Shellac performing at All Tomorrow's Parties May 2007
|Origin||Chicago, Illinois, USA|
|Genres||Post-hardcore, noise rock, math rock|
|Labels||Touch and Go, Drag City, Skin Graft|
|Associated acts||Big Black, Brick Layer Cake, Flour, Mission of Burma, Rapeman, Volcano Suns|
Shellac (sometimes referred to as Shellac of North America) is an American group composed of Steve Albini (guitar and vocals), Bob Weston (bass guitar and vocals) and Todd Trainer (drums and vocals). Although they have been classified as post-hardcore they describe themselves as a "minimalist rock trio."
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 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". 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.
Mid-set in many live performances Shellac take the time for one or more "question and answer" sessions, where members of the band respond in an off-the-cuff and at times jocular manner to questions shouted out by fans and hecklers alike. Notably, in 1997 they recorded an instrumental album known as The Futurist for modern dance troupe LaLaLa Human Steps. Unwilling to grant what the band considered a sub-par recording a wider audience, they pressed approximately 700 vinyl LP copies of the music and gave them away as gifts to friends. The front cover was a list of the recipients, with the relevant name encircled in order to personalize the copy, as well as to aid the band in making sure all the listed recipients received a copy (the band is still looking for people on the list to get their copy to them). Shellac also played a Halloween show as The Sex Pistols, featuring former Jesus Lizard and Scratch Acid singer David Yow as Johnny Rotten.
In 2002, the band curated the All Tomorrow's Parties festival in Camber Sands, England. Knowing that most of the audience had come specifically to see Shellac, the band went on first every morning as an incentive for the festival-goers to be up in time to see the other acts. Other acts included The Fall, Will Oldham, Nina Nastasia, Rachel's, Mission of Burma, Silkworm, Threnody Ensemble, Shipping News, High Dependency Unit, Arcwelder, The Breeders, David Lovering, Blonde Redhead, Wire, Zeni Geva, Oxes, Flour, Smog, Cheap Trick, Danielson Famile, The Ex, and Dianogah. A CD of tracks from the bands performing at the festival was released on ATP Records.
To celebrate their 20th anniversary as a band, Shellac will return to ATP to curate once more in December 2012 - so far choosing Wire, Scrawl, Mission Of Burma, The Ex + Brass Unbound, Red Fang, Shannon Wright, The Membranes, Alix, Bear Claw, Helen Money, Dead Rider, Arcwelder, Neurosis, Mono, Melt Banana, Uzeda, Prinzhorn Dance School, Three Second Kiss, Buke and Gase, Oxbow, Nina Nastasia, Zeni Geva, Bottomless Pit, Pinebender and STNNNG to play alongside them, with more to be confirmed.
- At Action Park (1994)
- The Futurist (1997)
- Terraform (1998)
- 1000 Hurts (2000)
- Excellent Italian Greyhound (2007)
- A detailed gear diagram of Steve Albini's 2000 Shellac guitar rig is well-documented.
- A detailed gear diagram of Bob Weston's 2000 Shellac bass rig is well-documented.
- "Explore: Post-Hardcore (Top Artists)". Allmusic. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
- Terich, Jeff (April 24, 2007). "The 90-Minute Guide - Post-Hardcore". Treblezine. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
- "ATP Nightmare Before Christmas curated by Shellac"
- Cooper, Adam (2000). "Steve Albini's 2000 Shellac Guitar Rig". GuitarGeek.Com.
- Cooper, Adam (2000). "Bob Weston's 2000 Shellac Bass Rig". GuitarGeek.Com.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Shellac (band)|
- Official (Touch & Go Records) website
- Action Park: Incomplete Discography
- Band's biography / discography
- Southern Records biography page
- A wealth of information on Steve Albini's various projects
- Informative interview with Shellac
- Steve Albini's studio
- Shellac article July 2007
- Vacant: interview
- Crawdaddy: article
- Furious: interview
- June 2009 Interview with L.A. Record