Connoisseurs of Porn – Falling Down the Stairs

So you’re flat broke, trapped in your home town and peeved that you find it all so beautiful. You ever try seeking out “weird” music for its own sake in the post-Google generation? I don’t mean like those “freak folk” or “New Weird America” sweater-and-scarf types who talk about the “energy” and “liberated spirit” of those early Animal Collective albums or try to make like Devendra Banhart is a poet or even that he had more than two ideas in 2006. That’s high school man, that’s bullshit. I don’t want to hear about another Animal Collective show in my life – “It was crazy many, they started playing ‘Grass’ and then everybody was just… JUMPING! Like up and down! It was insane!

Not that I really have anything against AC or Banhart, but you gotta believe there’s more to being weird than screaming about how you can taste colors and wanna roll around in the forest with the dryads and bird spirits. I like the weird – it’s a point of pride and a pillar of my identity that I grew up listening to (and to this day not quite understanding) my dad’s Beefheart records. I don’t even feel stung knowing one day the puzzle will be complete and I’ll take his place behind the pulpit, slipping The Spotlight Kid into our imaginary display case next to Safe As Milk where it belongs, before or after I can never remember… Point is, I’m still in this pupal stage where I can handle pretty much any of the elements of that wacktacular sound, the wailing of a schizophrenic N’Orleans blues bruiser alternately tickled and flayed alive, pre-Arto guitar skronk made for the stratosphere but pointed at the bayou, the rhythm section a constant clatter of free-jazz mischief. (note to readers: I just set today’s selection for a second rotation.)

Probably why I dig these guys out of T-dot the Connoisseurs of Porn so much – the Beefheart influences are giddily in evidence, the twist being a panoramic wash of post-punk guitar in the vein of Sonic Youth and maybe early Pere Ubu (you wanna talk weird!). The most melodically (urk) immediate tune, “Gin,” features a pretty awesome Craig Wedren impression over top what sounds like four irate Bernard Sumners stacked on top of each other, or maybe fighting in a snake pit for enough money to catch the bus home. The band explore mood and texture in unexpected ways, manipulating the emotional connectivity of their music through changes in tempo and rhythmic density rather than the usual dynamic or tonal methods. Harrowing without being overwhelming; stick in your head despite an absence of hooks. Beefheart’d be proud.

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