Having recorded thousands of records, including landmark albums by Nirvana, the Pixies, PJ Harvey, and Godspeed You!
Black Emperor, you could say Steve Albini is a musician's musician. But that would be a major understatement. Staunchly dedicated to analogue recording, Albini has owned and operated the esteemed Chicago studio Electrical Audio since 1997, and his background in journalism makes him especially predisposed to espousing his often contrarian positions on the music industry for a variety of rags. That schedule hasn't left a lot of time for his own band, Shellac, whose shows are rare and albums rarer. But then, the outfit has always had a less-is-more guiding principal. Formed in 1992, the scrappy, minimalist post-hardcore trio goes to painstaking lengths to subvert typical songwriting structures; their work is characterized by muscular, repetitive rhythms, asymmetric time signatures, and misanthropic lyrics. Albini's bandmates, Bob Weston and Todd Trainer, similarly embrace the brutalist aspects of Shellac's sound, though there are differing viewpoints as to whether their m.o. skewers alpha-male dominance or unwittingly celebrates it. Either way, Shellac is the gold standard of carefully articulated aggression, its academic approach belied by the ferocity of its execution.