Showing off and shutting it down with Oakland's Shutups

From left; Hadley and Mia of Oakland’s upstarts Shutups; press photo courtesy of the band.

From left; Hadley and Mia of Oakland’s upstarts Shutups; press photo courtesy of the band.

Shutups from Oakland have released one of the best albums of the summer. Mia & Hadley have been putting out underrated releases now for well over three years via the DIY circuits that has ultimately culminated in the release of Everyday I’m Less Than Zen. The record revels in an aesthetic (and ethic) of pure scuzz pop exhilaration from anthems like "Jaywalk Over Me", the DIY discotheque chic of "Cement Hands", to the garage geared excellence on "That's a Longtime to Be On Fire", or the near misses in brushes with the scents of success via "Almost Won the Lotto". Zen is a shining example of instant hitting power pop for 2019. The East Bay band angles amplified slacker anthems in arranged fits of pure bliss as witnessed on "Telephone", "Yellowjacket", the rapid rhythms of "Apple Salad", the addictive "Smile", to the melancholic mopey small talk moods on "Holiday Punch". Romantic gestures abound on "Don't Waste Ur Time", to the fancy footwork inspiring "Gold Shoes", slow dancing to the decadent statement of epic opulence outro "I Wanna Crash Classic Cars" (complete with a cheesy tongue firmly planted in cheek secret track). This is the album to soundtrack your very own Bay Area summer. And now without further ado — we proudly present Shutups' exclusive Week in Pop guest selections:

Garage pop’s shining stars ⁠— Shutups; press photo courtesy of the artists.

Garage pop’s shining stars ⁠— Shutups; press photo courtesy of the artists.


1. Kanye's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

I thought a lot about what a perfect album is, one that tells a story with a beginning, middle and end and how myself as a listener is sonically transported through that timeline. MBDTF is a perfect album. From Nicki's story tale introduction, the emotional turbulent peak of "Runaway" to the lackluster school auditorium applause of "Who Will Survive in America". It's a perfect listening experience.

2. Vonnegut's The Sirens of Titan

vonnegut sirens_of_titan week in pop.jpg

Every time I read this book I cry. Every time I read it I feel raw and fully exposed. I had been dumped, moved back with my parents, suffered and barely survived a medical catastrophe; revisiting this book during that time was both dangerous and exciting for my mental health. I enjoy suffering.

3. Diarrhea Planet's I'm Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams

In 2009 I visited my cousin in Nashville who had started a band called Diarrhea Planet. I saw them play a tiny dive bar for maybe ten people and was instantly a believer. I watched them develop into the ruthless touring power house that they'd become up until their beautiful finish in 2018. I'm Rich was so beyond just a punk album, it's emotional depth was far beyond any of their contenders with enough over the top guitar maximalism to topple buildings. I thought about this album every step of the way while working on ours.

4. Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut

While writing the album I saw Eyes Wide Shut for the first time. I then went back and rewatched every Kubrick film. The attention to detail; the colors, the cinematography, the scores, everything was perfect and intentional. As a kid, before I was in a band, or in between bands in college I'd keep notebooks of theoretical albums I'd write. They were neatly scribbled, packed with tone descriptions, chord progressions, experimental recording techniques, album art sketches, packaging and promotional concepts, I considered every step of the process. Watching Kubrick's films reminded me of my notebooks (as wildly pretentious as that sounds).

5. Charles Ives' Fourth Symphony

During college while studying composition I gravitated between two extremes; the minimalists (Philip Glass, Terry Riley) and the relentless maximalism of Charles Ives. Ives' music is the definition of beauty amidst chaos, the sweet melody that rises from utter dissonance. His four symphonies listened to in sequence will either destroy ones interest in 20th century American composition all together, or ignite a deep urge to create art that pummels it's audience into oblivion. Every Day I'm Less Zen is meant to pummel.

Experience Shutups’ Everyday I’m Less Zen now: