Wednesday 6 April 2022

Smog - Crawl Into My Shell (1993-2006)


Short bio:
Bill Callahan (born June 3, 1966) is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist who for several years recorded and performed under the band name Smog. Callahan started out as a highly experimental artist, using substandard instruments and recording equipment. His early songs lacked melodic structure and were clumsily played on poorly tuned guitars, resulting in the dissonant sounds on his self-released cassettes. Once he signed a contract with Drag City, he started to use recording studios and a greater variety of instruments for his records.

From 1993 to 2000, Callahan's recordings grew more and more "professional" sounding, with more instruments, and a higher sound quality. He recorded two albums with the influential producer Jim O'Rourke and Tortoise's John McEntire, and collaborated with Neil Hagerty. After 2000's "Dongs of Sevotion", Callahan began moving back to a slightly simpler instrumentation and recording style, while retaining the more consistent songwriting style he had developed over the years. This shift is apparent in albums such as "Rain on Lens", "Supper", and "A River Ain't Too Much to Love".

Smog's songs are often based on simple, repetitive structures, consisting of a simple chord progression repeated for the duration of the entire song. His singing is characterized by his baritone voice. Melodically and lyrically he tends to eschew the verse-chorus approach favoured by many contemporary songwriters, preferring instead a more free-form approach relying less on melodic and lyrical repetition. Themes in Callahan's lyrics include relationships, animals, relocation, nature, and more recently, politics.

In 2007, Callahan stopped using the name Smog, going under his real name for future releases.

This anthology focuses on Bill Callahan's work released under the name of Smog. I've avoided his earliest recordings, some of which are almost impossible to find, instead concentrating on his releases from 1993's "Julius Caesar" up until his final release using the name Smog, the 2006 EP "Rock Bottom Riser".
This collection features at least 1 track from these albums, plus the odd single/EP track. My introduction to Smog was the album he released in 1995, "Wild Love", following his career closely ever since. Perhaps in the future I'll compile some of my favourite tracks released under his own name. My favourite Smog albums? I'd say "Knock Knock" from 1999 and "Rain on Lens" released in 2001. This collection features 2 tracks from both of those albums. As usual origin of each track & year of release is tagged in the music files and in the download file. I hope you enjoy this latest collection. Cheers!

  1. Chosen One (3:10)
  2. Look Now (3:17)
  3. Not Lonely Anymore (1:59)
  4. Ambition (4:23)
  5. Cold Discovery (5:51)
  6. Spread Your Bloody Wings (3:21)
  7. Dirty Pants (4:30)
  8. Bathysphere (4:46)
  9. Bowery (3:19)
10. I Break Horses (6:05)
11. Just Like Napoleon (2:54)
12. The Well (6:55)
13. Let's Move to the Country (2:56)
14. Real Live Dress (5:20)
15. My Shell (Electric Version) (5:43)
16. Inspirational (6:20)
17. Keep Some Steady Friends Around (4:26)
18. Held (3:59)

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