Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Shakes on Shit Hawk Records

Seven inches are the canaries in the coalmine for the underground. That tiny black record in your hands is a literal tip of the iceberg. There’s a huge scene of like-minded people coming together under the umbrella of a record label and just to get this in your worthless hands. This 7” from The Shakes is a Philadelphia based band on the Shit Hawk label, which I’m just discovering, is behind a Xerox zine, a show on WFMU and the band Dipers? But of course it is. This crazy format helps foster collaboration, it’s not easy, and everywhere a new single or label pops up is the first sign of intelligent civilization.

The Shakes are a four piece of real goofballs, not like the laid back cool hijinks of the Cold Warps but legitimate jokester maniacs with instruments. They will make it to the party early and leave late, breaking and drinking everything in the process, but not without a set of punchy power pop of course…and that’s going to make you forget and invite them next time.
The A-Side, "No One Likes My Baby" has a real bad ass crunchy guitar tone, raised on Thin Lizzy sounding a lot like those screechers from Hot Lunch or even Natural Child. What is it about playing an electric with the shitty grit of gravelly distortion with attitude; it takes a special skill to pull off the stripped apart crunch with conviction. The way they plow through multiple scales and riffs in dual guitar unison with the heavy gated sound are futuristic, tough and are damn good on vinyl. Christina’s vocals are almost too nice for this track, the trained vibrato is one of those punk contradictions. I can’t get over this heavy cock rock sound and the back and forth of Sam and Christina’s vocals, her control over his trashed growl. They’re having a good time in spite of the fact they just barely made it into the recording studio to put this together. Fog Hat bluesy country punk winding up, they just cant help themselves they're all performers here. If you’re worried about talent, they switch up the dirty blues for a technical display, proof they were sober for part of this, digging big trenches in those fields and laughing when it’s finally over.

B-Side’s, "Full House (come over)" goes on to channel a hippie '60s sound through their own back porch pop punk, the grain alcohol exchanged for PBR. Going after this pop sound with gusto and Sam and Christina are at it again trading verses. They can’t make up their mind, the guy is saying come over and so is the girl, these two aren’t going to get anywhere like this. A real nice breakdown, shit kicking section of handclaps and crowd loving, laying on the bass, Christina throws in her two cents again. On Black vinyl, pasted center labels, just for you. Laughing it up messing around in the kitchen – I’m just saying these guys know how to have a good time and don’t have a mean bone in their body. I'm a little worried. Oh but on the reverse side they're fighting? Well alright then.

Contact Shit Hawk headquarters to get in on this, it's just the beginning.

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