Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Asylum Street Spankers: What? And Give Up Show Biz? [Yellow Dog, 2008]
Two hours of live double prove how fulfilling it can be to shovel up behind the elephant. Originals from their mildly likable post-jug catalogue celebrate beer and toking up with your baby in the morning. Tuvan throat tricks augment songs about a CIA agent and the meth-head next door. A few flat old-timey standards leave you grateful to let your mind wander. And weaving the songs together is the patter. Top track: a long, carefully plotted ensemble tale about how their bus lost its brakes just after cresting a hill. "Amazing Grace" follows, then Nilsson's "Think About Your Troubles." Both sound perfect. A-