Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Amy LaVere

  • Anchors & Anvils [Archer, 2007] A-
  • Stranger Me [Archer, 2011] ***
  • Runaway's Diary [Archer, 2014] A-

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Anchors & Anvils [Archer, 2007]
A Detroit-born, Memphis-based ex-punk with a soft voice and a boyfriend who gave her the business, LaVere leaves her wan alt-country debut behind with help from producer Jim Dickinson and a song about killing the boyfriend. Dickinson provides the hint of a groove that his young admirer Paul Taylor failed to deliver last time--and maybe also, songcatcher that he is, a few of the seven tracks his charge didn't write, like the tipsy "Pointless Drinking" or the insatiable "Washing Machine." The song about killing her boyfriend provides the shock that will convince you there's a solid substratum underneath. "Killing him didn't make her love go away," she coos sadly, looking at herself from a distance she's not sure she ever wants to breach. A-

Stranger Me [Archer, 2011]
She has a small voice for a roots-targeted gal with too much pride to boop up songs that miss the bull's-eye ("Damn Love Song," "Stranger Me") ***

Runaway's Diary [Archer, 2014]
"There shouldn't be rules in rock n roll/And who are we saving our broken hearts for?" croons the stand-up bassist on what's rather more a two-step than a twerk, breaking three Memphis rules in the process--size of voice, size of bass, size of beat. A self-made orphan and lousy pretender according to her titles, she purrs her post-blues in her soft little soprano like a pussycat lapping up cream before climbing that tree, which is where she begins the one that ends "Leavin' is gonna rock." Any horndog who thinks strong women rough up their voices and show off their tits is fixing to wind up with his tail between his legs. A-

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