can enjoy for all the music's sake. And if their humor is collegiate, I'm a sophomore. B+

Disinformation [Future Fossil, 1999]
Lost postpunk album, more pop and less art than anyone knew at the time ("Seeing," "Cheap Machines"). *

Before Obscurity: The Bushflow Tapes [Smog Veil, 2009]
In a misguided attempt to correct for personal affection, I underrated these Akron prog-jokers' 1979 Contents Dislodged During Shipment, their only major-label and non-retrospective album. So I'm not about to make the same mistake with this one just because my wife and I wrote the liner notes (for free, speaking of personal affection). It's a hodgepodge of course, including several unusually useful live or otherwise alternate versions. But after putting it aside for a while, I find that it rarely lets down as it herks and jerks between free jazz and tight postpunk and theoretical Zombies and the usual array of key changes and tempo shifts in pursuit of what I once dubbed "the eternal secret of the whoopee cushion." The official album's better, and I am a fan as well as a friend. But why shouldn't I be? One reason I like these guys is that they're not the kind of narcissists who'll waste their own time or ours on obscurities or redundancies. B+

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