It’s been about a decade since we last heard new recordings from Shudder to Think, once a jewel of the District’s post-hardcore scene. But the late oughts have been pretty good to its fans: The group reformed in 2008 for some festival dates and a short tour. This September saw the release of a (frankly, quite good) live album. Frontman Craig Wedren recently uploaded to YouTube some band-shot footage of the recording sessions for Pony Express Record, Shudder for Think’s 1994 major-label debut.
And now there’s The Spanish Amnesian, Wedren’s unreleased album of experimental songs, which he committed to seven-track (the eighth track was broken) between 1993 to 1995, but ended up shelving. Wedren is streaming the whole thing on his Web site until Jan. 2 (hat tip: Pitchfork), and he’ll begin selling it digitally sometime in 2010.
Of the album, Wedren writes:
My original plan was to release The Spanish Amnesian as a solo album after Pony Express Record, but I kept running into frustrating snags along the way, and eventually decided that The Fates were telling me to wait.
It remains one of my favorite albums I’ve had the pleasure/pain ever to work on, and relates directly to some of the more ambient and experimental movie music I’ve made since, from ‘High Art’ in 1998, to ‘The United States Of Tara’, which I’m working on now.
Piecing the record back together led me to a lot of other home recordings, many forgotten or half-remembered. Listening to them left me with a bittersweet feeling: so many vaulted ideas, so much ambition, and a boy’s voice, high-pitched in tone, and breathy.
Expect little of Shudder to Think’s taut, high-drama aggression: The Spanish Armenian‘s 16 tracksrange from jagged guitar improvs and deconstructed, Jandek-like electric folk to walls of noise and atmosphere. My current fave: a ragged, brassy ditty called “Secretaries’ Lament,” which sounds like the misunderstood cousin of a Kurt Weill operetta and probably wouldn’t feel out of place in a Charlie Kaufman film.
Image courtesy of Craig Wedren’s MySpace page.