Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
At Action Park
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
Listen to Samples
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Yup, its brilliant
Ronald Battista | Colorado Springs, CO | 01/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Meant to be listened to on vinyl,and the cd says just that. For those who do not appreciate Steve Albini's disdain for digital, I reprint here what it says on the cd:"This was not mastered directly to metal or pressed into 165 grams of virgin dye blackened vinyl. There is, in fact, nothing at all special about the manufacturing of this compact disc." Regardless, the music on the cd is indeed special. Like a marauding dirge descending slowly from the sky to land on your car, "My Black Ass" menaces and mesmerizes you into realizing this will be no ordinary aural trip. Shellac is about repetition until a particular riff or measure is perfect, and then throwing little variations into it to muss you up. They, of course, never lose their timing or include inappropriate noise-all moves are planned, all things are considered. Not to say that this record don't have no noise-check out "Crow" and "Song of The Minerals", for monstrous, vicious rock. "The Idea Of North" develops like sunrise, and "Boche's Dick" is a tight, methodical near closer that is waay too short and way to good to be short. All in all, no misses here. Best tune: "Song Of the Minerals", featuring sustained, forearm destroying Albini harmonic guitar scrape, and a sad story about a girl who uses heroin and sleeps around, possibly the same protagonist of "Trouser Minnow"?"WHY? Cuz it makes you feel better-its your arms, its none of my business", he growls.Don't expect many messages here, though; this is not a record of syntax, its all about the music.Normally rock sounds stupid when it takes itself seriously; not here."
Respect mah authoritay!
Wheelchair Assassin | The Great Concavity | 11/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Just in case his work with Big Black and Rapeman didn't provide him with enough indie cred, in the mid-90's Steve Albini made a triumphant return with Shellac, a noise-rock agglomeration that continued Albini's exploration of the darker sides of both music in particular and human nature in general. In contrast to the compelling if diffuse rage and perversity of Big Black's legendary swansong Songs About F***ing, Shellac's debut At Action Park is a devastatingly precise and intelligent battering ram of an album. Coupling the raw, indie-centric ethic that made Albini notorious with tricky rhythms, mathy arrangements, and winding song structures, At Action Park is a prime distillation of the years of underground rock history that preceded it. Everything here is carefully measured for maximum visceral impact, with the end result being a lean, ruthlessly efficient piece of aural abuse that's as intelligent as it is abrasive.
The opener My Black Ass is a perfect summation of Shellac's musical mission, with the violent stabbing motions of Albini's guitar married to Todd Trainer's halting drumbeats and the doomy chug of Bob Weston's bass. The next track, the scathing, pseudo-industrial Pull the Cup, continues in the same vein, except the lack of vocals makes it sound like something Don Caballero's evil twins might do. The Admiral is a metallic, headbanging number that manages an odd catchiness, but as the rest of the album makes clear, Shellac were more concerned with gut-punching you than making you move. The Crow is a more typical piece: pure menace, Albini emotionlessly intoning his ominous vocals over a disemboweling rhythm section, with shards of guitar noise only occasionally intruding on its evil atmosphere. Another classic, Song of the Minerals, is built on a hypnotic, unsettling drone that burrows its way deep into your subconscious while Albini's vocals become steadily more unhinged before exploding into shouts of "It's alright if it makes you feel better!" The band does show some aptitude for the eerily minimal thing as well with The Idea of North, a (relatively) subdued mood piece whose guitar noise and drumbeats lull more than pummell. Of course, the band quickly returns to malevolence with the lurching metal-on-metal scrape of the delightful Dog and Pony Show. The brief Boche's Dick wavers and staggers like a drunk before kicking into full dementia mode about halfway through, while Il Porno Star is high-end musical math whose sparse guitar lines and steamrolling bass rhythms are augmented by the jazzy complexity of Trainer's drum work.
By the time the album ends with one of Albini's pointed screaming fits at the conclusion of Il Porno Star, it's clear he had another classic album on his hands. I'd even submit this album is superior to Songs About F***ing: smarter, more mature, and even scarier for it. I don't have the other two Shellac albums, but At Action Park has guaranteed them a spot at the top of my "to buy" list."
Best of Albini's albums, and it made me feel better.
manos77 | Athens, Greece | 03/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had followed Steve Albini's Big Black quite closely, and they were good. I only listened to Shellac's material carefully lately, and I must say that I was amazed! Yeah, Albini's music has matured, if that could ever make sense at all. Terraform (1998 release) and 1000 Hurts (2000) are both really good albums, but this one, the first full-length attempt of Shellac, surpasses them all. The dark atmoshere, the mean bass, the merciless pounding of drums, and Steve's special guitar sound all add up perfectly. And they produce powerful music, both aesthetically (for fans of underground rock) and emotionally.The album starts rocking from its very first song. "My Black Ass" is a very fine moment sonically, although its typically sarcastic drop-dead-b**ch lyrics add nothing new to poetry. Still, one of the best moments here. "Pull the Cup" is a tough instumental, and by listening to it we realise that Albini is one of the main influences of the irish band "Therapy?" (to their credit!).The next three songs are the absolute highlights of the album. "The Admiral" and the "Song of the Minerals" are the closest that Shellac come to a pop-song form in this album, and it really works. These songs are an excellent introduction to Shellac, also revealing how much Steve, Bob and Todd must be missing the great Husker Du (we all do!). After listening to them, lyrics like "It came as no surprise (that) he was taken by surprise" and "You picked him out but he's a total stranger!/ Why? Because it makes you feel better/ It's all right if it makes you feel better" are never leaving you head again. "Crow" talks about another tormented relationship, "time flies, as a crow flies- through you, not around you". The bassline of this one reminds me strongly of David Wm Sims' playing, which suggests that the song was written during the time Albini was still a member of Rapeman.Moving on, "A minute" and "The Idea of North" are the weakest moments of this album, if only because the rest of the songs are so good. But the "Dog and Pony Show" takes the album back to the right track. "Boche's Dick" is another instrumental that would have served well as the intro of this whole album. Then comes "Il Porno Star" to finish you off. A strange story (well, all of their stories are kind of strange) about a guy who knows no English, but has ..er.. a stallion and determination. But you 'd better listen to the story yourselves!As other reviewers have also pointed out, the personalities of all three musicians come forth in these songs, and that's what makes Shellac different to Big Black or the Rapeman. Beats alternate, basslines rotate, guitar riffs rise from obscurity, attack, mature, and disintegrate in front of our very ...ears. This is not music with high probability of air-play time, and if you try to get an idea from the music samples above, I suggest that you listen to the cut from "the admiral". If you already know Albini, then buy this, this is as good as he ever got."