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Shellac
1000 Hurts
Touch and Go


As "alternative" rock music continues down its path of insipid wimp rock there are increasingly precious few things that can manage to keep the musical part of my brain happy. One of those things is the nasty cha-chunka guitar noise that Steve Albini and his crew of strongmen from the city of big shoulders makes. There is no new ground being broken here. That's just as well because what is being passed as "new ground" by many bands today is just boring rehashed garbage anyway. So no new ground, fine. What is there then? How about a smack upside your head. That's pretty much what 1000 Hurts is. 1000 Hertz (1KHz) is a reference tone (we've all heard that sound, whether we know it or not) and as far as this goes if used as a reference 1000 Hurts is a reference to what can be right about a rock album. It's loud, brash and has an acidic humor to it.

Charging out of it's cardboard tape reel box like a rhino with grenade up it's ass "Prayer Song" is a happy little ditty about wanting God to kill a couple people. By the end of the song there's not much question about how Albini feels about these folks. Next, "Squirrel Song" is one of my favorites. It's a "sad fucking song" It's pretty funny and weird too. It's on this cut that the pedal is pushed to the floor and the full fury of Shellac has occasion to hit full on. Then it's suddenly over. "Mama Gina" is another terrific song. A quiet build

that rolls to a start fueled by Albini's odd guitar noodlings over Bob Weston's bass and Todd Trainer's drums. Scratch that. Nothing is ever really "over" anything on an Albini recording. The drums sound like they are in your living room. "Mama Gina" sounds like two songs. The finishing part sucker punches you if you don't catch it. there are vast expanses of instrumental work on 1000 Hurts. "QRJ" is one of those. It flows easily enough into the very fine "Ghosts." Yes this one certainly sounds like Shellac. Nobody could mistake this for anyone else. It's one of the faster cuts and it's as muti-textured a

song as any they've done before. It has more ups and downs than most of the other songs on the album. It's one to include on your next mix tape for your musically challenged friend who thinks Creed's got balls. More bitterness about some guy who cheated with his wife can be found on "Canaveral." He wants to see the loser's ashes fertilize China...from orbit. The really weird "New Number Song" is an odd-timed funny premise that sounds as crazy as the idea of rearranging the numbers does in the first place. Rounding out the top ten on this ten-track gem is "Watch Song." It's classic Shellac. Except for the live

drums it's not too much of a departure from old Big Black. What a great way to end 1000 Hurts, with an ass-kicking.

Shellac has another damned fine record on it's hands here. If they kind of lost you on Terraform worry not. You can come home now. Whether an old fan like me or a newbie, I suggest you go find this thing. Even if you hate the music buy it for the trick packaging. It's right in there for cd loathing Albini. Like the other Shellac releases it's awkward, and won't fit into your standard cd rack. I love it. I actually found it to be actually convenient and easy to

use. Like its throwback packaging the music contained therein is good

old-fashioned balls-out rock and roll that can make your soda go flat. Not that everyone who goes to a big label starts making crappy music. Nor do those who record for those who are on the majors start either. Albini should record all the big-ass bands he wants if it allows him to continue to bankroll music like this. The performance is dead-on and the sound quality is stellar. What more can you ask for? Unless there's a whole wave of world class recordings coming out in the next few months this one is definitely on my top ten for the year.

--Chadbo

Track Listing:

  1. Prayer to God
  2. Squirrel Song
  3. Mama Gina
  4. QRJ
  5. Ghosts
  6. Song Against Itself
  7. Canaveral
  8. New Number Order
  9. Shoe Song
  10. Watch Song


Mike Doughty



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