There's a funny bit of trivia behind this new single and video from Oakland-based duo Steel Cranes. As vocalist and guitarist Tracy Shapiro tells it, she and the other half of this duo, Amanda Schukle hadn't had any contact with each other for a couple of weeks after finishing recording their first album, Ouroboros, back in 2013. But they got back together to start working on new songs right away after the break, and they found out they'd each written a song with the same title.
"I told Amanda about a new song I had written called 'Today Is The Day', and she said something along the lines of, 'You’re joking, right?!' [and] I said, 'No,' because I hate jokes," Shapiro says. "I was delighted with the serendipity of the situation [but then I] clarified, 'We're doing mine, right?'"
Steel Cranes, whose sophomore album Tango drops August 5, has earned plenty of good press in their first three years of performing. Writing about "Boat Song" from their debut album, Bitch Magazine said, "They shred, but they're not frantic. Their sound lacks any pretense whatsoever, offering raw, relentless power instead." And talking about their last released single, "Pretty," SF Weekly made comparisons between Shapiro's "languid, raspy" vocals and Courtney Love's, and wrote, "It's almost hard to believe that the song was created by a duo... because there's just so damn much going on in it."
Schukle says the songs on the new album, which they duo has been performing live for a while, are more complex and nuanced than those on their debut effort they the pair did all of the recording and mixing themselves, with Schukle playing bass, drums, guitar, and keyboard. "Tango has a lot more of a post-punk vibe," says Schukle, "definitely some grunge, maybe a little classic rock, and also some generally weird shit that I’m not sure how to describe. But it is also more beautiful.”
In coming up with a concept for the "Today Is The Day" music video, the Shapiro and Schukle decided to go with an absurdist take on a sports drink commercial, shot around the streets of Oakland and near Lake Merritt.
"Playing militant coaches of a misbehaving track team wasn't too far of a stretch for our acting abilities," jokes Schukle.
"I had a Gatorade commercial from 15 years ago that featured women's soccer stuck in my head," Shapiro says. "But due to the soaring cost of shin guards, we landed on the delinquent track team motif." And, she adds, "The day after the shoot, neither of us could move, we were so sore from all the exercise!"