Yes In My Backyard is a semiweekly column showcasing MP3s from new and emerging local talent.
Brooklyn’s Shellshag have been playing mucky, minimal punk throughout Brooklyn and beyond for over a decade, touring all the time and putting out records under the radar. Rumors In Disguise, their third album, is the band’s first for hot gnash-punk label Don Giovanni (home of Screaming Females), and should hopefully shed some light on their skeletal, long-awesome, abrasive sludgepunk. Just one guy (Johnny Shell) and one gal (Jen Shag) pounding away, making corrosive goon music, Shellshag’s press release already beats us to the “Yeah, yeah, White Stripes, Jucifer, blah blah blah” aspect. But that doesn’t really harness the band’s destructive live presence, their feedbacky fuzzgazer hooks, and the friendly energy that has surrounded them for years. “Resilient Bastard” sounds like a doom-pop version of Weezer’s “The World Has Turned And Left Me Here,” but of course turns the sentiment from abandonment to survival.
Shellshag on “Resilient Bastard”:
What is “Resilient Bastard” about?
Johnny Shell: It’s about longevity and commitment.
Jen Shag: For me it’s about choosing to do something with conviction, on purpose, with joy, despite any pain and suffering, no matter how beat up you feel. It’s about staying alive when you should be dead.
What was the inspiration?
Shellshag: Life. Being Shellshag. Having a recording session coming up. We had just come home from a long tour and we felt battered but still excited for the next tour, so the lyrics may have been affected by that. The lyrics were spontaneous and the song was done in 10 minutes. We sang it two or three times and the next day we played it at practice and it was immediately in the set. We love that kind of pop song.
How did you approach this record differently than your other records?
Shell: We didn’t entirely. We used a familiar studio and engineer that we’ve used for years for some of the songs, but we also tried a new studio and engineer for others.
Shag: We like recording with friends, so fortunately for Shellshag our friends are super talented with amazing recording equipment. When we toured through San Francisco we recorded at Rodent Records with our long time engineers Elton Ridge and Eric Haas. Then, Screaming Females and Don Giovanni Records recommended Hunt Studios in NJ, so we recorded half of the material there with Eric Bennet and Marissa Paternoster. The material from both studios was awesome; we recorded 25 songs and used 15 on the record.
What’s your most memorable New York show?
Shellshag: New Year’s Eve 2009 at the Boneyard — we played for 3 hours and never repeated a song.
In your opinion, what is the best rock song written in the last 10 years and why?
Shellshag: “Fuck Society” by the AK77’s from Chattanooga, TN. It may be the best song ever written. We cover it at every show. Listen to it. You will know why.