Home Music Low Cut Connie: Tough Cookies: The Best of the Quarantine Broadcasts

Low Cut Connie: Tough Cookies: The Best of the Quarantine Broadcasts

Low Cut Connie’s Adam Weiner certainly wasn’t the only musician to suffer from last year’s pause on concerts, but it feels like he could have been the most lost. The singer/pianist puts on exciting, interactive live shows, standing on his piano bench, running through the crowd and generally carrying on like rock ‘n’ roll was invented 20 minutes ago. Beyond that, though, his music makes for a particularly communal setting, inviting and celebrating outsiders from the anthemic “Boozophilia” to last year’s stellar Private Lives. Removed from community and concerts, Low Cut Connie could have withered like a first grader’s bean sprout in a closet.

Weiner, though, came up with something else. While he couldn’t play out, he and guitarist Will Donnelly started a regular livestream show called “Tough Cookies.” The show, despite being filmed on a cell phone in an apartment, somehow capture all the joy of a night out with Low Cut Connie. With both intimacy and wild showboating, Weiner stripped down to his most authentic self (and frequently to his underwear) while covering some of his favorite music. The show’s a rowdy explosion of raw Connie, and now 23 of these performances have been collected for Tough Cookies: The Best of The Quarantine Broadcasts.

The compilation gives listeners an inside look at Weiner’s influences, and some of these choices come as no surprise. Weiner, who has long extolled Prince’s influence on his own music, nails “Little Red Corvette.” Sly and the Family Stone make complete sense; members of the band appeared for interviews on the livestream and Weiner and Donnelly tear into “Everyday People.” Other than Prince, perhaps no artist takes up as much space in Weiner’s origin story as David Bowie. The choice to do “Heroes” rather than something more rambunctious might be a little unexpected, but it suits the pandemic season. Likewise, Springsteen’s “American Skin (41 Shots)” might not be the cut you’d anticipate, but reflecting on Amadou Diallo makes sense in navigating 2020.

Whether Low Cut Connie sticks to likely choices, off-kilter choices or total surprises (“The Message”), they deliver. The challenge of the compilation isn’t in capturing strong musical performances but in representing the mayhem of the original shows. The tracklist shows the weirdness; we have “West End Blues,” “It’s Raining Men,” “Kaddish” and more all stacked together. At times,Weiner’s madcap approach to everything comes through. Divorced from the chaotic visuals, the music can’t quite maintain its full effect, no matter how well done it is (that’s more a positive comment on the livestream than a negative one on the recordings).

All of which means that Tough Cookies serves a select audience with just a few key uses. It would make for a strange entry into Low Cut Connie’s work, and it has the standard limitations of most compilations. It does, however, serve as a valuable memento for everyone who went through the pandemic listening to and watching Weiner throw himself about a room throughout the pandemic. Serious fans, even those who missed the livestreams, will likely enjoy hearing this pair tackle not only Weiner’s key influences but also contemporaries like Cardi B and Lana Del Rey. As musicians return to touring and fans return to sweating in public, projects like the “Tough Cookies” livestream might become less captivating, but these particular recordings remain worth returning to.

Whether Low Cut Connie sticks to likely choices, off-kilter choices or total surprises, they deliver.
72 %
A Valuable Memento
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  • Low Cut Connie: Private Lives

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