Shopping with Kara Manning at WFUV (photo by Kristen Riffert)
The London trio Shopping excels in the kind of bouncy and brash punk-pop that flourished in Britain in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s via outspoken, anti-Thatcherism bands like Gang of Four, The Slits and X-Ray Spex. And while guitarist Rachel Aggs, bassist Billy Easter and drummer Andrew Milk don’t drift towards polemics—Shopping just want their fans to dance—the band’s sociopolitical perspective is still the heartbeat of their two albums — 2014’s Consumer Complaints and the recently released Why Choose?
The three friends share vocals, although Aggs handles the bulk of their effervescent songs, like the spiky “Take It Outside” or “Time Wasted.” Shopping also possess a strong DIY ethic — their first album was released via Andrew’s own label, Milk Records — and they consider the arty Hackney club Power Lunches to be a home base.
Shopping, who recently wrapped up a headlining US tour that kicked off after their appearance at the CMJ Music Marathon in October, has opened for pop-punk forebears like Wire and Gang of Four. Witty and astute, their diverse influences range from Elastica (Easter arrived sporting an old Elastica t-shirt) to The Gossip. When Shopping came up to Studio A, the three friends talked about politics in music, surviving in a rapidly gentrified East London and DIY culture.