ATTIC TED “Kafka Dreaming” (Pecan Crazy)

Like the punny name Grady Roper’s adopted for his nerdwave output, Attic Ted’s music winks really, really hard to try to get you on its page while it’s disturbing the molecules of your stereo speakers with its wobbly soundwaves from another planet. But those winks are for the truly stupid, the baffled, the squares who can’t understand that a man standing there, violently batting a single eyelid in their direction, is trying to let them in on a secret, on a joke. They just wrinkle their noses in disgust and go back to watching the CMAs on cable television.

But that presumes that Attic Ted is trying to reach that kind of audience anyway. Not on your life.

I mean, who else clearly has stacks of worn-out Gary Numan and Devo and Cars records lying around their living room and expects to interact with society in general in a standard way, not some inverted or cockeyed approach that’s clearly meant to hook only the most specific of outsider? I’m pretty sure Attic Ted is a rare breed, and that makes Kafka Dreaming, his latest in a great run for Pecan Crazy, another gem worth searching out. It’s not for nothing that you feel like you’re transforming into a cockroach as you listen to it, tides of surreality hitting you in disbelief as track after track of angled and warped some-kind-of-pop-with-some-kind-of-“wave”-appended vibrates through your core. Then you wake up the next day and you ARE that cockroach. Spooky.

Applying a one-man-band approach, heavy on the synthesizers and drum machines and chintzy guitar (think the tone perfected by Ryan Howe’s Punks on Mars project), Attic Ted sounds like Larry Wish if Ric Ocasek was doing the vocals instead of Eeyore. (And I love me some Larry Wish.) It all comes together superbly, with Millar weaving his through eight warped-VHS concoctions, each one in need of a little tracking but pretty close to how its supposed to feed over the heads. Perhaps that cockroach made a nest in the pile of VHS tapes in the garage. Perhaps Attic Ted is just field recording those tapes for our benefit. Oh wait – the cockroach is you, your nest is in your own bed. My bad!