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Shopping, “Wild Child” Video Premiere

UK minimalist dance punks host a bizarre talent show in clip for new single off upcoming LP 'The Official Body'

/ January 11, 2018

Photo by CJ Monk

UK minimal dance punks Shopping have been delivering infectious, groove-heavy ready hits since 2013’s Consumer Complaints, and they’re back to save us yet again with a new LP, The Official Body, out next Friday on FatCat Records. The first single, “Wild Child,” aims toward “acknowledging the cracks in the facade of one’s idols.” The song is characteristically anchored by Billy Easter’s springy bass line and Andrew Milk’s tight drumming, as vocalist and guitarist Rachel Aggs sings of the tension between the freewheeling personalities we idolize and strive toward, and the difficult realities of our daily life. “It’s about projecting the persona of someone who is always free, always partying and you can’t imagine them ever worrying about their work rota or buying cereal,” says Aggs. “It’s important to see through it, to know it’s fake but at the same time, it’s so intriguing and seductive. I think this anarchic, flamboyant spirit is really important to queer culture.”

Wild Child by Shopping on VEVO.

The Jack Barraclough-directed video shows the band – in their alter egos of DJ Raggs, Ruby Waters, and Iona Ferrari – judging a talent competition for mundane tasks, such as threading a needle, blowing a balloon, peeling an orange, and so on. By putting the day-to-day on stage, this talent show flips our rosy imagination of the stars, cutting down the impossible ideals we measure ourselves against. Raggs, Waters, and Ferrari are not easily won over, and in the end the sole act to truly impress the judges is a dog named Shrew, who demonstrates its sublime ability to be cute. As the band notes, “Ya either got it or ya don’t.” It’s a fun ride and a wonderful representation of The Official Body and Shopping as a whole: supremely thoughtful with a serious message, but all the while rebelliously determined to have fun. Even the instrumentation points this way, as the band has augmented their rock three piece set up with synthesizers and electronic drums to, in their words, “amp up the party vibe,” as in the keyboard melody that takes over on “Wild Child’s” chorus.

Retaining the joy inherent in that approach can, of course, be difficult. The band has faced numerous challenges in the past few years. In London, in a story familiar to any musician working in a rapidly gentrifying major city, the DIY hub and the band’s practice space Power Lunches shut down, and Milk subsequently relocated north to Glasgow. The change forced the band to write The Official Body under more pressure, as their practice and writing sessions became increasingly expensive and difficult to coordinate. On a broader scale, the UK has faced a resurgence of right-wing racism and xenophobia parallel to the US, with Brexit marking perhaps its largest institutional expression. The personal and political anxiety comes out throughout the album on songs like “Control Yourself,” with Milk and Easter trading mixed-up platitudes over each other. “Would you notice if I were suddenly gone?” Aggs asks on “Suddenly Gone,” a song she says comes from “feeling used and undervalued as a queer and/or person of color making music or art.” The Official Body puts those social concerns front and center, but Shopping’s beat is forever surging forward, reminding us that if we’re going to survive we need to keep dancing up the hill.

Stream ‘The Official Body’ in its entirety on NPR. Go see Shopping on tour in the UK this February and throughout North America in March.

Thu. Feb. 1 – Glasgow, UK @ Mono
Fri. Feb. 2 – Newcastle, UK @ Cluny 2
Sat. Feb. 3 – Manchester, UK @ The Eagle (Salford)
Sun. Feb. 4 – Noangham, UK @ The Maze
Mon. Feb. 5 – Oxford, UK @ The Cellar
Tue. Feb. 6 – London, UK @ Moth Club
Wed. Feb. 7 – Bristol, UK @ Exchange w/ Colleen Green

North America

Thu. March 1 — Boston, MA @ Great Scoq *
Fri. March 2 — Providence, RI @ Columbus Theatre *
Sat. March 3 — Brooklyn, NY @ Market Hotel *
Sun. March 4 — Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s *
Tue. March 6 — Washington, DC @ Union Stage *
Wed. March 7 — Asheville, NC @ Mothlight *
Thu. March 8 — Savannah, GA @ Savannah Stopover *
Fri. March 9 — Atlanta, GA @ 529 *
Sat. March 10 — New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa *
Sun. March 11 — Houston, TX @ Walter’s *
Tue. March 13 – Thu. March 15 — AusFn, TX @ SXSW
Fri. March 16 — El Paso, TX @ Lowbrow Palace *
Sat. March 17 — Phoenix, AZ @ Rebel Lounge *
Sun. March 18 — San Diego, CA @ Whistle Stop *
Tue. March 20 — Santa Ana, CA @ ConstellaFon Room *
Wed. March 21 — Los Angeles, CA @ Resident * #
Thu. March 22 — San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop #
Fri. March 23 — Portland, OR @ Bunk Bar #
Sat. March 24 — Seaqle, WA @ Vera Project #
Tue. March 27 — Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
Wed. March 28 — Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen
Thu. March 29 — Detroit, MI @ Delux Fluxx
Fri. March 30 — Toronto, ON @ Baby G
Sat. March 31 — Montreal, QC @ Bar Le Ritz

* = w/ French Vanilla
# = w/ Lithics