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Indie Rock and Stuff

Low Cut Connie Is the Coolest Critically Lauded Band That You've Never Heard Of

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Fri, Mar 22, 2013 at 3:45 AM
click to enlarge Low Cut Connie, pondering a shower and a shave. - MEMPHISFLYER.COM
  • memphisflyer.com
  • Low Cut Connie, pondering a shower and a shave.

Low Cut Connie is a band that basically defies all laws about how a band is supposed to make it in 2013. I know this because instead of sending me a CD or asking me to review a show, the duo's singer took me out to lunch and invited my band to open for them.

Combustible frontman/upright pianist Adam Weiner graduated from the same New Jersey high school as me, five years earlier, and first contacted me on Twitter because I'm a music critic from his hometown of Cherry Hill. I'd heard his band because I'll check out anything "Dean of Rock Critics" Robert Christgau grades an A- or higher, and their bawdy album called Get Out the Lotion stands out for other reasons.

Weiner shares songwriting duties with drummer/guitarist Dan Finnemore, whose own ditties like "Darlin'" and "Brand New Cadillac" are raucously juiced with American rockabilly. Weiner's twisted anthems like "Big Thighs, NJ" and "Shit, Shower and Shave" earned them the "scuzzball" descriptor (from Christgau) and the term was subsequently (and proudly) passed around in their press milleu. But the band is great on a ballad like "Full of Joy" even when they deviate from the loose-rocking schtick. I would've been a fan from that alone, but becoming friends with them has been a whole other fascinating rabbit hole.

For example, if I had not known these guys, I never would've found out that Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs was a camp counselor with Weiner at Appel Farm, or that she played Prince and Michael Jackson songs at his wedding, well after winning the Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics poll for her second album w h o k i l l. The pompadoured Weiner's a strangely connected guy, and a great salesman, which is why his band has one of the most quixotic success stories in recent memory.

Their two albums are great--I didn't even realize my Weekly editor Ben Westhoff knew they existed until I saw that he listed them in his top ten last year. Their ferocious live show, complete with instrument-switching and Weiner leaping atop his bench to pound the keys, is probably unmatched in all of rock right now, at least until Gogol Bordello comes back around. Every time my bassist sees Low Cut Connie, he vows to steal their stage moves. They upstaged the Shins during a recent Third Man Records opening gig and allegedly made a fan of Jack White in the process.

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