Shel Plock (b. 1974, aka Shelly Blake-Plock, R. Richard Wojewodzki) is a writer and a performer of a variety of musical styles. He started out in 1988 playing folk music in the vein of Pete Seeger before joining a variety of rock and punk bands starting in 1989. From 1994 to 2006, he performed and recorded avant-folk under the name Shelly Blake. From 2007 to 2018, he performed as Shelly Blake-Plock — during which time (2008-2013) he served as a member of the Red Room Collective in Baltimore and helped co-organize the annual High Zero Festival of Experimental Improvised Music. 

Concurrently, he played guitar in a Baltimore-based honky-tonk band called Oella and led a free jazz group for children called Ear Monsters. In 2015, Shel and MJ Wojewodzki collaborated for the first time in a project called Arts and Remedies. In 2017, Shel reconnected with Baltimore musicians Matthew Welch and Bill Shade to record a quasi-concept album called The Unreliable Narrator, and the following year he joined forces again with MJ Wojewodzki to put out a handful of singles under the moniker The Preambulators. In 2019, under the name Pentary Th' Mos, he issued a series of ambient and electronic EPs. And during the pandemic years, he recorded and released several anonymous underground metal albums. In 2023 he released two albums, the first being an instrumental avant-jazz album under the name Shel Plock and the second being a gothic-tinged metal album under the name Grave Domain. 

For the foreseeable future, new material will be released under the name: Shel Plock and the Grave Domain, beginning with the early 2024 release of a new album of country-and-western songs.


Ghostly country-and-western.

Listen: Coming Soon

Classic Country-and-Western sounds meet a lo-fi underground aesthetic. Exploring themes of death, hauntings, and gallows humor through a motley variety of Country music tropes, the eleven song set includes shrewd but breezy singer-songwriter numbers, dust-kicked hobo-folk waltzes, mountain music and country blues grooves, fractured folk reels, new grass jams, old time ballads, and tongue-in-cheek Outlaw Country — all wrapped up with a healthy dose of Bluegrass flatpicking and a chaser of electric Bakersfield honky-tonk twang. The album draws inspiration from icons like Kris Kristofferson, Townes Van Zandt, Norman Blake, and Steve Earle while alluding to Plock’s 30-year journey writing songs across the widest range of genres.

GRAVE DOMAIN (2023 - )

Psychopomp rock.

Listen: Grave Domain 2023 || Full Album | Spotify | Bandcamp | Apple | YouTube | Pandora

"Baltimore based Grave Domain is the one-man metal/hard rock/goth creation of one Shel Plock who took the name from a character he found flipping through a Dungeons & Dragons spell book. Proudly lo-fi in attitude, Grave Domain thunder through such songs as 'Death Notices' and 'Across the Acheron' with a rabid kaleiodoscopic energy, enhanced with strains of psyched-out 70s synthesizer for cheap splatter movie soundtrack effect. Plock signs/burns out with 'Deth Bed' [sic], a great, mad rant squawked through a shredded microphone, as a roiling junk-heap of broken electric guitars and crushed electronics crashes behind him." — The Wire (Issue 475 September 2023) "Something of a concept album... the new collection introduces a 'host of characters' with a prevailing horror theme, track by track. Grave Domain leans into its influences as a 'pastiche of heavy metal, hard rock, and gothic influences derived from music, comic books, and horror novels alike, stitched together like some Frankenstein’s monster with a taste for the anthemic.'" — Wildfire

SHEL PLOCK (2022 - )

Paranormal jazz.

Listen: Arcade Moon Echoes 2023 || Full Album | Spotify | Bandcamp

"Shelly excels at imagining, creating, and inhabiting new idea-spaces. It is incredibly fun to hear this kind of world-building approach applied to the making of a record. This album is a moody midnight stroll through a landscape cast into shadows by flickering neon — a mix of old and new. Tight electronic beats underpinning lurking synths, with shimmering lines traced out above by sax and guitar — echoing each other beneath the dark night sky. Time both stretched and compressed. Infinite and impossible. Familiar and yet surreal. A waking dream that you can revisit over and over again." — Rose Burt


Ambient and electronic scores.

Listen: The January Working (2019) || Full EP | Soundcloud

Listen: Elementals (2019) || Full EP | Soundcloud


Short punk songs.

Listen: Perennial Longshot b/w I Can't Stop Driving My Car (2018) || Full Single | Soundcloud

"It may only stretch 1 minute 36 seconds long, but inspired by a 70s punk ethos, American alt-punk-pop two-piece The Preambulators nail it perfectly on 'I Can't Stop Driving My Car'. Following on from October's AA release, 'Glorious Amateurs'/'Secret Weapon', Maryland-based vocalist MJ Wojewodzki and multi-instrumentalist Shelly Blake-Plock, their politically-tinged yet oblique lyrical witticisms, angular electric guitar, and minimalist synth arrangements, enhance the brevity of their work - and all recorded in their kitchen too." — Little Indie

Listen:| Glorious Amateurs b/w Secret Weapon (2018) || Full Single | Soundcloud

Listen:| He'd Rather Rip Us In Half b/w What Do You Know (2018) || Full Single | Soundcloud


Abstract guitar rock.

Listen: The Unreliable Narrator (2017) || Full Album | Bandcamp

"I feel as though i have been waiting to hear music from these three for 20 years now...Years of experience, held close to the vest seems to have come together in a sound that lets a person know what actual love can sound like." — William Schaff

ARTS AND REMEDIES (2015 - 2016)


Unreleased: The Moon Halo (2016)

Stay tuned as this recording may still see the light of day.

OELLA (2011 - 2012)


Listen: Carroll County Bootleggers (Live at Shakemore 2012) || Full Album | Soundcloud

Listen: Mt. Royal and North (2012) || Full Album | Soundcloud

Listen: Keswick Recordings (2011) || Full EP | Soundcloud

The classic Oella lineup was: Lawrence Lanahan, Bob Wagner, Shelly Blake-Plock, Mike McGuire, and Harry Bartelt. After the band broke up, some other band came along and stole our name.

SHELLY BLAKE-PLOCK (2007 - 2018)

Experimental and improvised music.

Watch: High Zero 2012 || Shelly Blake-Plock, Lily Susskind, Jennifer Walshe, Khristian Weeks

Watch: High Zero 2012 || Shelly Blake-Plock and Thomas Dimuzio

Watch: High Zero 2010 || Shelly Blake-Plock, Dan Deacon, Ju Suk Reet Meate, Ayako Kataoka, Hans Koch

"Blake-Plock's opening solo, a thorough exploration of possible sound, on the first evening was followed by four groups." The Wire magazine reviews the 2010 installment of the High Zero Festival — including a description of Shelly's opening salvo... Taking hold of a rather lovely double bass Blake-Plock looks at it hard, turning it slowly one way and then another, as if assessing its potential and capacities, and then quietly begins to percuss the instrument's body. Blake-Plock's communion with the double bass, a physically exacting relationship that will later involve wrapping its strings in lengths of tin foil, marked the formal opening to this year's High Zero." — The Wire (Issue 322 December 2010)

Watch: High Zero 2009 || Shelly Blake-Plock, Rose Burt, Kenta Nagai, Kate Porter, Will Redman

"As the night before, the final set at High Zero was a high-energy free-for-all. The performance was like a film loop of a train repeatedly hitting a car. Shelly Blake-Plock swirled cross-currents of feedback against his guitar amp and Rose Burt responded in kind with her baritone sax. Kenta Nagai and and Kate Porter were natural sparring partners: him unleashing a taut Chuck Berry scrawl, her pushing a fierce vibrato against the bridge of the cello. In the final minutes of the all-too-short set, Will Redman pummeled his drum kit, looking like a polished '50s drummer out of hell." — NPR Jazz

Listen: The Violencestring (Fall Records / Umlaut Records 2007) || Full Album | Spotify | Bandcamp | Umlaut | Soundcloud

"Shelly Blake-Plock and musical director Joel Grip assembled an international cast featuring Parisian phenom Eve Risser, Stockholm-based trumpeter Niklas Barnö, reedman John Dierker, violinist Ryan Dorsey, drummers Lyle Kissack and Ben McConnell, and Jessica Riefler, Carly Ptak, Twig Harper, Lawrence Lanahan as well as others in voice roles to record an album that merges radical 21st century experiments in free improvisation and concrete studio manipulation with traditional 19th century storytelling and character acting. It is produced by Shelly Blake-Plock and Matthew H. Welch. An eclectic work comprised of styles ranging from free drones tosch maltzy quasi-jazz to improvised chamber pieces to noisy art rock, ‘The Violencestring’ is based on a Victorian short story by Sabine Baring-Gould. It tells the story of a young boy whose only desire lies in learning to play the violin. Alas, when one’s parents are werewolves, music lessons just aren’t in the cards." — Umlaut

SHELLY BLAKE (1994 - 2006)


Listen: Discourse and Correspondence (Fall Records 2006) | Ray Johnson | I'm No Saint | Let's Talk | After | Home Movies || Full Album | Spotify | Soundcloud

Listen: Drug Warriors (Ringing Boots 2001) | If You Lived in this Body | Planctus Cigne | Jesus | Breaking | Clean Yerself Up || Full Album | Spotify | Soundcloud

Listen: Folk Blues and Things to Use (AmBiguous City 2000) | Obstacle | Front of the Line | A College Town | Mystery Trip || Full Album | Spotify

"Except for scattered and cryptic e-mails, each from a different part of the U.S. East Coast, I hadn't heard from Shelly Blake in four years. However, Blake's music has never been far from my mind. His previous [releases], The Lonely Ornamental Music Of Shelly Blake (1995), Color Notation On The Sociopathway (1995), The Kindest Cuts (1996) and Secret Breathing Lessons (1996) were lo-fi masterworks; emotionally raw, breathtaking poetry. In the interim, Blake moved to Boston, got married ('Spend a lot of time singing to my wife,' he reports.) and, if this recording is any indication, found some peace, if not comfort. Recorded on 4-track by Providence, RI-based artist-musician Will Schaff, Folk Blues & Things To Use is just Shelly's voice, acoustic guitar and harmonica, straight up, no chaser, like a 21st century version of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. Gone is the outright agony of the old work, but Folk Blues is nonetheless a terrific [recording], overflowing with complex emotions, luminous lyricism and sad, stark beauty. Isn't it time you heard something real?" — Demo Universe

Listen: Volume One (Ringing Boots 1995) || Full Album | Spotify

Note that this entry states the dates as 1995 - 2005, but in fact all of the recordings are from 1994 - 1995. Such is the mystery of life.

Listen: The Lonely Ornamental Music of Shelly Blake (Demos 1994 - 1995) | Samson's Response to a Mutated Heroine | The Straw that Broke the Camel's Back | Han Solo | Company Man

"One of the most consistently remarkable lo-fi demos I have ever heard. Shelly dangles his entrails in the daylight with each painfully inspired twitch of his cracking quavering voice... Takes the listener on an emotional roller coaster suffering serious metal fatigue... Conducts musical biopsies without anesthesia. The longing and despair in Blake's voice is almost unbearable -- you feel as though you're eavesdropping on a suicidal breakdown. The lyrics sit on your tongue like a spoonful of lye. Brilliant. A dose of genius." — from two reviews in Alternative Press from 1996"...eccentric, often morose but often excellent songs with an acoustic guitar on a 4-track recorder... the breadth and ambition of his 200 song strong catalog has more in common with Bob Dylan than Lou Barlow. "When the casual, offhand feel of the tapes is mentioned, he affirms that he dosen't do a lot of planning: 'that's exactly what it is: find someone I want to play with, record some songs.'... That homemade, accidental quality suffuses almost every aspect of Blake's work. "On one tune, he livens up a rambling tale of lost love with an irresistably catchy kiss-off chorus... while on another, he sagely muses beyond his bedroom walls that "Songs about traveling/ And songs about love/ Aren't as important as doing it"... He can seem to be offering up a diary page in song. "Blake has earned some very favorable reviews and has gotten hooked up with like minds at record labels, clubs, and in home-taping bedrooms all over. "But Blake seems uninterested in exploiting this minor buzz..." — No Cover, Baltimore City Paper, 1996 interview by Lee Gardner