Song of the day – 411: Shellshag
Here’s the second quote from the barricades for day two of this week’s Secret Punk and Basement Pop series.
Shellshag move on down and fuzz it good, pausing only to whomp the volume button up another few notches, and throwing in itinerant brief harmonies that recall the hidden side of Olympia WA circa 1993 (Unwound).
Now I listen back to them, I sure as Bangs don’t hear Unwound. Just some great slack boy-girl harmonies, and fuck-you attitude, and enthusiasm, and folk bouncing up and down, and punk-pop harmonies that’d have done The Lurkers or Newtown Neurotics proud. THIS IS MY MUSIC! Grunge when it was so fucken great. It makes me feel all warm and furry inside. There’s ample use of dynamics, oh yes. And humour. Some great good-humoured music and tambourines tied to ankles and kazoos and – damn it all, why did I never form a band like this? Folk would’ve welcomed me to their towns, instead of peeping furtively out from behind half-closed blinds. Folk would’ve rolled with me down hills in Louisville (oh wait, they did). Folk would’ve dragged me foaming and drunk on to stages to belt out classics from South Pacific that no one could remember. Oh wait. They did. Anyway, this is shit hot marvellous music – stripped down to where it clangs and resonates and burrs and builds heady clouds of steam and really … I want my entire hard drive filled with this noise, so I don’t ever have to hear your voice again, you doubting bastard. It’s music that makes me wish I was still back among the people of America.
I love these next songs for almost precisely the same reasons I love to hear Daniel, my two-year-old, singing our made-up bed song ‘There’s A Moon (In The Sky)’ at 5am. I love these songs for the same reason I love The Shaggs and Mudhoney. Great fucken voices. Perhaps the coolest stand-up drumming I’ve seen since Laura and Ann in Shop Assistants. Just so fucking crushworthy. Better than a zillion Guided by Voices.
Damn, I have such a crush on their music right now.
This song is EVERYTHING that was so wonderful about The Breeders. I could listen to it over and over and over and over and over and over again. And I will.
Everything I watch. They keep sounding better and better.
Here’s the link to the free Secret Punk and Basement Pop mix-tape – you can download it by clicking in the top left hand corner of the screen, where it says “tracks”.
Here’s what Street Eaters have to say about them:
Jen Shag and Johnny Shell of Shellshag are our good friends and some of the finest and most inspirational people we know, with a genuine mastery and understanding of songwriting that is very hard to come by – they write songs that people will be singing along to for many years. Though they have been in Brooklyn, NY, running Starcleaner Records for the last six years (?) or so, they spent most of the 90s and early 00s in San Francisco as important pillars of the seminal Secret Punk scene in the Mission District that centered around venue/store Mission Records and Starcleaner Warehouse. Shell and Jen’s old bands, 50 Million and Static Faction, were playing head-to-head with legends like Hickey and making buzzy noiserock and fuzzed-out lo-fi pop a decade before anyone else picked it up, and they are even better at it today in Shellshag.