If you were in Austin in the early nineties, you had the chance to see an amazing band called Shoulders. We only saw them a few times, probably under ten, and their performances and wonderful lyrics still play in my head.
The lead singer, Michael Slatterly, had a raspy voice, and dressed in an Austin musician's uniform- sweaty, poly-blend button-down, old man's hat, and non-committal facial hair. Being the front man, he's really the only one I remember. There was a bass drum set up on the front edge of the stage, and he would whale on it, driving the audience with his mania.
The music was raucous; the entire band (besides maybe the drummer) definitely danced around the stage. Their shows were like a fun house; everything seemed exciting and happy until you listened more closely to the lyrics. That's when things got dark, warped, and slightly menacing.
After we left Austin, I found a cd of their music. I was thrilled, at least until I actually played it. Whoever produced it had trimmed off the razor edges. What was left was sadder, colder, and quieter than a tombstone.
So, because their lyrics keep going around in my head-
Outside Lulu's bar and pool
a pack of wolves gather round
they howl and drool.
They'll eat anything that bleeds...
It's just a charm not a jewel
it's just a charm from a fool...
In trashman's shoes
Uncle Akin was sore at the world
For what I do not know
But when he spoke to the flowers they
did grow grow grow!