Conelrad | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper


Hope Records/Hardtravelin'

Nobody writes songs that are really about sex. I don't mean romantic "oooh, baby baby" smooth Cassanova swooning, or milkshakes-and-freakin' euphemisms, or even dark industrial fetish soundtracks. I'm talking about hungover, morning-after bus rides, and awkward conversations based around eye-contact avoidance. And it happens for the same reasons nobody really writes songs about politics: It's a too, too awful proposition to suggest the hopelessness of our cultural organization, based so much around these ideas of power and booty.


But Conelrad -- Adam McGregor (guitar/vocals, ex-Creation is Crucifixion) and Jeff Gretz (drums/vocals) -- does both. Not just lyrically, in screeched creek-of-consciousness obscenity, but musically, in brutally physical torrents followed by weird, repetitive fountains, and stop-on-a-dime twists that go nowhere (just like life, and culture -- and politics, and sex). In fact, on Bezoar, the four-song debut record from Pittsburgh's self-proclaimed "glower-duo," Conelrad smacks you in the face with the horrors of sex and politics (and the terrible truth of refusal-as-rebellion) within its first few seconds. "I've made my choice / swapped the cunt for the bottle / we have to move objects around the apartment / and generate post-consumer waste ..." On and on goes "What We Do Is Worthless," while a combination of guitar loops, improbably fast drumming, and pure sonic violence accompanies. It's disconcerting at first, before becoming soothingly, refreshingly acquiescent.


Conelrad claims to have named itself after a Cold War-era defense system, and there're plenty of hints at the cultural toxic-waste dump that was the '80s: a Bush-administration updated cover of the Minutemen's "Paranoid Chant" (that band being Conelrad's closest philosophical touchstone), loads of Reagan-istic lyrical sadism, theoretical nods to experimental post-thrash originators like Head of David. But it shouldn't be ignored that, in reality, Conelrad is simply Spanish for "With The Rad," an ironic description of the band's position as unlikely heroes of the ADD and Paxil generation. Never before have so many been deafened, confused and muted by so few.

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