Release Date: May 19, 2017
Record label: Contender Records
Low Cut Connie earned some high-profile fans after the 2015 release of Hi Honey -- notably, President Barack Obama added their tune "Boozophilia" to a summertime playlist that summer -- but the group's core changed in its wake. Drummer Dan Finnemore departed in 2016, leaving pianist Adam Weiner as the band's undisputed leader, and the shift is apparent on Dirty Pictures, Pt. 1.
If Jerry Lee Lewis had been born four decades later and a thousand miles north-east, he might have produced the kind of gutsy piano boogie that this East Coast quintet specialise in. Louche rumbles such as Death And Destruction echo the furious rockabilly assault of a Jim Jones, without the obligatory quiff or preacher schtick, but that doesn't stop leader Adam Weiner sing smouldering piano ballads such as Forever and Montreal, the latter of which moans, touchingly, 'All my friends have herpes in Montreal'. Hmmm.
On their first three for the most part excellent records, Brooklyn-via-Philly punk and rock and rock & roll revivalists Low Cut Connie partied like their biggest worldly concern was trying to find the next good excuse to dump a bunch of Yuengling on their drummer. But the weight of the world is really with them on album four, and it's helped add depth and power to their music: "Never paid attention in my twenties," Adam Weiner sings over a roadhouse garage-soul boogie "Death And Destruction," a come-to-Jesus with reality that parties on the edge of apocalypse. The Connies traveled to Memphis to record at Ardent Studios, where the Replacements and Big Star made great records, and their mix of Seventies Stones (but dirtier), the New York Dolls (but tighter) and Jerry Lee Lewis (but Westerberg-ier) comes with an extra sense of bare-knuckled grit and sonic thwump to fight against the darkness.
The perfect Low Cut Connie album would drop the listener into the middle of one of their shows in some dingy saloon on a dicey side of town. They're playing the third of three long sets and a few cracks appear in the songs, as Shondra, Adam Weiner's beat-up upright piano, starts to wobble out of tune. But no one cares because the sweat and beer are flowing, and someone is stomping on a table top smashing bottles and glasses beneath her Converse high-tops.