Shoppers - Silver Year [12-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Silver Year [12-inch] (2011)

Feeble Minds / Drugged Conscience

On the surface, Shoppers, from Syracuse, N.Y., give off an air of mystery. Their debut full-length, Silver Year, contains eight tracks, all numbered instead of titled. The production gives the songs a raw, lo-fi air. Frontwoman Meredith Graves screams line after line through a haze of noise. There are no liner notes, really, no production notes or lineup listed. But there is a lyrics sheet.

Shit is fucked.

Graves' lyrics detail a series of scenarios rife with sexual frustration/assault, social anxiety/pressure. Everything has a threatening air, making all that urgency in the music that much more powerful. Take your pick of the lyrics--"It was an accident / It wasn't classist at all / Because it doesn't count if her bed is on the floor," "I closed my legs / Then I closed my mouth / Then I closed my heart," etc.--each one feels like a gut-punch. She depicts a series of poetic vignettes. The scenes aren't always explicitly clear, but you know exactly what she's talking about when she fires off lines like "You were proactive / I was distracted."

Then again, that's an old hardcore cliché, right? Scream the lyrics at an undecipherable volume, give the kids the words on paper and hope they understand. Still, though, Shoppers delivered such a wrenching LP last year, the sort of frank assault that tempers Big Black's hate and noise with Discount's sensitivity.

The tunes, well, they're pretty darn aggressive, which suits the material. Shoppers are a three-piece, so nothing gets wasted. Graves' guitar shreds nightmares. Bassist Kari Charlesworth brings a dissonant low end. Drummer Joshua Smith plays really loud. Everything bashes and crashes while Graves lets off a litany of pain. All in all, this is top notch noise-rock. With a new split on the way, Shoppers look poised for a good 2012.