Low Cut Connie

Call Me Sylvia

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So often when rock & roll keeps it real it sounds, well, old-fashioned: playing to rules written for a different time. That's not the case with Low Cut Connie and their second album, Call Me Sylvia. Sure, there are plenty of echoes of a hedonistic past ricocheting around Call Me Sylvia -- it's easy to pick out the Stones and the Replacements, or the wild mercury sound of Dylan at his amphetamine prime -- and Low Cut Connie pledges allegiance to a boozy boogie that's been out of style since at least the Carter administration, but the remarkable thing about this cheerfully dirty quartet is that they're never living in the past, never expending energy in capturing the perfect forgotten reverb or rearranging their record collection into a meticulous collage. Low Cut Connie just barrel forth -- they pick up their guitars and play loudly, making a noise with whatever amps happen to be lying around. The difference isn't just attitude, it's instrumentation; unlike so many rock & roll groups of the last 20 years, Low Cut Connie are anchored by the pounding piano of Adam Weiner, and those rocking '88s gives the group real swing and sleaze, elements missing even in such otherwise excellent rock & roll throwbacks as the White Stripes or the Black Keys. That palpable big beat electrifies Call Me Sylvia, but Low Cut Connie aren't only about sound -- they're crack songwriters, bashing out big hooks and riffs in songs that are sharp, clever, and funny without succumbing to cutesiness. Like the best rock & roll of any era, this lives passionately and messily for the moment, and as Call Me Sylvia spills forth, it's hard not to get swept into its giddy, filthy joy.

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