Perpetual Change — Shondes News

| Apr 11, 2011
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This column usually introduces new music and artists by way of interviews and CD reviews.  On occasion, though, I’ve stepped away from those parameters and have presented specific incidents that have affected some of the artists featured.

The Shondes,  from New York City, who have been written about here before, have recently gone through some major changes that could  have caused an end to their musical endeavors.  A case in point is that last May,  I posted a review of the band’s latest project, My Dear One.  The songs on that particular Shondes project found their inspiration from a very hurtful breakup that vocalist/bass player Louisa Solomon experienced.  Rather than keeping the experience private, Solomon chose to discuss it and deal with it through music.

Recently, the band (whose other members include Eliljah Oberman-violin and vocals; Temim Fruchter-drums and backing vocals; and guitarist Fureigh, who also sings backup), experienced a couple of incidents that that would have made less dedicated musicians pack it in.

First the band’s van was stolen, right in their own neighborhood.   The second “incident” is a lot more involved: Oberman was diagnosed with cancer.  Under any normal set of circumstances, these are major blows to anyone’s psyche and spirit.  The Shondes, however, are made of stronger stuff.  Guitarist Fureigh was gracious enough to take time for an interview, and has been able to shed some light on the inner workings of The Shondes.

FYI: The  Shondes have managed to raise some funds towards a new vehicle through an online program known as Kickstarter, where their families, friends, and fan base were able to make contributions.  Check out for a complete overview of how this program works.

TGForum: It’s been something of a roller coaster ride the band, hasn’t it?  With everything that Louisa was going through, working in a new guitarist,  a member having a major illness, and then your van being stolen, how have you managed to keep it together?

Fureigh: Well, as the new guitarist, I’d like to think that my joining wasn’t too much of a burden on the band, despite the circumstances!  But seriously, there’s never been any question as to whether the band would continue-we’re committed to this.  Each member of the band has their own ways of managing life’s ups and downs.  As a group, we tend to seek solace, fortitude and inspiration in writing and playing music.

TGF: How is everyone holding up?

F: We’re trying to make the best of each situation and looking forward to the future.  We’ve been tremendously grateful for the support of our friends and fans through every turn.  We’re excited about being back in the studio working on our new album, and we’ve stocked up on postcards to send to our Kickstarter backers!

TGF: I wasn’t aware of what was going on with the band simply because I personally don’t spend much time on social network sites.  First off, when was Elijah diagnosed?  What kind treatments is he having and how does it look for him?

F: Elijah was diagnosed in June 2010.  He had surgery in August and a round of chemo from September through January.  He’ll have ongoing treatments until this September, but the band is still able to get a lot done around them, like recording and playing shows.  His prognosis is very good and he’s expected to make a full recovery.

TGF: Now, the van…

F: The van was stolen from our neighborhood near the end of February.  It was a well-loved 2003 Ford Econoline van  with dried roses on the dashboard and dice on the wheels.

TGF: Did you have any gear inside of it when it was taken?

F: Fortunately, none of our instruments were in the van!  Tools and tour related materials, yes, but we know better than to leave our instruments in the van overnight.

TGF: The Kickstarter campaign is a great idea.  I checked on your web site and and you posted over 10k in pledges so far.  What a wonderful fan base.  Are you still receiving contributions?  How can anyone interested help?

F: With great trepidation, we set $10,000 as our Kickstarter goal.  That seemed incredibly ambitious, especially because we only had 18 days in which to raise the funds and Kickstarter is all-or-nothing (that is, if you don’t reach the pledge amount, none of the donations come through.)  We’ve been through stolen gear and other expensive situations before and we’ve covered everything ourselves, but this time we knew we really couldn’t do it without help.  After payment processing fees, car registration fees, etc., the van ended up coming in at $1,500 more than we received from the $10,850 final Kickstarter total.  For those who’ve asked and would like to help make up the difference, we’re gratefully accepting PayPal payments to [email protected]  We’ll also happily honor any incentive requests from, too. Cover song? Part of the van named after you? Temim’s hand-drawn Donut Map of the United States and Canada?  So many options.  We’re extremely grateful that, one way or another, we’ll be able to make it work thanks to the incredible support from everyone so far.

TGF: What type of replacement vehicle have you found?

F:  Thanks to our amazing Kickstarter supporters, we were able to purchase a nearly identical van just in time to drive to South by Southwest for a string of shows. We’ve named it the PacVan . . . it has a mascot and more dried roses!

TGF: I understand you’ll be ready to start work on the new album soon.

F: We’ve been recording demos over the past few months, and we’re headed back into the studio now to start tracking for the new album.  If you saw us on our Heartbreak Tour last summer, you may remember us promising that the next album would be more upbeat.  Well, we’re delivering!   Think raucous, rock-out, driving-with-the-window-down, dance-till-you’re-sweating music.  The kind of music you write when you’ve been listening to nothing but Pat Benatar, The Go-Gos and Bruce Springsteen for weeks.  Sometimes it’s important to celebrate life, and upbeat music can be vital for getting through rough times.  It’s going to be a fun record and we can’t wait to share the new songs with everyone.

TGF: Anything you’d like to say in closing?

F: Sometimes life requires adjustments, but yes, we’ve been hard at work.  Thanks for your support.

Check out The Shondes website or visit them on Facebook.


Oh Land

Oh Land’s latest album, simply called Oh Land, is decidedly a dance project, with a few surprises.   The project is produced by Dan Carey, Dave McCracken, and Lester Mender.  (You’ll have to check out the actual track listings for proper credit and musician credit.)

A previously released dance track, Sun Of A Gun, which was released as a single with remix version, is the main hit from the project.  There was also a seven song EP with remixes of other tunes from the album that was previously released.

Other dance tracks include  Perfection We Turn It Up, and Human, which starts our in a new age vein, but shifts to a dance groove once the ubiquitous 4/4 beat enters.

The aforementioned surprises are found in the tunes Lean, Wolf & I, and White Nights.

Lean was very unexpected considering the rest of the album.  It’s a mix of very a simplistic structure coupled with a chorale/orchestral backing.

Wolf & I is very reminiscent of Kate Bush, in both Oh Land’s vocal style and songwriting.

White Nights for some reason has a wanna-be retro feel, in a weird sort of way.

All in all, Oh Land’s complete album definitely isn’t boring.  There’s enough dance tracks for it to work in any club, while the more laid back music heads can find material to appreciate.

Lady Gaga Born This Way – Country Road Version

A country music version of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way was officially released April 5.  A portion of the proceeds will to the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).  Produced by Lady Gaga and Fernando Ganbay, the country track features some new vocals by Gaga, along with guitar and harmonica.

The original version of Born This Way spent six weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.  It’s the first single and title track of her upcoming third album, due for a May 23 release.

Eva Not My Daddy

Also received a CD single with remixes fo the song Not My Daddy by Eva.  Definitely some major dance music here.  Eva can be found on MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

Dengue Fever Cannibal Courtship

This project has no connection to the GLBT community in any way.  I just wanted to include mention of one of the most unique projects I’ve heard in long time.  The band is a six piece from L.A., with a female Cambodian vocalist, along with a horn player.  While the project has an entirely retro feel throughout, it’s hard to pin down a frame of reference for any one tune.  You’ll hear surf music sounds, ska, old school prog (think King Crimson) for a brief moment, and a lot of different points in between.  Very good musicianship, which is what caught my ear in the first place.  This band actually can play their instruments — it’s not all pre-programmed digital samples.   This is a real gift for the music heads out there who want to hear people actually play.

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Pam Degroff

About the Author ()

Pamela DeGroff been writing for TGForum since the start of 1999. Her humor column, The Pamela Principle, ran until 2005. She started the Perpetual Change music column in May of 1999, and in 2008, Angela Gardner came up with the idea for the Transvocalizers column and put Pam to work on that. Pamela was a regular contributor to Transgender Community News until that magazine's demise. While part of a support group in Nashville called The Tennessee Vals she began writing for their newsletter, and also wrote for several local GLBT alternative newspapers in Tennessee. Pamela is currently a staff reporter for a small town daily paper in Indiana, and is also a working musician.

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