Inside Music: Consumer Guide
Consumer Guide by Robert Christgau (Image: Kathleen Edwards/Mika/Erykah Badu)

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DJ Kayslay & Greg Street
"The Champions: The North Meets the South" (Koch)
Classic mixtape slams so hard even Fat Joe rides like a playa (Remy Ma & Razah, "One and Only [My Boo]"; Papoose, Remy Ma & Hell Rell, "The Hardest Out").

"T.E.T.R.I.S." (Coldwater)
Speed-rhyming Santa Fe supernerd drops science, literature and his home-ec homework over jacked beats from the classical canon to the Doors to "Hernando's Hideaway" ("Androids' Alphabet," "WWIII").

Glenna Bell
"The Road Less Traveled" (Glenna Bell)
Slightly sketchy ZZ Top fan unlooses her folkie chains ("Outside the Bars," "The Texas Aggies Win Again").

All Star
"Starlito's Way II" (Grind Hard/Loyalty)
Beat-equipped Houston overachiever awaits a stardom he's too late for on the mixtape grind ("My Life," "Living Will").

Erykah Badu
"New Amerykah: Part One (4th World War)" (Universal/Motown)
When your funk is this futuristic, not to say abstract, astrology and Farrakhan sound old, not to say ignorant ("The Cell," "Amerykahn Promise").

Waco Brothers
"Waco Express: Live & Kickin' at Schuba's Tavern Chicago" (Bloodshot)
Old songs for the long haul and damn the consequences ("Plenty Tuff Union Made," "Blink of an Eye").

The Service Industry
"Ranch Is the New French" (Buildgut)
Wage servitude and the righteous haters who are stuck in it -- the lowdown ("The Drudge," "Wonderful Waitress," "Cook and Clean").

Dengue Fever
"Venus on Earth" (M80)
Less Cambodian and more indie rock, a good thing for everybody concerned except Asian pop fanciers ("Sober Driver," "Mr. Orange").

"The Show" (M3)
Masta Ace's theoretical supergroup displays its modestly conscious wares at concept concert complete with skits that add laughs and advance the plot ("We Alright," "The Show").

"Belly of the Beast: The Scram Jones Files" (Def Digital)
Gangsta realist's mixtape ain't his urban-legend debut, but it's tough, it's smart and it jams ("New York Streets," "Nobody Cares").

Lyrics Born
"Everywhere at Once" (Anti-)
"Hella" good rapper swears that this album he'll break out, and then, unfortunately, writes album about it ("Whispers," "Do You Buy It").

Kathleen Edwards
"Asking for Flowers" (Zoë)
I know she worked on these songs for three years, but writing slow doesn't mean you have to sing that way ("The Cheapest Key," "Asking for Flowers").

The Service Industry
"Limited Coverage" (Sauspop)
A little night music about too many day jobs ("They Fired Me," "Have to Go to Work").

Del the Funkee Homosapien
"11th Hour" (Def Jux)
"Cleverness will never get you anywhere bitch" ("Last Hurrah," "Hold Your Hand").

The Teenagers
"Reality Check" (XL)
Imagine a shallower, less soulful, altogether French-er Art Brut, two years ago when they were fresh ("Homecoming," "Sunset Beach").

"Life in Cartoon Motion" (Casablanca)
Emotion in extremis from pop formalist who straddles several middles ("Big Girl [You Are Beautiful]," "Happy Ending").

Black 47
"Iraq" (UFO)
At long last Larry Kirwan finds a subject it's impossible to overdo -- or anyway, almost impossible ("Battle of Fallujah," "Downtown Baghdad Blues").


The Bird and the Bee
"Polite Dance Song"
("Please Clap Your Hands" [Metro Blue])

Kathleen Edwards
"Back to Me"
"In State"
("Back to Me" [Zoë])

King Khan & the Shrines
"Welfare Bread"
"I Wanna Be a Girl"
("What Is?!" [Hazelwood])

More: Reviews | Dud of the Month/More Duds

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