09 February 2007

The Shondes

When Sleater-Kinney called it quits last year there was a noticeable collective unease over who, if anyone, might fill the void left by their departure. At least, in my own circle (okay, in my circle of one, but I'm going to miss Sleater-Kinney) there's been a bit of a mourning period followed by the wondering. What band might be able to pick up the riot grrrl baton and push forward into the ears and minds of progressive listeners? What now for those of us who like our music to feel and think and fight just like we do?

The Shondes, a rock quartet based in Brooklyn, are here with an answer and their own simple solution: be yourself, be true to yourself and what you believe in, and rock the shit out. Isn't that what music is all about anyway? Rarely. It should be, but more often than not I find that musicians are too conventional, afraid, or immature to actually do just that. This band, however, breaks the mold. They wear their influences, both musical (from traditional Jewish melodies to hardcore/punk rock, among other things) and political (Jewish and non-Jewish Palestinian-solidarity activism, among other things) on their sleeve. No, I mean that seriously. They've walked away from playing certain venues because they try to "make it a priority to play spaces that are not destructive to the communities in which they are located, that are accessible for people with disabilities, that are all ages, and that promote anti-racist queer feminist politics."

No amount of dedicated radicalism would be worth noting unless the music was worth listening to, and to that point The Shondes have taken everything that's been building up inside and turned it into "rousingly glorious music". Sure the lyrics bite and cut through the mix to convey a message but the instrumental aspect of this music is what will get your feet moving. The Shondes deliver a perfect blend of punk and gypsy folk music that comes across as both beautiful and enlivening. From the stomping thunder crush of the rhythm section to the well placed violin and group vocals 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.

It's entirely too early to anoint The Shondes as the next band to take the forefront in the riot grrrl, Bikini Kill, Sleater-Kinney lineage, and I'm not even sure they'd want that/belong in that classification, but to merely consider the notion should give you an idea of what this band is all about. Listen and decide for yourself.

Listen:
"Lets Go"
"The Mother and the Colony"
"I Watched The Temple Fall"

Visit The Shondes on MySpace.

Listen to live MP3s of The Shondes over at RySpace.

See The Shondes live (more dates HERE):
10 Feb @ The Delancey in New York

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