Saturday, November 08, 2008

From the Vaults: Shudder To Think

Time to pull an old chestnut out of the archives: Shudder To Think. Originally from DC and signed to Dischord records (and now you know the origin of my internet handle-- dates back to when my family got AOL when I was 14). They released 3 albums and then moved to New York and signed with Epic Records. (They and Jawbox were the only Dischord bands to sign to a major.)

Unlike most indie "sellouts," Shudder To Think got better when they signed to the major label. "Pony Express Record," their first for Epic was completely uncompromising stylistically. If anything, it was even weirder than the stuff they'd been releasing on Dischord.

What I love about this band is their willingness to be off-kilter at any time. This is particularly true on the rhythmic front. Try counting along with the verse of X-French Tee Shirt, which was actually an (minor) alternative radio hit.

And my favorite track on the album is probably Gang of $, which is a nice showcase for Craig Wedren's bizarro tenor/falsetto voice w/ extra vibrato. Some people hate this voice; I personally love it. It's like musical theater superimposed onto indie rock, which is better than it sounds on paper! (Wedren, by the way, also writes film scores. And he wrote the incredibly catchy faux-80's "Higher and Higher" song from Wet Hot American Summer.)

Here's Gang of $

Anyway, the band is now touring for the first time in about a gagillion years, and I just missed them in LA. Boo!


Eric said...

Fun Facts:

- I just bought this at a thrift store for a quarter a couple weeks ago. Still haven't listened to but this will motivate me to do so.

- I sang a couple people before Craig Wedren at of Montreal karaoke a couple years ago. He said good job to me. Yay.

Via Chicago said...

My experience with Shudder to Think is limited to one thing and one thing only - their contrubtions to the Velvet Goldmine soundtrack. And yet, for that alone, they have always fascinated me. Their songs on that are awesome, and if I can find it on YouTube (which I doubt will be much trouble) I will post one. For some reason I always just assumed they were a crappy soundtrack kind of band (don't know why), but I'll have to pick up Pony Express now.

And a quick aside - I was completely convinced that Higher and Higher was a real lost 80s song. Color me impressed.

texplush said...

drischord - can you recommend any STT albums that are available on emusic?