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January 2004 - Blastitude #16

by Daniel DiMaggio

"...I dunno. Pretty good. Who knows. I was too busy getting off on the considerable celeb presence of the event. As soon as I get there there’s Blastitude’s own Tony Rettman talking to Pete Nolan of Shackamaxon and the Magic Markers, and then a guy from Sunburned Hand of The Man comes up and then people from that band the Believers that I think I read about. It was insane. And they were all complaining about the Wire “New Weird America” article. Haha, whatever suckas. In good time I peaced upstairs to see the second band of the night...."

February 9, 2003 - WFMU

Interview w/ Shackamaxon on the air.
Check out the WFMU archives for playlist and RealAudio access to history!


Sunday, February 9th, 3am - 6am
on Airborn Event with Dan Bodah

Featuring the members of the Son of Earth-Flesh on Bone trio (Aaron Rosenblum, John Shaw, and Math Krefting) with Marcia Bassett (of Double Leopards and formerly of un). Four improvisations over an hour using balalaika, garden weasel, harmonium, bells, coffee can, guitars, and electronics, plus an interview with the band. Beautiful music for slowly shifting late afternoon sun.

November 1, 2002 - FakeJazz.com

A review of Terrastock V
by Philip Smoker

(the quote comes from the last paragraph of PartII:Friday)

"...We arrived in time to see Shackamaxon play first, which constituted some sparse textures accented with bursts of feedback or related discordance..."

January 2002 - Northeast Performer

The Flywheel
Easthampton, Ma
November 17, 2001

by Dave Madeloni

The Flywheel is a funky, volunteer-run performance space tucked unobtrusively alongside Nini's, the best pizza place in this Blue-collar town. The audience sits on some grubby and tattered green, orange, and brown carpet remnants except for the garage sale reject loveseat adjacent to the velvet Elvis portrait in the back of the room. There are way cool 'zines in the lobby, a five buck cover, and a contribution cup for the do-it-yourself java and tea. The place exudes an irreverent post-modern bohemian ambience that is unlike any in the Pioneer Valley and is a welcome alternative to the nightclub scene in nearby Northampton and Springfield.

The place was full for tonight's four act bill, which is to say about forty adventurous folks, most sporting wool caps and those funny looking fifties style glasses. I was there to catch an up-and-coming singer-songwriter from the Big Apple named Chris Lee.

Shackamaxon, which includes players from Amherst, Queens, Hartford, and Maine, was billed as a "Drone-rock" band. Drone they did, rock they did not.
Each member sat on the floor huddled or hunched over their instruments. There was a "Ban Haircuts" poster attached to an open suitcase at the front of the stage and a string of blue Christmas lights along the back wall where what looked to be strands of old reel-to-reel tape were dangling.

When the droning began, I counted five Shackamaxons. About ten minutes in, I realized that a guy sitting offstage to the right was also playing along. Besides the obligatory electric guitar and bass, there were odd stringed things that I couldn't name, an antique tuba, various bells and whistles, flutes, tambourines, harmonicas that the performers would arbitrarily play then put aside.

For a half-hour or so, the audience sat with rapt attention as Matt Krefting, John Shaw, Chris Gray, Pete Nolan, Aaron Rosenblum, and Marcia Bassett noodled about, picking up then discarding one instrument after the next, or toying with their amps. Throughout, the Shackamaxon never once made eye contact with each other or the audience, looking somewhere between bored and/or preoccupied as they labored over one instrument, then the next. I wondered if they practiced much, or if they just kind of wing it.

The sound that emanated from Shackamaxon can only be described as a monochromatic drone. It was hypnotic for those it worked for and dull for those it did not, a kind of keyboardless Tangerine Dream, without the dream, or a poorman's Phillip Glass. There were no lyrics, no discernable melody, no solos, no dynamics to speak of. The sound varied little, despite the constant shifting of instruments. At one point, Bassett stood up for a minute while playing. I wasn't sure if she was just in the moment or needing to stretch. It was a welcome sign of life.

After a half-hour or so, the droning petered out. The audience applauded, snapping out of their collective hypnosis. They seemed genuinely appreciative of the set. I headed out the door, looking forward to getting home and listening to some Steve Earle.

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