First appeared on IGGY: August 02, 2011
It would be hard to come up with a more perfect name for a punk band influenced by traditional Jewish music than The Shondes. In Yiddish, a shonde is a disgrace or a shame. It doesn’t get a whole lot more punk rock than that.
Currently, that perfect name belongs to a Brooklyn-based quartet made up of Jewish, transgendered, queer activists (or various combinations of those designations) who actively support of the right of Palestinian people to self-determination — which obviously makes it even more perfect. It’s fair to call them a queercore band, but there’s a few more layers to tease out after that. The traditional Jewish influence comes out in certain ravishing turns of melody and the extra pangs of romance and melancholy added by Elijah Oberman’s violin. You can pick up on a riot grrrl influence in the sparks they throw off during a live set — especially incandescent frontwoman Louisa Solomon.
Their songs deal with music, politics, touring, break-ups and just generally trying to survive in this world with your heart intact and your spirit unbroken. Their fiery and melodic music captures that ethic perfectly, and listeners tend to respond emotionally and very personally. It’s hard not to. Over the years, The Shondes have relentlessly driven across mountain ranges, deserts, and the Bible Belt to get to any town where their show might make someone feel a little less alone. And, with a new album at the ready, they show no sign of stopping.