Critic's Choice

Confusion has been a motif of modern music from Igor Stravinsky on down to Sonic Youth. But rarely has Colorado seen as bizarre an avatar of panic and pandemonium as the Springs' own Colonial Excess. After a puzzling jumble of handmade EPs leaked out over the past year, the quartet unveiled its debut full-length in October, an off-kilter opus of commotion titled Short Hair Extender for Hail Damaged Cattle. The disc is a buzzing welter of noise, samples, loping beats and bruising insanity heaped around the finger-tapped intricacy of Don Parkison's ten-string bass/guitar hybrid, an instrument made obnoxiously infamous by prog doofus Trey Gunn of King Crimson. But in Parkison's hands, that unwieldy ax becomes an instrument of sheer chaos, severing synaptic connections even as it meshes unsettlingly with singer/guitarist Bert Maple's spastic, unbuckled gibberish. But glimpses of logic and lucidity poke through the chaos, resulting in a tense confluence of Ui, Captain Beefheart, Negativland and the Liars' misunderstood masterpiece They Were Wrong, So We Drowned. Catch Colonial Excess on Wednesday, December 15, at the Construct, and Saturday, December 18, at the Navajo Hogan in Colorado Springs. If, as Thurston Moore and crew once hypothesized, confusion is sex, than get ready for an orgy.


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