The Shondes

January 24th, 2008: As seen on Archive (PDF)

Who? Elijah Oberman (fiddle), Ian Brannigan (guitar), Louisa Rachel Solomon (bass) and Temim Fruchter (drums) is a band bent on putting politics back in punk. Just a year out from their union in college, the foursome caught the crest of a foamy blogger-hype wave without so much as a single pressed. Their self-released LP, The Red Sea, is out now.

What’s the Deal? Shonde is Yiddish for ‘shame’, or a ‘disgrace’, a concept of which they readily embrace, twist and reincorporate in their tales of queer and Jewish identity trappings. “Being something ‘shameful,’ to your family, to your culture or whatever for your identity or your beliefs, that’s something that’s pretty real for each of us…and a lot of people out there. But it’s also an opportunity to reclaim that, be proud, have fun, laugh at ourselves and laugh off the people who make us feel that way,” Oberman tells When these four take the ideology to the amps, things fall in line with the queercore movement in which they have spawned from – the speed-crunch power chords, a couple f-bombs, the call-and-response chorus (Bikini Kill, Sleater-Kinney, Lesbians on Ecstasy). But the three vocalists (Solomon, Fruchter and Oberman) all have a deep Patti Smith inflection, that slathered with Oberman’s fiddle and Brannigan’s grungy leads, make the band sound like the minor-key, Yiddish version of Garbage, wailing anti-downtrodden by means of mounful manifestos like “What Love Is,” asserting, “I hate myself/So you can/And I police myself/So you can …You don’t know what love is.”

Fun Fact: Every Shonde holds a day job, in addition to promoting and managing themselves. Two are secretaries, and three work with Jews Against the Occupation.

Now Hear This:
The Shondes – “Let’s Go” DOWNLOAD MP3

On the Web:
The Shondes at MySpace

Talk: Will these Shondes be shunned?