Song of the Week: “Crow” by Shellac

by Douglas Cowie on 29 November 2013

Each Friday I pick a song–new, old, borrowed, blue–that’s been on my mind and in my ears, and write a short post about it.

This is “Crow” by Shellac:

Shellac — “Crow”

Shellac of North America, to give the band its full name, has been on a short tour of the UK ahead of the final All Tomorrow’s Parties festival at Camber Sands. Shellac is a great punk band: loud, angular, punishing, complex, engaging, energetic. Each member of the trio is an excellent player of his instrument. The really great punk bands have something more than just their music, however. Shellac has been going for twenty years, but the band hasn’t released all that many albums (four, plus a private release, and a fifth on the way next year), and they don’t tour relentlessly, or much at all. The members of Shellac have day jobs; the band is something they do because they want to, and in there lies the secret, though not the entire explanation, of their greatness. When you listen to a Shellac album, it’s the product of a lot of focused energy, and when you see them play live, you’re not watching and listening to a band worn out by the road or pressure from the record company. They play with an energy that extends into the audience, and for that hour or hour and a half, a whole big room of people focuses in the same way on the same thing, with the same enthusiasm. This is community, and its the ability to create community, without necessarily trying to do so, that makes the really great punk bands.

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