Of the 70 bands I saw at this year's SXSW Music Festival, the band Shame seemed to mean what they played more than any other. The U.K. guitar band thrashed with fervor while lead singer Charlie Steen removed all of his clothing, minus his wedgied underwear. He climbed atop a vending machine, fell awkwardly in the crowd and didn't miss a beat. I loved this performance and I've waited to hear more from Shame since that Austin show. Now it's here and it doesn't disappoint.
The video and song is called "Concrete." Musically, its passionate, stuttered guitar and call-and-response reminds me of another U.K. band – Gang of Four from 40 years ago. But Shame's music feels vital, with 19-year-old Steen and bassist Josh Finerty screaming at each other, revealing the inner dialog of the song's main character.
Charlie Steen told me in an email that "Concrete" is sung from the perspective of a lounger, an observer. "It's a flâneur's perspective on the psychological and emotionally draining effects of a doomed relationship – a moment where all of the worries and thoughts one might feel within this entrapment are isolated and embraced – a moment where the futility of reasoning is accepted."
The video breaks down the wall between fiction and reality as Charlie Steen leaps off of a treadmill to join Sean Coyle-Smith and Eddie Green on guitars, Charlie Forbes on drums and Josh Finerty on bass.
And the wonderful, best reality of all is that the band is coming to the U.S. in November with dates in the U.K. in October. Between that and having signed to Dead Oceans, it wouldn't be a stretch imagine an album announcement before too long; and the way they capture their live sound on this song means this could be one hell of a record.