Share new single/video “Suddenly Gone”
New album The Official Body out now on FatCat Records
“Direct, smart, catchy, and extremely punk, Shopping is a band for our confusing times.” –Pitchfork
“Sparkling return from newly disco-fied conscious punks… a fine opportunity to dance until the end of the world.” – Q Magazine
“The Official Body tightens up their sound and adds a new sense of resolve.” – Uncut Magazine
“Shopping remain as idiosyncratic as they are addictive” – Loud and Quiet
“A breakneck, post-punk canter, cementing their status as monarchs of the UK DIY pop underground” – NME
“dizzying riffs and a post-punk rhythm section that makes people want to dance” – Stereogum
“Shopping’s ability to move minds and hips with equal success is still abundantly clear.” – DIY
Post-punk trio Shopping have shared a third single and video from their new album, The Official Body, out now on FatCat Records and recorded and produced by Edwyn Collins.
The “Suddenly Gone” video, directed by LA-based director and animator Lessa Millet, “talks about labour and resources,” says band member Rachel Aggs. “It’s about feeling used and undervalued in a relationship or, more generally, as a queer and/or a person of colour making music or art in the UK and how that can feel very draining.”
She adds, “you can feel overlooked for years and then suddenly tokenized when your identity becomes buzzworthy or fashionable. So much of the guitar music we love originates from roots and blues music made by and for people of colour and the same goes for dance and disco that has its roots so firmly in queer culture. We are asking people to reflect on what our cultural landscape would really look like if it weren’t for those pioneering but marginalized artists and in particular what our cities will eventually look like if queer spaces and independent gig venues continue to be forced to close.”
In creating the video, Millet says, “I went off of the energy of the song and the feeling behind it – this feeling of ‘I see what you’re doing, and I’m done being used.’ It’s optimistic and angry at the same time. In looking for images I just thought about all the instances a small group of people profit from everyone else, which way the money river flows, where does it pool. I think the magic tricks and hand shadows were a good metaphor for all the distractions that prevent us from seeing what is going on underneath.”
“It also suggests a parallel between this kind of emotional, creative draining and the terrifying environmental consequences of reckless money-grabbing corporations,” Aggs continues, “undervaluing and exploiting our natural resources and the impact of that on people living and working in more precarious parts of the world.”
Following the release of their 2013 debut Consumer Complaints, and 2015’s follow-up Why Choose, Shopping found themselves in an unrelenting cycle of touring, making their way across the UK, Europe, and the US.
In London, Power Lunches, a hub for the city’s DIY scene and the band’s usual rehearsal and writing space, closed down. Then their drummer, Andrew Milk, relocated to Glasgow, and the band could suddenly no longer spontaneously get together to practice or write. The distance added an element of pressure: “As a band that only ever writes collaboratively, it’s essential for us to actually be together in the room before any songs start to formulate. It can be a little daunting when we all turn up, and we only have an afternoon to pull a song out of thin air”.
Add to that a sprinkling of Brexit, Trump, a principally imploding world, and you’ve got yourself The Official Body— Shopping’s second album to be released on FatCat Records, recorded and produced by Edwyn Collins.
The themes that figure in the songs are indeed weighty. For instance, in Suddenly Gone, while a razor-sharp guitar sound punctuates the track’s rhythmic urgency, Rachel refers to “feeling used and undervalued as a queer and/or person of colour making music or art.” Or the track Wild Child, a dancey number led by Billy’s sweeping bassline, in which the lyrics talk about acknowledging the cracks in the facade of one’s idols, who aren’t always able to keep up the facade. “I was specifically thinking about the way some drag queens do this really well,” explains Aggs; “It’s about projecting the persona of someone who is always free, always partying and you can’t imagine them ever worrying about their work rota or buying cereal. It’s important to see through it, to know it’s fake but at the same time, it’s so intriguing and seductive. I think this anarchic, flamboyant spirit is really important to queer culture.”
While it may have been tempting to adopt a more serious tone, Shopping remained humorous in their approach — the album’s title (established before any of the songs were written), The Official Body, is a play on the idea of official bodies of power and control, “the mystical powers that be” as Billy Easter (bass) deems them, as well as the construct of a physical body that fits within the societal paradigm of what is “acceptable.”
The thematic gravitas of the album contrasts with the band’s evolving sound. Seeking to “amp up the party vibe,” the trio added synth and drum pads to their customary guitar-drums-bass set-up. Recorded over 10 days by Edwyn Collins at his Clashnarrow studio, The Official Body stays true to the minimal dance-punk ethos of Shopping’s previous releases, fans of which will undoubtedly find this logical unfolding of their musical approach thoroughly satisfying.
Rachel Aggs (guitar, vocals), Billy Easter (bass, vocals), Andrew Milk (drums, vocals)
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