Wilco’s upcoming Solid Sound Festival has a treat for outsider music fans hidden away in its lineup: a reunion by The Shaggs, the “proto-punk” group that counted Frank Zappa and Kurt Cobain among the fans of its discordant rhythms, off-kilter singing, and general New England weirdness. Founded when would-be impressario Austin Wiggins more-or-less dragooned his daughters Dot, Betty, and Helen into forming a band, the group’s earnestly amateurish debut album The Philosophy Of The World has been a long-time feature of the novelty and cult music scene.
Now, the original Shaggs—minus drummer Helen, who died in 2006—and their sister and occasional bandmate Rachel will be reuniting for the first time in 18 years. (The group previously played at NRBQ’s 30th anniversary celebration in New York City in November of 1999.) The announcement comes on the heels of last year’s news that Light In The Attic Records would be reissuing the band’s only album, suggesting that Shaggs mania is once again sweeping America, presumably in a shambling, off-rhythm way. Solid Sound Festival kicks off in Massachusetts on June 23.
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