15 Songs, 49 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

There’s a method to Shannon & The Clams' madness that keeps this retro-rock trio from slipping into pure camp. The Oakland, Calif.–based group’s third album is an impressively well-realized outing that takes various sonic flotsam of the ‘50s and ‘60s (doo-wop, R&B, girl groups, early psychedelia) and refashions it into something personal. Shannon Shaw and Cody Blanchard mix and mingle their voices with gusto, rasping and yowling one minute, tenderly crooning the next. Bathed in reverb and wrapped in distorted treble, the album’s sound gains impact from Blanchard’s crisp guitar picking and the versatile, sweat-raising drumwork of Ian Amberson. Keeping irony to a minimum, Shaw and Blanchard lyrically update classic literature (“Rip Van Winkle”), pay tribute to a beloved pet (“Ozma”), and embrace the laws of chance (“Heads or Tails”) amid sly harmony moves and snaky, teasing rhythms. They recall the day-glo ghoulishness of The Cramps on “Bed Rock” and “Rat House” and conjure memories of The Shangri-Las’ teen-angst epochs on “Unlearn” and “If I Could Count.” Beneath all the zaniness is solid musicianship and real emotion.

EDITORS’ NOTES

There’s a method to Shannon & The Clams' madness that keeps this retro-rock trio from slipping into pure camp. The Oakland, Calif.–based group’s third album is an impressively well-realized outing that takes various sonic flotsam of the ‘50s and ‘60s (doo-wop, R&B, girl groups, early psychedelia) and refashions it into something personal. Shannon Shaw and Cody Blanchard mix and mingle their voices with gusto, rasping and yowling one minute, tenderly crooning the next. Bathed in reverb and wrapped in distorted treble, the album’s sound gains impact from Blanchard’s crisp guitar picking and the versatile, sweat-raising drumwork of Ian Amberson. Keeping irony to a minimum, Shaw and Blanchard lyrically update classic literature (“Rip Van Winkle”), pay tribute to a beloved pet (“Ozma”), and embrace the laws of chance (“Heads or Tails”) amid sly harmony moves and snaky, teasing rhythms. They recall the day-glo ghoulishness of The Cramps on “Bed Rock” and “Rat House” and conjure memories of The Shangri-Las’ teen-angst epochs on “Unlearn” and “If I Could Count.” Beneath all the zaniness is solid musicianship and real emotion.

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2:12
2:15
3:27
3:45
3:58
2:42
3:18
4:11
4:21
2:56
4:38
3:51
3:31
2:15

About Shannon and The Clams

Mixing together the doo wop and early rock & roll of the '50s, the dramatic girl group sounds of the '60s, and some punky snarl imported from 1977, Oakland, California's Shannon & the Clams came up with a sound that was charmingly retro but never stale. Formed in the late 2000s by vocalist/bassist Shannon Shaw, vocalist/guitarist Cody Blanchard, and drummer Ian Amberson while going to art school, they began playing shows around town and soon released a single on Weird Hug Records. They next hooked up with 1-2-3-4 Go! Records for their debut album, 2009's I Wanna Go Home. Around this time Shaw was playing bass and singing in Hunx & His Punx too. After a 2010 full-length, Sleep Talk, for 1-2-3-4 Go! and a long string of singles, they moved over to Hardly Art for their third album. Dreams in the Rat House was recorded over the course of a year in various locales like Nobunny's practice space and a log cabin, and featured a tighter, tougher all-around sound. By the time of 2015's Gone by the Dawn LP, Amberson had left the group and Nate Mahan (aka Mayhem) had taken over the drumming duties. Produced by Sonny Smith at Tiny Telephone Recording in San Francisco, the album was another step forward in sound and craft for the trio. ~ Tim Sendra

  • ORIGIN
    Oakland, CA
  • FORMED
    2009

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