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The Shondes

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The Shondes are a Jewish american indie punk band from Brooklyn, New York.


The Shondes formed in 2006 after violinist Elijah Oberman and bassist Louisa Rachel Solomon's former band broke up. They recruited guitarist Ian Brannigan, a friend they had met while the three attended The New School in Greenwich Village as undergraduates, and drummer Temim Fruchter whom the three had met while protesting the Republican National Convention in 2004.

Two demo EPs were distributed on national tours in summer 2006 and spring 2007.

The Shondes self-released their debut LP The Red Sea on January 8, 2008. It was recorded at Studio G in Brooklyn and produced by Tony Maimone of Pere Ubu and They Might Be Giants. [1] The album features guest appearances by Brian Dewan on keyboards[2] and was met with positive reviews. [3]

The Red Sea features the song "I Watched the Temple Fall", one of the first songs the band wrote together, which arose from conversations about the meaning of the Jewish holiday Tisha B'Av.[1] The members of the band work with the New York City activist group Jews Against the Occupation,[4] an organization "advocating peace through justice for Palestine and Israel." [5]

Heeb Magazine said that The Shondes' mix of confrontational political punk and Jewish music created "a powerful new sound" and included Fruchter as one of "the Heeb 100" in 2007, [6] while the magazine's blog asserted that in the contemporary Jewish music scene "it is quite possible that the The Shondes are making the only music that truly matters" and called The Red Sea "the most anticipated Jewish record of the year." [7] Almost since its inception,[8] the band has stirred controversy for the members' outspoken radical politics, particularly those centered around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.[9]

They have shared the stage with Electrelane, Erase Errata, Amy Ray, Joe Lally (Fugazi), Mecca Normal, Lesbians on Ecstasy, and others.

In the fall of 2008, the band embarked on a nationwide tour in support of "The Red Sea". Their emotional and energetic live set caused one critic to comment that "On paper, this band sounds like a train wreck, but in real life they are completely arresting....Old-world romance elegantly intertwined with riot grrrl piss and vinegar onstage...A lot of valid arguments have been made against overtly mixing politics and music — it takes the focus off important things like rhythm or, worse, excuses a band’s lack of talent or imagination. But those arguments don’t apply to bands whose politics become inseparable from the emotive quality of their sound." [10]

In December 2008 Brannigan left the band and was replaced by new guitarist Fureigh. The new lineup made its debut at JDub Records' annual "Jewltide" Christmas Eve party at Southpaw in Brooklyn.[11]

In July 2009 The Shondes announced plans to release My Dear One, in April 2010.

The Shondes are known for organizing and performing at benefit events for organizations such as Birthright Unplugged, Jews Against the Occupation, and The Sylvia Rivera Law Project.

Critical response

Complex song structures intertwined with direct, inquisitive lyrics...It's haunting and it's eerie, yet it's rousing. The Shondes are a twisted carnival film noir come true. -CMJ

"The Red Sea," is a visceral work...their moody songs are redolent of a time in the early '80s when punk fractured into something more tuneful and complex...a political band whose music is as strong as its message is a rare treat. -The Chicago Tribune

Riot grrrl radicalism wed to classically structured songs, distortion pedals, clashing vocals, and powerful lyrics. -The Village Voice

Ready for an indie break out....radical politics, inspired riffs, textured harmonies and pure sex appeal. -Curve Magazine

This is a band that rocks as if they just don't give a fuck but has crafted their art in a manner that shows they clearly do. -Earfarm

Much critical response has focused on the unique performance style of each member. Louisa Rachel Solomon had been called "a front-woman to fear and fall in love with."[12] A reviewer at The Shondes' Atlanta stop on their 2008 Fall tour commented that Solomon "charged at the mic as if to push the song forward with her body."[13] The same reviewer said that Elijah Oberman "played...violin with such physicality that he sometimes crumpled almost to the ground around his instrument." [14] Another reviewer commented that "Elijah Oberman has that rare mastery of post-punk violin playing that only seems to come along once in a generation." [15]

Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 Rhodes, Elizabeth. "No Shame" New York Press 7 January 2008
  2. The Shondes. The Red Sea, 2008. Liner notes
  3. Kiser, Matt. Review: The Red Sea CMJ
  4. Giovagnoli, Gavin Paul. Artist of the Day: The Shondes
  5. "Our Mission" Jews Against the Occupation NYC
  6. Heeb 100
  7. Heeb HQ.
  8. Torreri, Marisa.,torrieri,73489,22.html "Shame on You" The Village Voice June 9, 2006
  9.">"No Shame" New York PressJanuary 7, 2008
  10.">"The Shondes Pack Heat and Politics in Atlanta"
  13.">"The Shondes Pack Heat and Politics in Atlanta"

External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at The Shondes. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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