Tag Archives: genius

Shellac @ Sonar Tonight

You gotta go see Shellac tonight.

Among the many reasons why you gotta go see Shellac tonight is because you’ve probably never seen them before, and the smart money says you’ll probably never see them again. After all, even though they’ve been around forever, they’re not exactly banging down the door for the title of ‘hardest working band in show business.’ The bio on the Touch & Go website pretty much sums it up:

Band information:
“While there is no specific coordination between Shellac’s record releases and touring schedules, you can expect the band to tour at its usual sporadic and relaxed pace.”

Current:
“Shellac will have a new LP anytime between now and the future.”

A visual approximation of the flying fuck Shellac doesn't give about you.

Now, maybe you’ve never even heard of Shellac. Don’t worry, that is a minor detail and it doesn’t matter in the least. You will still need to go see them though, whether you’ve heard of them or not. In fact, if you’re unfamiliar with the name of Shellac or its frontman Steve Albini, it’s probably because Albini doesn’t give a flying fuck whether you’ve ever heard of him or not. This is punk rock. Steve Albini doesn’t have to fucking impress you.

That said, Albini is actually pretty impressive. He first made a splash along with Naked Raygun’s Jeff Pezzati in the early 80’s when they formed Big Black, which sounded like nothing that had been heard before and like very little that’s been heard since. Although they only put out 2 records and aren’t well-remembered today, Big Black was a band’s band, and went on to be hugely influential to other bands that were hugely influential like Helmet, Clockcleaner, and Baltimore’s own Lungfish.

Although in a lot of ways Shellac is an encore, or a second act, they’ve also been fairly influential in their own right. Their musical DNA can be traced out to acts as disparate as the Dismemberment Plan, Double Dagger, and Sweep the Leg Johnny. It’s almost as if the band’s mission statement was “Hey, we’re not doing this for our fucking health… we’re doing it to show you what music can sound like if you cut the shit. Turns out that when you cut the shit, music sounds pretty good. This is another reason you need to go see Shellac tonight.

But the last and perhaps most important reason you will go see shellac tonight is because Steve Albini is a genius. Now, we don’t throw that word around lightly, and calling anyone a genius is debatable, but Albini probably is. Odds are, he’s produced your favorite record, having done recording work for acts like the Pixies, Nirvana, the Jesus Lizard, Superchunk, Helmet, PJ Harvey, Jawbreaker, Guided By Voices, Godspeed You Black Emperor, and about a thousand others. You can hear him profess musical philosophy here, here, and all over Youtube.

Even if he’s not a genius (and we don’t concede that he’s not) he sure acts like one. Which we mean to say… he’s kind of a dick. You have to be kind of a dick to name one of your bands Rapeman, call one of your records Songs About Fucking or to have a Facebook page called Steve Albini Being A Jerk. But you know what? There’s nothing wrong with that. We’re kind of a dick too, after all.

It says a lot about the state of music and especially the state of the internet that Albini is the first person we’ve ever heard say anything negative about Odd Future. Even NPR is happy to heap praise on them but you know what? Odd Future is terrible and their fans are stupid.

That’s why you’re going to come see Steve Albini and Shellac tonight. Because they’re one of the last real remaining punk bands in America. Because they’ve never been afraid to say what needs to be said and to take the path of most resistance. Because they don’t give a fuck if you come see them or not.

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Sonar is at 407 E Saratoga Street downtown. Tonight’s show is $13 on the main stage, 8 pm doors. Helen Money also plays.

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House Rules: Bring the Bum’s Cooler to Baltimore!

Over the summer, when we were in the Middle East, one of the other Americans we were working with happened to be from South Florida. Now, we know some of you are probably rolling your eyes and groaning just at the mention of South Florida, but hear us out on this one.

This guy, who we’ll call Broward, was kind of an anomaly in that he was actually from South Florida, and was neither a Miami clubfuck or a retired New Yorker. In fact, he probably would have got along quite well in Baltimore.

Broward was about our age, and with the world being as small as it is, we’d actually met him before this trip. Anyway, we got to talking one day, and the conversation had turned to beer and bars and so on, when he told us of a certain bar in his home town which had hit on an absolutely genius idea.

Being down and out is no reason to go thirsty.

This particular bar was located directly across from a greyhound racing track. So when he described it as a dive, you can believe it was a real, genuine dive. It was the kind of place that was open from 6 am until last call every day; where trucker hats are worn without irony and people go to cure the shakes. It was the kind of place where people who lose bets on dog races hang out, and where the bartender would sometimes do customers the favor of cashing their social security checks for them.

But this bar had one thing going for it: The Bum’s Cooler.

Here’s how it works- the Bum’s Cooler sits behind the bar and is stocked with 3 types of canned beer; PBR, Milwaukee’s Best, and Icehouse. For one American Dollar ($1), the bartender will reach into the Bum’s Cooler and grab a can at random to serve you. No happy hour, no specials, just random one dollar swill beers, every day, all day. Don’t like Icehouse? Drink it fast and hope for a PBR next time. Don’t like PBR? Spend two more bucks for a good beer, you bum.

Needless to say, the Bum’s Cooler must be brought to Baltimore as soon as possible. We’ve already imported some of South Florida’s worst ideas, and we say it’s high time we brought in a good one.

If any local bar owner will fill a cooler full of Boh, PBR, and High Life, we promise to sit in there from open to close playing keno and piling up as many empty cans as possible.

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