Trouble when you need it

In the mail on Monday morning, there was a CD in an orange paper sleeve, with a jack-o’-lantern ominously stenciled onto it. On the sleeve was a Post-it note: “Hey, this is Skinner. Remember me? You keep tryin’ to dodge me, but I’ll get you. I’ve been stayin’ up late at night wonderin’ how I could destroy you—so, I decided to drop off the CD of the Little People. It’s an older recording, but it’ll do.”

Not that this scribe is looking for literal destruction, mind you, but figurative or metaphorical destruction is always welcome, particularly if it comes in the guise of a pile of train-wreck heavy metal tunes. And the five numbers on the CD were a dog’s breakfast of demented, brain-damaged noise—a spectacularly crappy recording, yes, but the kind of spectacularly crappy recording upon which the foundations of malignant suburban teenage devil cults are built.

OK, look: I’ve spent years listening to metal rubbish, from the old-school junk in which singers, typically Scandinavian, warble homage to Odin in voices so high you’d swear their scrotums were wrapped tightly with industrial-strength rubber bands, to the newer mutations, with vocalists that snarl about the logistics of backwoods human dismemberment with all the finesse of Cookie Monster jacked up on sub-par biker crank. I’ve acquired kind of a perverse appetite for twisted noise throughout the years.

So, here’s the deal: The Little People are frickin’ genius, and I’m not throwing the G word around lightly. And though the background sonics—like a chorus of hopped-up hillbillies with chainsaws rattling around inside a cement mixer with the guy who played the organ at Giants games at Candlestick and this other maroon named Martini Bob, who used to make people listen to Cal Tjader at cocktail parties on a ghetto blaster, while outside some paint-fume casualty tried to conduct an “orchestra” cobbled together from ancient Harley shovelhead and Volkswagen engines—are more scintillating than a German shepherd frothing at the mouth, it’s Skinner’s artful vocal histrionics that make the whole savage fiasco make perfect sense.

“We want to take metal back from the assholes who fucked it up,” the singer succinctly put it. “That’s what we’re trying to do.”

The Little People’s next gig is at 8 p.m. Friday, July 11, at Espresso Metro, 1030 K Street. Skinner has an art opening coming up the following weekend (July 18-19) at Toyroom Gallery, in the alley east of 24th Street, just north of Second Avenue, with Pete Bettencourt from the Cuf. If you’ve never seen Skinner’s brutally funny art, you really need to check it out. Seriously.