Why Shrag aren’t one of the world’s most popular bands is beyond me. “Life! Death! Prizes!,” their second full-length on Where It’s At Is Where You Are Records features the same kind of upbeat tunes as those on their first, self-titled, lp, which was one of my favorites of last year.

Songwriting — Paul Weller-and-the-Jam-style poems about everyday life — is their greatest strength.  And now their line-up features two girls and three guys, just like the B-5s2s once did.

I guess they’re just a little too smart, a little too funny, and maybe a little too British for the American mainstream. Just as well though, since if they got really popular I’d start to feel really guilty about liking them so much.

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15 more favorites from last year, to go with the 10 local albums listed below.

  1. Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavilion
  2. Dirty Projectors, Bitte Orca
  3. Sister Suvi, Now I Am Champion
  4. Shrag, Shrag
  5. Bibio, Ambivalence Avenue
  6. Atlas Sound, Logos
  7. Animal Collective, Fall Be Kind
  8. Maayan Nidam, Nightlong
  9. Abe Vigoda, Reviver
  10. DJ Koze, Reincarnations – The Remix Chapter 2001-2009
  11. God Help the Girl, God Help the Girl
  12. Sonic Youth, The Eternal
  13. Durutti Column, Love in the Time of Recession
  14. The Juan Maclean, The Future Will Come
  15. Mountains, Choral

Shrag – Shrag

April 7, 2009

shragMy favorite album as of now is the self-titled one by the Brighton (UK) band Shrag. Shrag are kind of like the Buzzcocks, only with three girls and two guys instead of all guys. Maybe that makes them kind of like the Buzzocks with some B-52s thrown in, though there were only two girls in the B-52s if memory serves me right.  Yet three, I’d say, is one better than two.

But Shrag’s sound is more like the Buzzcock’s, and also like the Buzzcock’s, their songs often speak compellingly about various aspects of day-to-day life as it’s lived by ordinary people like you and me – not revolutionaries or anything but just people who pretty much resent getting dragged down by the unending crap and incessant bs of day-to-day living. If you know what I mean.

According to this Pitchfork review, many of the tracks on this cd were previously released as singles, so again that brings back memories of “Singles Going Steady;” it’s a strong album through and through. And, by the way, there’s one track called “Mark E. Smith” as well as my own favorite, called “Forty Five 45s” which is totally totally awesome, and which was the Pitchfork guy’s favorite also, but what can I say – he’s right. And which can be listened to from the band’s Myspace page. Go do that, and try to tell me you don’t love it too.