Song of the Week – Tell Me Your Plans and Empty Ever After, The Shirts


I believe in trusting my instincts and following the subtle signals we receive from the cosmos. I know, it sounds hokey but when unrelated events line up you have to wonder why and trust there is a reason.

Let me explain how I came to choose today’s SotW.

Blondie has been all over the media lately. They got a recent cover story in MOJO (May 2014) and took a rare musical spot on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (May 14th). This got me thinking about Blondie’s roots as an act at CBGB’s along with the other bands commonly associated with the club. Some had very successful careers (The Ramones, Talking Heads, Patti Smith) others a little less so (Television and Mink Deville) and yet others were merely a footnote – like The Shirts.

So I began to think that maybe a song by The Shirts would be a good SotW candidate, especially since their brand of power pop was closer to Blondie than the edgier rock of most of those other bands.

But here’s the kicker that caused me to pull the trigger. I just received an email from Netflix announcing that the 13 episode season two of Orange is the new Black is now available for viewing. Bingo, the light went on! Annie Golden, the lead singer for The Shirts, played the character of the “mute” Norma in season one. That locked it.

Today’s SotW is “Tell Me Your Plans” from their 1978 debut album.

“Tell Me Your Plans” was a surprise hit in Europe but received little notice here in the States.

For an example of the band’s harder rock sound, check out “Empty Ever After.”

The Shirts were based out of Brooklyn. Several of the Italian American bandmates were cousins – kind of a neighborhood band – and preferred that the band’s name be pronounced with a heavy Brooklyn accent — The “Shoits” (think John Travolta’s Tony Manero character in Saturday Night Fever).

The Shirts
was produced by Mike Thorne who may have formed relationships with the CBGB acts when he was hired to work on Wire’s Live at CBGB Theatre, New York – July 18th 1978. It has his trademark sound that graces quite a few other great albums including Wire’s Pink Flag, ‘Til Tuesday’s Voices Carry, and Human Sexual Response’s In A Roman Mood.

After releasing a couple more albums The Shirts dissolved in 1981.

Enjoy… until next week.