Shameful joy

October 2, 2013
shondes

Brooklyn band The Shondes released its third album, “The Garden,” on Sept. 17, and it grabbed a review in Rolling Stone last week. That’s quite a coup, because the machine that feeds bands onto the main stage of popular consciousness was never built to support them.

“Shondes” means “shameful” in Yiddish. The band, which has been grinding it out since 2006, draws from riot grrrl, orchestral indie, punk and … klezmer. Its songs are radical anthems about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, feminism, Judaism, love and loss of faith. None of this is an easy sell. Its cast of characters spans the gender spectrum — high femme through trans men. This fact has long been the lead of most Shondes reviews, but not now, on its largest stage yet.

Every time I’ve seen The Shondes, a hurricane has touched down. Violinist Elijah Oberman rocks his instrument like the world is ending. Louisa Solomon sings like her soul is leaping out of her mouth. Every time, I wondered when the band would break big.

The Shondes are a strange beast. The Rolling Stone writer nailed it: “Abandon your dreams on this record, and you could get your ass kicked.” That’s exactly what I need in my ears right now.

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