The Shondes are an indie rock band from Brooklyn, NY, whose brand of riot grrrl-ish punk features “traditional Jewish influences” and “radical political messages.” Well, that’s what I’ve read anyway. But, if “traditional Jewish influences” mean that they have a violin prominent in their sound, well, OK then. Fiddler on the Roof was a musical about a Jewish family, right? They cite as influences Bikini Kill, Bruce Springsteen, The Go-Go’s, and… Fiddler on the Roof. So, yeah. But, I would think Sleater-Kinney, too. The band was formed in 2006 by Louisa Rachel Solomon (vocals/bass) and Elijah Oberman (violin) after their former band, The Syndicate, broke up. The other members, currently, are Fureigh (guitar) and Allison Miller (drums). Entertainment Weekly described their music as “giddy garage melodics with a Sleater-Kinney twist.” That’s good, but, since Louisa Solomon, an outspoken Jewish activist, looks a little like Kathleen Hannah, let’s compare them to Bikini Kill as well. Elijah Oberman’s violin sets this band apart from other riot grrrl punk rockers, but Louisa Solomon’s vocals are very distinctive, too. Her voice has been called “a char-broiled mix of Patti Smith and new wave, with a frosty injection of Amy Lee for good measure” by Amplifier magazine. Like Sick of Sarah and Vanity Theft, I discovered The Shondes on Tucky Williams‘ awesome web series Girl/Girl Scene. “Shonde”, by the way, means “shame” or “disgrace” in Yiddish.
Searchlights (2011) is The Shondes‘ third album, but, it’s the one whose music is heard on Girl/Girl Scene, and, the one I started with. Searchlights is filled with big hooks and heartfelt lyrics delivered with Solomon’s Corin Tucker-esque vocals. “A touch of Bruce Springsteen, a touch of Nashville, and plenty of gritty ’90s pop punk imparting the feel of an instant classic” is what MTV Iggy said. I agree. The singles, “Give Me What You’ve Got” and “Are You Ready”, are well chosen. But, other good tracks are “Worth Fighting For”, “Searchlights”, the alternative rocker “The Fortress”, and the excellent ballad “Bright Again”. Yeah, it’s an awesome album! In fact, the only song I usually skip over is “Coney Island Tonight.” The mix is bad. Or maybe it’s just my copy that I purchased from eMusic?
Watch the videos for “Give Me What You’ve Got” and “Are You Ready” here:
2008.01.08 – The Red Sea (self-released) [Album]
2010.05.04 – My Dear One (Fanatic Records) [Album]
2010.11.16 – Lines & Hooks +3 (Fanatic Records) [EP]
2011.09.20 – Searchlights (Exotic Fever Records) [Album]
2013.09.17 – The Garden (Exotic Fever Records) [Album]