2017Shannon and The Clams w/ Paint Fumes, The Nude Party
AprilDoors 8:30, Show 9:30 - $12adv / $14
The band was forged in the anachronistic remote communities of the west, in some strange mixture of computer show and country fair; their music is some odd alloy of The Last Picture Show and The Decline of Western Civilization. The pioneer spirit of western life is all over this band: pushing into the unknown, blazing their own trail, creating their own destiny, with the accompanying canyon-esque loneliness and untamed joy only truly known by those with the courage to pull up stakes and head off into the big empty sunset.
Gone by the Dawn, the newest Shannon and the Clams album, is their best work to date. The music is complex, the lyrical content is emotionally raw and honest, and the production is the strangest it’s ever been. The album was written as one member was recovering from a serious breakup and another was deep in one. The lyrics reflect it, and the entire album is dripping with sadness, pain, and introspection. Shannon and Cody have not written generic songs about love or the lack of it. Instead they have written about their very own specific heartbreak, mistreatment, and mental trials. The emotion is palpable. On Gone by the Dawn the Clams have DARED TO BE REAL. They’ve exposed their true emotions, which is what’s most moving about the album. People are scared to be so real. Society does not encourage it. Folks remain guarded to protect themselves from being mocked, punished, and becoming outcast . The Clams have opted to forgo the potential tongue-clucking finger-waggers, and have instead had the artistic courage and audacity to splay their pain and struggles out for all to hear. We are lucky to hear them get so damn real.
For Gone by the Dawn, the Oakland trio hooked up with studio wizard and renaissance-man Sonny Smith to record the album at Tiny Telephone Recording in San Francisco. Best known as the driving force behind San Francisco’s beloved Sonny and the Sunsets, Smith uses his refreshing production techniques to create an engaging sonic landscape without compromising the Clams’ signature Lou Christie-meets-The Circle Jerks sound. The Clams have evolved: their skills are sharper, their chops are tighter and weirder and they’ve added new instruments to to the mix. A whole new dimension of the Clams has emerged.
Nowadays, it’s exceedingly rare for a two-and-half minute rock song to have raw emotional power, but with Gone by the Dawn Shannon and the Clams have gifted us an entire album of them.
Uck Life is the garage-rock-rooted band’s debut LP, and it’s a balls-to-the-wall explosion of energetic grit and grime. Frontman Elijah von Cramon’s shouts and howls are too fiery to decipher, and paired with the frenetic riffs and drummer Josh Johnson’s relentless fast-paced pounding the sound threatens to blast out your eardrums even at low volume.
Paint Fumes left a mark in my memory at the last Atlanta Mess-Around. It was early afternoon at 529, the daylight still streaming in to the hazy club. But von Cramon and company were long since up an’ at ‘em. Or maybe they hadn’t slept. Who knows? During their raucous set, cans of beer soared above like party missiles, and one of them nailed a friend of mine square in the nose. A girl who was part of the Paint Fumes posse hopped onstage, dancing wildly and whipping her hair about. Within a few seconds she was topless, still hopping around and vibrating like a madwoman. It was the second day of the weekend fest and most folks were still trying to shake off hangovers. Paint Fumes’ set was a kick in the face, a blaring, tinnitus-inducing alarm to wake up the weaklings.
The album is as much a bewildering blitz as their live show. The individual sonic romps are so equally assaulting it’s hard to tell them apart. But that’s not a complaint: It’s rare that an LP is so wholly listenable from start to finish. And there actually are differences between the songs, of course. The title track employs a piercing tone, “Walking Song” shows off a surf-rock side and “999” is dark and bleak in melody like the soundtrack to a midnight tombstone-defacing party in a haunted graveyard. “Sevol Natas” is introduced with a chilled-out air organ but quickly crescendos into Paint Fumes’ signature mania.
That’s mainly what’s so noteworthy about Uck Life. Paint Fumes have crafted a sound that’s all their own, and they’re only on their first album. Few bands are so self-assured and cohesive this early on. One Paint Fumes song is pretty much any other Paint Fumes song. You know it when you hear it – or when your body involuntarily does that rock ‘n’ roll seizure dance, rather. - (Stomp & Stammer)
Their stripped down and bare bone sound, akin to the British Invasion being transplanted back into the Carolina mountains, has so far proven to have been unrecordable… until now. The secret? Sticking to the obvious and going down into a sweaty basement with a few mics, fewer clothes and a revolving door of comrades and goddesses falling by for as long as they can take the heat. Lately the Nudes have even gotten good at playing with their clothes on. However if any audience member feels the need to participate in the spirit of exhibitionism the stakes at the Party will unblinkingly be called and raised.