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Song of the day – 461: Shellshag (+ bonus album review)

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Shellshag live

Fuck man. There’s a new Shellshag album out.

They cover ‘Teenage Kicks’ and it’s not an embarrassment. It’s not on YouTube motherfuckers and Q Magazine writers. You’re going to have to use your imagination, or something.


They cover an INXS song and don’t make it sound like a preening parade of badly-rinsed hair gel and 80s rock ‘licks’. Indeed, they make it sound like Sebadoh or someone, which makes me wonder momentarily whether Sebadoh or someone secretly once wanted to sound like INXS. It’s at the bottom of the jam jar doubling as a whiskey glass. It’s in the plaintive reach of the kick drum. It’s in the way the vocals … wait, this one is on YouTube. Here. Knock yourself out. Mystery and fire and poison chalices.

Fuck. It’s my heart that’s glowing white.

They cover Shotwell’s ‘Wait Til Yesterday’. I have no idea what this means. It’s glorious but it’s still no ‘Little Birdy’. This is, and it feels like that every night I fall asleep and my waking dreams are more wonderful than my sleeping dreams and that, everywhere I turn, The Breeders and Lou and Jason are still all playing songs for me, every second of the day, every severed tendon. This is, and this is:

I want to fuck the world and make love to its remains. Always.

They cover Warsaw (yes that Warsaw, dumb mewling cat-tamed Interpol fan) and no it doesn’t really work, but least they have the sense to keep it minimal and keep it short. An afterthought. Protoplasm. (The title of the 2012 Shellshag album is Fuck Society Volume 1, and I’ve been listening to it, on and off, off and on, for nearly six months but couldn’t brace myself to dispel the magic. Nothing’s changed, but if there’s just one thing academia has taught me then, it’s this: it’s cool to give credit.) They cover Liz Phair, and if anyone’s songs deserve to be covered it’s Liz Phair’s – “What do I see in my mind’s eye when I see Liz Phair,” asked her drummer rhetorically when I interviewed the Liz Phair ‘Band’ back in ’94 or whenever. “Dollar signs” – and if ever a Liz Phair song deserved to be covered so I can listen to it without listening to Liz Phair herself, it’s …

You guessed it:


They cover Archers Of Loaf and this makes me happy.

They cover Underground Railroad To Candyland (least, I think that’s a band) and this is my real Song Of The Day today because … man … because … man … because … man … because … man … because … man … because … man … because … man … because … man … because … man … because … man … because … man … because … man …

Bugger me backwards and call me Rory, but the original is almost better.

Great curators, then. Like I could give a Bangs. The originals of many of the songs The Detroit Cobras cover are pretty darn special but it don’t stop the motherfucking Detroit Cobras from being pretty darn special themselves.

Fuck. No, wait. This is the Song of the Day today. As someone on YouTube put it, “This is a pipe-bomb split”.


They cover Descendents, Fleshies, AK77 rather wonderfully, Wipers … the goddamn Wipers, man, just the band that invented the whole Pacific Northwest coast between 1986 and 1991 … and narrowly miss out on achieving the near-impossible once again, covering The Jam’s ‘That’s Entertainment!’. Fail. But so close.

So fucking crush-worthy.

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