First, please refer to my nifty diagram on your right so that I might explain the complex historical interweavings of my relationship with the great Brooklyn band The Shondes:
1) I first saw and met The Shondes in 2006 at a benefit concert in New Orleans, LA when I was there for the summer doing relief work. Since then I’ve seen them 4 more times, most recently in Seattle last week (review below).
2) I got to open for them with Cobalt & the Hired Guns at Chicago’s Bottom Lounge back in 2008.
3) My Cobalt bandmate Jesse Alexander is also in a band called The Homoticons, who will be releasing their debut CD while opening for The Shondes at Chicago’s Schuba’s Tavern this weekend (preview below).
4) The Homoticons’ lead singer, Madsen Minax, is also in Actor Slash Model and created the fantastic documentary Riot Acts: flaunting gender deviance in music performance, already mentioned several times on this young blog. The film features The Shondes heavily in interviews and live footage.
The Shondes have always been a great live band. Now, with the release of their latest record My Dear One, they’ve hit a new level of songwriting, composition, and rocking-the-shit-ness. Simply put, the new songs are even better than the old songs, which were already really good. The extraordinary passion and energy that has always set The Shondes apart is now matched by tight, powerful arrangements that create compact, epic moments song after song. They’ve become more produced in the best possible way – much more meticulous about arrangement, balance, and trimming away the fat – creating a final product that translates all of that hard work into a natural and seemingly effortless piece. Take a listen to “Gather Up Your Prayers” on the Mid By Northwest Radio player to hear what I mean.
Also worth mentioning, the morning of the Shondes show I got a text from my sister instructing me to go to the Crocodile that night to see her college-friend’s-friend’s Seattle band, The Young Evils, who happened to be opening the show. I made sure to get there early to catch their set, and enjoyed it thoroughly! I am a sucker for lots of male/female timbre harmonies, and I was especially impressed with Troy Nelson’s melodies – he keeps in real low in pitch, though he can obviously sing higher. That’s a tough thing to pull off at the front of a loud rock band, but he nailed it. This band is still very new, releasing a debut record soon, and I will definitely try to catch them again soon.
This is going to be a hell of a show. I’ve already talked about how much ass The Shondes are kicking right now, and The Homoticons, a self-described “homolercoaster of homotion,” will be a great opener. Plus, they’re releasing their debut album – a DOUBLE album – entitled Madsen Minax & the Homoticons: Shipwrecks & Dreamboats. Plus, it’s their first time paying Schuba’s. Plus, they’re super studly.
You can preview the track “Faded” on the Mid By Northwest Radio player and let me know what you think. Visit the Schuba’s website to pre-order tickets and tell them all I say “Hi” this Friday!