Robert Christgau en Album Review: 'Runaway's Diary' Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>Memphis singer songwriter Amy LaVere specializes in lyrics that are more barbed than her sweet soprano prepares you for. Our music critic, Robert Christgau, thinks she's never gotten that balance quite as right as she has on her new album, "Runaway's Diary."<p>(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RABBIT")<p>AMY LAVERE: (Singing) Old man, I hear they call you rabbit...<p>ROBERT CHRISTGAU, BYLINE: Louisiana-born Amy LaVere gets a lot of things done. Tue, 27 May 2014 20:44:00 +0000 Robert Christgau 60206 at Album Review: 'English Oceans,' By Drive-By Truckers Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>The band Drive-By Truckers are in their third decade playing alternative country music tinged with Southern pride. Critic Robert Christgau says they put out a great album in 2008 then hit a lull. But he says their latest album, out this week, is a true comeback.<p>ROBERT CHRISTGAU, BYLINE: I confess I had no idea what the title song of the Drive-By Truckers' "English Oceans" was about until I read the press kit. Oh, it's Mike Cooley's poetic take on how Republican operative Lee Atwater imagined the male, white, Southern psyche. Thu, 06 Mar 2014 21:16:00 +0000 Robert Christgau 56460 at Sam Baker's 'Say Grace' Is At Once Beautiful And Broken Sam Baker has a backstory that must be told. In 1986, at age 31, he was traveling by train in Peru when a bomb from the terrorist group Shining Path exploded right next to him. The little girl he'd been talking to was killed along with half a dozen others, and his own injuries required 18 operations. Tue, 27 Aug 2013 20:53:00 +0000 Robert Christgau 49217 at Sam Baker's 'Say Grace' Is At Once Beautiful And Broken Marc Ribot Isn't Trying To Comfort Anyone After six years as a sideman for many soul veterans, <a href="">Marc Ribot</a> made his name in 1985 with <em>Rain Dogs</em>, the album that marked <a href="">Tom Waits</a>' permanent transition from eccentric singer-songwriter to truly weird singer-songwriter. Ribot has held down straight gigs since then, but his work has tended toward the avant-garde. Tue, 30 Apr 2013 19:52:00 +0000 Robert Christgau 43494 at Marc Ribot Isn't Trying To Comfort Anyone Jonny Fritz: A Country Jester Gets Personal <p></p> Thu, 25 Apr 2013 20:28:00 +0000 Robert Christgau 43247 at Jonny Fritz: A Country Jester Gets Personal Homeboy Sandman: A Rapper Leaves Law Behind The bare facts of Homeboy Sandman's back story don't sound very hip-hop: prep school in New Hampshire, Ivy League B.A., even some pieces for The Huffington Post. But, as is often the case with class and race in America, bare facts don't tell the whole story.<p>Sandman's Dominican-born father was a gifted heavyweight who quit boxing to become a lawyer. His Puerto Rican mom graduated from college around the time her son was winning his third scholarship, this time to law school. Wed, 19 Dec 2012 20:55:00 +0000 Robert Christgau 37340 at Homeboy Sandman: A Rapper Leaves Law Behind By This 'Beak And Claw,' A Trio Shall Synthesize <a href="">Sufjan Stevens</a> is a classically trained singer-songwriter whose recent work has leaned symphonic. <a href="">Son Lux</a> is a classically trained beatmaker whose solo albums do indeed evoke luxury. Serengeti is a self-trained rapper who creates voices for a panoply of full-fledged characters who range from scufflers to yuppies. Wed, 23 May 2012 20:30:00 +0000 Robert Christgau 26953 at By This 'Beak And Claw,' A Trio Shall Synthesize Jeffrey Lewis: Cosmic And Tongue-In-Cheek 'Dream-Songs' <p></p> Mon, 31 Oct 2011 21:36:00 +0000 Robert Christgau 15383 at Jeffrey Lewis: Cosmic And Tongue-In-Cheek 'Dream-Songs' Woody Guthrie's 'Note Of Hope' From Beyond The Grave When <a href="">Woody Guthrie</a> died in 1967, he left behind an enormous cache of unpublished lyrics and prose, which has resulted in an exceptionally rich posthumous career. <a href="">Bob Dylan</a>, who should know, has written of Guthrie: "He was so poetic and tough and rhythmic. There was so much intensity, and his voice was like a stiletto." Though I probably shouldn't admit it, I rarely listen to Woody Guthrie for pleasure. Mon, 03 Oct 2011 18:57:00 +0000 Robert Christgau 13603 at Woody Guthrie's 'Note Of Hope' From Beyond The Grave Mates Of State: Reaching Surprising New 'Mountaintops' <a href="">Mates of State</a>'s members are literally mates: Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel have been a duo since 1996, married since 2001, and parents on tour since 2004. Their basic concept is two strong voices, Gardner's slightly predominant, over her keyboards and Hammel's drums. Over the years, the band has expanded its instrumental range and brought in guests for sonic color. Thu, 29 Sep 2011 19:32:00 +0000 Robert Christgau 13395 at Mates Of State: Reaching Surprising New 'Mountaintops' Serengeti: Play Your Part If the voices on Serengeti's songs often sound like they don't they belong to a rapper, that's the idea. More than any MC working, Serengeti (born David Cohn) writes story songs, in which he assumes the identities of the characters he creates. Sometimes these characters recur — like Kenny, the middle-aged sports enthusiast and rabid Brian Dennehy fan, whom Serengeti dreamed up on his 2006 album, <em>Dennehy</em>.<p>On the new <em>Family & Friends</em>, however, almost every song introduces a new character. Thu, 04 Aug 2011 19:23:00 +0000 Robert Christgau 9936 at Serengeti: Play Your Part Teddybears: Enigmatic Troublemakers The Stockholm production trio Teddybears aren't really a band as that term is usually employed. They rarely play live and prefer to hire more personable performers to front their tracks. In the past, they've been known for mild, electronically treated vocals on mild, electronically treated dance songs. But on their newly released album, <em>Devil's Music</em>, they like things much livelier.<p>In tone and emotional fact, the track "Get Mama a House" is exceptionally innocent pop music. But Teddybears don't define themselves as pop. Mon, 25 Jul 2011 21:44:00 +0000 Robert Christgau 9314 at Teddybears: Enigmatic Troublemakers Those Darlins: Making Un-Country Noises The three women who front Those Darlins are all surnamed Darlin the way <a href="" target="_blank">The Ramones</a> were all surnamed Ramone. But the acoustic two-steps on their 2008 debut didn't sound very Ramones. True, "Wild One" talked the talk and "DUI or Die" hit pretty hard for a public-service announcement. Tue, 17 May 2011 18:38:00 +0000 Robert Christgau 3974 at Those Darlins: Making Un-Country Noises Poly Styrene: Taking Moral Stances Solo Poly Styrene stood out in British punk. Mon, 25 Apr 2011 17:51:00 +0000 Robert Christgau 2192 at Poly Styrene: Taking Moral Stances Solo