Shadow 15 Days of Innocence 1983–85 LP
When it comes to the Twin Cities’ biggest punk exports, I hold the following apparently incorrect opinions: the REPLACEMENTS peaked at Stink (and fell off a cliff after Let it Be), and HÜSKER DÜ was better prior to joining the SST roster. Yes, part of that is due to being a compulsive contrarian. But I also just prefer punk and hardcore to the alternative rock these guys were better known for. So, when I saw this compilation hailed as “a hidden gem of alternative American alternative rock [sic]” by an outfit being compared specifically to those two bands, I braced myself for a bummer of a time. Thankfully, it’s not that bad! SHADOW 15 was a four-piece out of Nashville, TN and this ten-song LP compiles their total studio output (culled from an eight-song cassette and 12” EP released in the mid ’80s). And while it certainly is alternative rock that bears quite a resemblance to those aforementioned acts—it actually sounds a little like Paul Westerberg fronting New Day Rising-era HÜSKER DÜ, maybe with a bit of early R.E.M. in the mix—they’ve got enough of a punk edge to keep them from drifting too far off into emotional post-hardcore or proto-GOO GOO DOLLS territory. It’s also a little generic-sounding, like a band made up for a mid-’80s teen movie. Still, there are a couple of songs that bordered on being good, and the overall squishy production alongside a super snappy rhythm section added enough amateurish charm that I ultimately enjoyed my time with the record. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a hidden gem, but it’s probably worth your time if you like indie rock of the time period.