Shellac formed in Chicago, Illinois, in 1992 as an informal collaboration between guitarist Steve Albini and drummer Todd Trainer. Former Naked Raygun bassist Camilo Gonzalez sat in on early rehearsals and played on one song on Shellac’s first single before permanent bassist Bob Weston, formerly of Boston’s Volcano Suns, joined.
Shellac has a distinctive, minimalist sound based on unusual and urgent time signatures, repetitive heavy rhythms, an angular guitar sound, and Albini’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”. Shellac’s signature sound is often associated with their enthusiasm for vintage Travis Bean guitars, a rare brand of aluminium-based instruments, and the Interfax “Harmonic Percolator” distortion pedal. Albini is also known to use copper plectrums and unique guitar straps that fit around the waist rather than over the shoulder. The band prefers the intimacy of smaller clubs and live appearances are sporadic.
Both Weston and Albini are recording engineers. They prefer a sparse, analog recording sound with little or no overdubbing, and are meticulous about microphone placement and choice of equipment.
Steely Dan delivered the first “Brooklyn (Owes The Charmer Under Me)” in 45 years during the third outing of their five-night residency at New York City’s Beacon Theatre.
Trey Anastasio offered up a solo acoustic debut of “Sanity” and more during his concert at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee on Friday night.
Umphrey’s McGee busted out “Transdermal Celebration” during the second night of their three-night run at the Georgia Theatre in Athens.
The JamBase 20th Anniversary 20 For 20 series continues with a list of 20 Fan Sites launched in the past 20 years.
Spafford released audio from their recent show at The Bluebird in Bloomington, Indiana which featured two completely improvised sets just in time for this week’s ‘Full Show Friday’ column.