Wednesday 16 November 2022

Shellac - Be Prepared


Shellac, from Chicago, Illinois, consist of Steve Albini (guitar and vocals), Bob Weston (bass guitar and vocals) and Todd Trainer (drums and vocals), formed in 1992. Their music genre has been classified as noise rock, post-hardcore and math rock, but they describe themselves as a "minimalist rock trio."

Shellac has a distinctive, minimalist sound based on asymmetric time signatures, repetitive rhythms, an angular guitar sound, and both Albini's and Weston's surreal, bitingly sarcastic lyrics. Songs typically do not have traditional verse/chorus/verse structure and the arrangements are sparse, to the point where some describe them as "amelodic".

Writing for Drowned in Sound, Benjamin Bland stated: "Big Black and Shellac are surely the two most influential 'noise rock' groups there have ever been. Hundreds of bands have sounded like them, and in all probability so will hundreds more. Who can blame them? When a shadow that large looms over an entire subgenre of music, it’s hard not to be influenced by it, let alone ignore it altogether."
John Robb, music critic and frontman of British post-punk band The Membranes, called Shellac "the finest rock band on the planet. This is the rock band that the rest of us in our bands [...] have had to measure ourselves against and if we are found wanting then we have to cower behind rocks and attempt to revive our measly offerings until they measure up."

I'll keep this bit relatively short... I've been a fan of Steve Albini since I first heard Big Black in the mid 80s, and his subsequent bands Rapeman (Albini later expressed regret at the name of the band, saying "it was a flippant choice", calling it unconscionable and indefensible) and of course Shellac. If I were to compile my favourite 50 songs of all time, I'm sure Big Black's "Kerosene" and Shellac's "Wingwalker" would be in that list.

This collection features tracks from Shellac's 5 studio albums so far (from 1992's "At Action Park" up to "Dude Incredible" in 2014), plus various singles/EPs and one compilation track. Favourite album? That would be "Excellent Italian Greyhound" from 2007, and features the most heavily here. Not the most prolific of bands, I guess his production work with many other acts over the years has kept him quite busy, but I hope Shellac surprise us with a new album at some point in the future.

As per usual, info containing track origin & year of release is tagged in the music files and in the download file. I hope you enjoy this latest collection!

  1. The End of Radio (8:24)
  2. Doris (3:11)
  3. Copper (1:45)
  4. Prayer to God (2:26)
  5. Riding Bikes (5:23)
  6. Killers (1:24)
  7. Spoke (2:13)
  8. The Rambler Song (2:54)
  9. Pull the Cup (4:12)
10. '95 Jailbreak (4:30)
11. Squirrel Song (2:36)
12. Disgrace (2:40)
13. Dude Incredible (6:00)
14. Kittypants (1:57)
15. Billiard Player Song (3:45)
16. A Minute (3:37)
17. Song Against Itself (4:13)
18. Gary (3:57)
19. Be Prepared (3:59)
20. Il Porno Star (5:12)
21. Wingwalker (4:59)

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