Shannon & the Clams’ ‘Onion’ Is Joyful, Grief-Stricken

When Shannon Shaw and Cody Blanchard of Shannon & the Clams sat down, separately, to write songs for their band’s fifth LP in October 2016, they felt compelled to interrogate themselves. Shaw had always treated songwriting as a form of problem-solving, a way to separate herself from an issue and analyze it from a distance. But now, after years of avoiding it, she had started to attend therapy sessions. She was, she says, “trying to get to the bottom of something.”

Blanchard was nearing a self-critical cliff-edge, too. “I don’t know if you can relate to those time periods when you stop seeing yourself as you think you are,” he says, “and start actually looking at what you’re doing and your dysfunctions.”

Onion, premiering in full below ahead of its February 16 release on Easy Eye Sound, was always going to be the band’s most introspective album.

Then, on December 2, a fire broke out at the Ghost Ship, a warehouse venue in Oakland, California. Thirty-six people died. It shattered Shaw and Blanchard, who came up through warehouses and underground venues in the Bay Area and lost friends that night. Immediately, Onion became a eulogy, a tribute to the families and friends left behind, and a document of Shaw and Blanchard’s first thoughts in the fire’s aftermath.

[Continue Reading at Noisey]

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