Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Shiner Starless Private 2000/2015
This album was originally released as a CD on Owned & Operated Recordings in 2000. It was the third album in the Shiner catalog and I remember having it and being bored by it. I had loved Splay, tolerated Lula Divinia, but didn't have the patience for this album.
Looking back, I was in college when it was released and trying to understand complex subjects in class, I didn't want any complication in my music. I was feeling the lo-fi scene featuring Pavement, power-pop of the late-70's, and punk rock. I didn't have to think about that music, that stuff was plug and play. And, if I did have to concentrate on tunes, it was at KJHK and by the year 2000, post-hardcore had run it's course in the college radio scene. I just thought I had to have some sort of persona. I used to like Shiner, but couldn't anymore. They were like Rush at this point, way too old-man rock.
Looking back, I'm a bit embarrassed by that version of me. I had lot more of my own pretensions than this album has. Sure, it's math-y and each song is like an equation that only makes sense upon it's conclusion, but, its got a lot of depth and emotion to go along with it. Listening to it now, I get why they were big in Chicago and signed to a label owned and operated by post-hardcore darling, Jawbox frontman, J. Robbins. It's cause they were pretty great.
This new reissue was put out by the band themselves, vinyl only on blue/white splattered vinyl. The colored effect does go well with the original artwork which is greatly enhanced by the size of the cover. The pale guy in the suit and crown standing over a skyline looks much more grand staring at a LP jacket versus squinting at the old CD liner. Got to think Shiner may be able to get the rights to give the same treatment to Lula Divinia and Splay at some point. The doors are closed at DeSoto with Dischord only paying attention to the Jawbox catalog. I'd hope J. Robbins is a cool enough guy that he'd just let Shiner do what they want if asked.
SHINER - STARLESS