The story goes that Max brought Shannon to the studio, where he was playing guitar on a track produced by Leon Michels of El Michels Affair, that needed a vocalist. They put Shannon in the booth to try it out. It was her first time ever recording. Then, in one take, the song “Strange Boy” had a singer who completed the vibe. The Shacks were born. [official bio]

The Shacks are a new band. Up until this blog post they had no music online, except for a couple of songs on Soundcloud that were taken down at some point earlier this year. Those songs were gone by the time I came across them on Instagram. It was a video clip that someone posted at one of the few local shows they've played since the end of 2015. The clip reminded me of Mazzy Star, hooked me, and caused me to hunt them down which in turn led to the El Michels Affair (feat. The Shacks) song "Strange Boy" making its premiere in this post today:

The Shacks are primarily the duo of Max Shrager and vocalist Shannon Wise. Max, though only 20 years old, already has an impressive resume. He's a writer, producer and musician who has written for Daptone Records, Dunham Records and Big Crown Records. The Shacks are signed to Big Crown which is a new record label by Leon Michels and Danny Akalepse of Truth and Soul Records. Max also plays with the Daptone-signed Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens, Lee Fields, Donnie and Joe Emerson, Monika, Diane Birch and many more.

You might expect a funky record after hearing all those details, but the only thing the Shacks have in common with Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, is an appreciation for a soulful analog sound from a time gone by. In their own words, "Strange Boy" "sounds like the Five Keys met Neil Young and cut a record with Jane Birkin – but in English." Listen above.

"Strange Boy" is the A Side to a new El Michels Affair 45 which out this Friday (6/24) via Big Crown Records (pictured below). The B Side, "No Surprise" (which you can hear a sample of now, on the order page), is self-described as "a perfect blend of El Michels Affair’s hazy, cinematic soul and 60’s pop ala Sonny and Cher". It reminds me of Jesus & Mary Chain with Hope Sandoval vocals (sort of a mashup of "Sometimes Always" and "Just Like Honey").

This is an El Michels Affair release (that was recorded two years ago when Shannon was just 16). El Michels Affair is the mostly instrumental project of Big Crown co-founder Leon Michels who also plays in The Arcs, Menahan Street Band, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, and many more.

The Shacks' own self-titled, debut EP is coming Oct. 7 via Big Crown, and they have even more material already recorded for a record after that.

Catch the Shacks at their only upcoming show. They, along with their labelmates 79.5, open for Chicano Batman at Bowery Ballroom on 7/30. Tickets are still available.

The Shacks flyer
The Shacks 45

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