You Should Hear: Shook Ones
I had a weird summer in 2011. I got a dog, but I also got in a pretty nasty car wreck that left me unscathed and totaled my car. My mom got sick with what was later diagnosed as a benign tumor on a cranial nerve (She’s fine now, don’t worry). Between those, a boring summer job, and moving into a new apartment with some of my best friends, I don’t remember much of my summer that wasn’t stressful.
That’s not to say I didn’t have some great times, though. I did. Honestly though, some of the best of those were in my car, alone, away from everything that was stressing me out.
I flew out to and drove back from North Carolina in another car that was pretty close to what I had that was totaled, blasting punk the whole way home. I sang along to every song and drummed along with every solo, attracting the ire of one man in Winston-Salem. I think his name was Ronny. Whatever it was, his name was on a decal on the windshield of his ‘90s Ford Taurus.
In the mornings on the way to work, I had a routine. I’d listen to the Chicago Bowls EP by Dikembe (Which was my favorite debut of 2011). In the afternoon, though? It was about Shook Ones.
Shook Ones are a punk band from Bellingham, WA. They’re sort of on a hiatus right now while their members are all in school. They sound a lot like Lifetime if Lifetime never had slow songs and drank a ton of coffee before every recording session. They are the epitome of young, loud, and snotty.
Every afternoon, I’d listen to their side of a split they did with Easel, a Japanese punk band. It contains one of my favorite songs ever committed to wax, “Order Form.” “Order Form,” is a song from the point of view of a man who’s not going to marry his fiancée until same-sex marriage is legalized.
It’s pretty much why I love punk rock. It’s quick, it’s blunt, it’s honest, and it’s smart. Not to mention that it’s a ton of fun to scream along to in the car. I think “Bad Year” on the same EP is a perfect representation of that, too.
On the day I moved back into Bloomington, I put on Shook Ones’ 2009 album, The Unquotable A.M.H., as I drove with out of Indianapolis with my car loaded with all of my possessions. I drove past my old work on the way out of town, and right near the entrance to the building, 20-some-odd geese walked out in front of my car. I slammed on the brakes and sat there as they waited for me to start to move.
I honked the horn; the geese looked at me and made honking noises back. They moved into formation around my car. They started to run and flap their wings as I put the car into first, left foot off of the clutch, right foot down on the gas. We all moved at the same speed.
Right as the geese took off in front of my car as I lurched forward, like I was in some weird remake of Fly Away Home, my favorite line from the second track on Unquotable A.M.H., “For Collards,” played. “I’m growing up. I’m growing up in front of you.”
That’s probably the weirdest moment I’ve ever had in my life. For some reason, though, it felt totally apt for the whole summer. Shook Ones got me through whatever got slung my way. I was able to take it in stride, and even nothing was going my way, I knew that at 3 PM, every day, I could hop in my car and yell along to songs I love.
I figure that if Shook Ones were able to keep me happy through all of that, then anyone else would be elated by them.
By: Jay Papandreas
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