R.I.P. Ross Shapiro, of Athens rock band The Glands
There’s no question in my mind at this point that Time Magazine’s 2016 “Person Of The Year” should be the Grim Reaper.
Ross Shapiro, singer/guitarist of Athens rock band The Glands, has died. He was also the owner of the defunct Athens record store Schoolkids Records.
Until I splashed bleach on it and ruined it, my concert T-shirt with only the words THE GLANDS emblazoned across its navy blue chest was one of my favorites, because people often asked about it; something about those words made many people curious as to whether that was ACTUALLY a bandname, or whether I was advertising my interest in something…stranger.
Well, I was always happy to tell them that The Glands WERE a band, and a very good one. Their 2000 self-titled album is a minor rock classic, and sadly underheard; it seemingly comes from an alternate reality where Tom Petty kept to the mushroom-marked path laid out for him by “Don’t Come Around Here No More” and joined the Flaming Lips. I highly recommend the whole thing -- their debut, Double Thriller, is also very good, if a bit more disjointed.
But The Glands has a very pleasing cohesiveness, no mean feat when fusing straight-up rockers and trippier numbers. It’s a beautiful and slyly funny record -- the track “Work It Out” tells a presumed paramour, “I love your sis, just like a sister (…just a little more…) / We’re gonna work, gonna work it out” and “I called my shrink, but what I really want, is a little empathy”.
That self-deprecating sense of humor shows up again on “When I Laugh”:
If anybody calls, I’ll be sittin’ in my room and dyin’
It only hurts me when I laugh
The Glands -- When I Laugh
Melancholy psychedelia, in the mode of Syd Barrett’s “Dark Globe”:
The Glands -- Mayflower
Here’s the aforementioned Petty influence (or a dry Spoonish rocker in the style of “Jonathon Fisk”)
The Glands -- Straight Down
R.I.P., Ross. Thanks for the songs.
The Glands -- Soul Inspiration
Post image from the self-titled album, which can be purchased below:
[amazon template=image center&asin=B000QZRCKU]