Archive for the Rapeman Category

Shellac – 1000 Hurts (Touch & Go) 2000

Posted in Albini, Big Black, Music, Rapeman on September 19, 2009 by noisenoisenoise

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Albini has been releasing albums as Shellac for 15 years. Not exactly a prolific band, 1000 Hurts was their third record on Touch & Go before entering a lengthy hiatus. There is a lot here to love. I read somewhere that  the basis of Albini’s take on rock music is an amalgam of mid-Western hardcore and british post punk. That description is a bit simplistic but OK as a starting point. 1000 Hurts begins with the almighty Prayer to God which may be on the more unsettling songs he’s ever written. Basically a plea to God to kill his girlfriend (gently) and her new lover (as messily as possible) it is a prefect  blend of the sick, black  humour that has defined much of Albini’s work since his Big Black days. The second track Squirrel Song is my favorite thing here. Again Albini shows he doesn’t take himself too seriously, yet both tracks showcase Albini’s lacerating guitar and the pummeling driving bass and drums which define their sound. But after those two tracks things start becoming a bit stranger. Mama Gina has it’s moments but it drags down the momentum and certainly not my favourite thing here. In fact the tracks are all over the place. Those looking for the consistency of the  records he released as part of Rapeman or Big Black will have a tougher time with Shellac. Christ he even attempts to sing on Ghosts. Yet this is one of the great things about Shellac , you’re never sure what your going to get from one album to the next and although there are heaps of similarities between all of Albini’s work, Shellac produce a much more consistently rock record. Take the sixth  track Song Against Itself, as soon as I played it I started thinking of a pop infused Minutemen via Jesus Lizard.  It’s great even if it doesn’t feature Albini’s vocals. By track seven Albini returns to his favourite persona as a vengeful husband/boyfriend. On Canaveral he suggests shooting the fellow  who “put his dick in my wife” into space where he would then explode to create fertilizer in China. All in all this is a great rock record to get your teeth into. Some might complain that as an album it’s a bit inconsistent, but I reckon that’s part of it’s charm.

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Rapeman – Two Nuns and a Packmule (1988) Blast First

Posted in Albini, Big Black, Music, Rapeman with tags on July 30, 2008 by noisenoisenoise

This may in fact be the  best hardcore/alt-rock/punk record that came out in the late 1980’s. Rapeman were a supergroup of sorts founded by Steve Albini after the implosion of Big Black. Albini chose to  name his new venture after  a rather charming Japanese comic book in which the protaganist would you know what the villians. Frightful premise and bless his cotton socks, Albini, despite all the controversy the band name generated during their short life span, certainly defended his choice of name at the time. The controversy was played out every week in the NME during their short UK tour in 1989. In fact Blast First’s pressing plant employees refused to handle the record in  protest of their name. The band were picketted throughout their tour and they eventually broke after releasing their one and only album. I sold my rather snappy vinyl copy of this many years ago and my mate Doc brought this back from the States with him in the late 1990’s. The great thing about the CD version is the inclusion of the  amazing Budd E.P. which arguably is Rapeman’s finest moment.

I remember first hearing Rapeman on my 17th birthday. In the redneck bullshit town I grew up in there was one sparsely stocked import record store. It mainly stocked all of the Australian underground stuff coming out on Citadel, Au Go Go and Red Eye but it also had it’s fair share of Blast First and SST releases. To be honest I’d never heard any of the stuff but used to go in every Friday night and paw over these records I had little chance of hearing. My mates (probably sick of having to go into that shop with me) took me inthere on my birthday and bought me Budd. I think it was the first time I realised that music could have  so much power and be almost completely devoid of a tune. I flogged that EP to death before finally ordering a copy of Two Nuns and a Packmule. 

The one thing about Two Nuns and a Packmule is that despite the dodgy titles of the songs Albini liberally takes the piss out of himself. On one track he threatens violence before realising that he is a nerdy geek who is going to get flattened should he go through with his threat. Rapeman certainly  generate a big fucking noise and I’ve always preferred Two Nuns and a Packmule to most of the stuff Albini did with Big Black. I don’t doubt that had they chosen a safer name it certainly would have been heard by far more people. It’s a shame that more people haven’t heard this, but if you have any interest in the Touch and Go/Chicago hardcore scene of the late 1980’s this has to be a definite add to your collection.

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