Shellac - At Action Park (1994)
Shellac are the most abrasive band on the planet. In both song and lyric, they rip to the bloody core of things. Steve Albini pilots the ship with razor sharp guitars and caustic vocals while Bob Weston dumps piles of fierce bass under it, and Todd Trainer repeatedly slashes and bludgeons with urgent mathematically precise drum work. Together they drop some of the heaviest songs without ever muting the guitars into a chugging hardcore riff, or any sort of metal direction. Yet each and every piercing sound is gleaming with menacing metal qualities. It is the musicians, most notably Steve Albini's, dedication to sound engineering and vintage equipment that is mostly resposible for the biting sounds of Shellac. The outspoken Albini has openly stated his distaste for digital technology and continues to record with all analog equpiment with careful mic positioning, even stating that CD's are shit on the liner notes of the album. Despite their minimal sound they weave a dense powerful rock record, not unlike many of their Touch & Go labelemates (Jesus Lizard, Slint, Don Caballero). They have a mathy yet viscerally direct approach with many complex approaches in both rhythm and tune and a keen sense of texture and form.
The band has declared live that they will release a follow up to 2000's 1000 Hurts sometime this year. It will of course be released on Touch & Go and will be titled Excellent Italian Greyhound, after Todd Trainers dog. Bonus points if you can guess what kind of dog it is. ^_^
The Story of Shellac, minimalist rock trio