Shotwell Shotwell LP

Shotwell Street runs through the heart of the Mission District. The infamous Jenn Cobb, one of the original members of the Gilman collective and former MRR shitworker, lived there, as did Tommy Strange of STRAWMAN and a slew of other people crucial to the formative years of the DIY Bay Area sound. The appropriately named SHOTWELL, formed by Jimmy Broutis, Paul Curran, and Aaron Cometbus, started playing renegade shows there back in 1994. Jimmy remains the constant member with a notable rotating crew backing him up over the last 25 years, committed to playing smaller, untraditional DIY venues.  Steve Moriarty of the GITS, who took over for Cometbus on drums back in 1995, returns in this incarnation as a producer and arranger. The eponymous release burns through 21 urgently melodic and politically conscious songs in under 45 minutes. Its scrappy and brutally authentic sound with rough, hazy guitars, steady drums, and lyrics shouted through raw vocal chords is reminiscent of SEXY and RADON. It can be difficult for an album to be both cautionary and optimistic at the same time, but I think that mindset is the impetus for punk creativity—the feeling that shit is fucked up but possibly could be different. At best, we can be the nidus for that change, and at least, we can lean a shoulder against the tide and kick rocks at the castle. This album and Broutis’s unfaltering vision serve simultaneously as both a history lesson and a modern-day survival guide.