Shannon & the Clams – Mama (Stream)
by Steven Spoerl
Not too far removed from Reigning Sound on the very-particular-brand-of-timelessness is Shannon & the Clams, the doo-wop-leaning throwback outfit. Led by the powerhouse vocals of Shannon Shaw, the band’s earned their place on many specialists year-end lists over the past several years for their distinct take on the basement pop aesthetic, seamlessly blending in specific influences from the last 60 years into their core sound.
While last year’s Dreams in the Rat House wasn’t their best record, it was close to their best record. Maintaining a standard of excellence as high as they’ve been over the years isn’t an easy feat but it looks as if they’re barreling along anyway. The most recent piece of evidence working in their favor is “Mama” taking from an upcoming split 7″ with Portland punk rippers Guantanamo Baywatch (both acts share common ground via both Suicide Squeeze, the label releasing the split, and Burger). “Mama” comes off as breezy and effortless as the bulk of the band’s very best material. There’s an elusive looseness as well as a hint of perfectionism running through “Mama”, making it a somewhat paradoxical and completely enthralling listen.
If Guantanamo Baywatch’s side proves to be even half as good as this, then 2014 will have one of its first contenders for split of the year. Listen to “Mama” below and pick up the split when it comes out on April 29.