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The Shaggs

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The Shaggs


The Shaggs were four teenage girls living in Fremont, New Hampshire, in the late 1960s, who were forced to form a band and play music by their insane father. With no training and no apparent understanding of music theory, the girls came up with music that defies categorization. Their one album, Philosophy of the World, recorded in 1969, sounds like nothing that has come before it or since. The girls' sense of rhythm stands outside the parameters of mathematics and the vocal harmonies they employ so closely follow the guitar lines that it creates a weird atonal quality. Their extremely severe New England accents didn't help the musicality either, making their singing sound even more bizarre. The Shaggs have long been the butt of many jokes, and their music is considered the pinnacle of laughable oddities by record geeks and hipsters, but the poor girls were more the victims of abuse than misguided fame-seekers. On the advice of a fortune teller, their father formed the band and secured them a weekly gig at the local auditorium. In interviews the girls have described their reception by the people of their town as anything but positive, but they were forced to play anyway. Heaping insult upon injury, the girls had to clean the auditorium after their shows. But in the end, the songs totally blow any fake simplistic garbage Jonathan Richman or Jad Fair wrote out of the water, or any other jokers who've made a name for themselves by acting like they were deconstructing pop music because they didn't know any better. The Shaggs' music may be awful, but it remains some of the most unique and guileless stuff ever recorded.
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