There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Andrew Nichols and Brandon Korch’s musical partnership started as a joke: Form a new band and call it Shat Shorts. The pair got the idea after watching Pennsylvania noise-punk four-piece Pissed Jeans rip it up at the Rock & Roll Hotel in 2010. Nichols and Korch came up with some funny, zingy song titles like “Liveblogging the Loss of My Virginity.” Then a funny thing happened—Shat Shorts became a real band.
Nichols and Korch roped in a couple of Korch’s bandmates from his fourth-wave emo group Monument, and Anton Kropp and Gabe Marquez helped transform “Liveblogging the Loss of My Virginity” into a gnarly hardcore rager, which now appears on the band’s debut self-titled album. With such raw, monstrous guitar stabs and clamoring cymbals, it’d be easy to miss the humor that inspired the song, but it’s right there in Nichols’ short, sometimes exasperated hollering: all of the anxiety of a youngster that’s as concerned about getting off as he is in getting online. Shat Shorts’ tightly wound instrumental friction both underscores and elevates the joke.
“Liveblogging the Loss of My Virginity” is one of the first songs Shat Shorts brought to life—it’s the third song on the group’s 2010 EP, Seersucker and Sundressess, and it’s the only tune from that collection that made it onto the album. The guys have since roped in a second guitarist, Alvin Charity, and his contributions to “Liveblogging the Loss of My Virginity” lends the tune another layer of darkness for a dark age: one in which teenagers post videos of their break-ups to Vine.
Charity’s spot in the band has also loosened things up as Shat Shorts branches out. On “Another Wasted Day,” sharp guitar lines intersect and duel playfully to build a heady post-punk groove, and the cycling guitar riff on closer “Existential Crisis” possesses all the sweet-natured glee of a Monument emo jam.
Elsewhere on Shat Shorts, the guys puree cyberpunk anime references (“Neo-Tokyo Is About to E-X-P-L-O-D-E”) and road rage (“Traffic”) with uncaged fury and bile, and execute the short tracks with a wit sharper than the band’s name implies. The pairing is especially gutting on “So I Hear The Faint Are Having a Reunion,” which rips early-aughts dance-punk by nabbing a hook from that style and turning it inside out. It’s that kind of witty twist on a “fuck you” that makes Shat Shorts a little more than a crappy band name.