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Exploring new musical territory

The Shackeltons to release CD named on Rolling Stone site

The Shackeltons to release CD named on Rolling Stone site

January 06, 2008|By JULIE E. GREENE

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A year ago The Shackeltons were recording an album in a Sunday school room at Crider's United Brethren Church on Loudon Road, eating cookies left by a local musician.

In March 2007 they were in a Los Angeles recording studio, preparing an album for Loveless Records that should be available in independent record stores nationwide Jan. 29.

In early December, the Chambersburg-based band got a mention on Rolling Stone's Web site. It was two sentences in a list highlighting new tracks, but it was Rolling Stone.

"That's great. That's amazing. They don't even need to write us up. Who are we? We are on a small Seattle label. Our record doesn't even come out until Jan. 29," said vocalist Mark Redding.

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The self-titled CD is the band's eighth, but its first with Loveless, and tracks from the CD have already brought the band national attention from the aforementioned Rolling Stone as well as Spin.com.

J. Edward Keyes, who mentioned The Shackeltons in his Single Minded column on Rolling Stone's Web site, said the band has "this terrific, fire-and-brimstone urgency about them. The singer is like a Baptist preacher gone bananas - so incredibly charismatic. The songs, too, are great - really dark and doomy. It's like one fantastic spiral into the abyss. I hope they never change."

In an e-mail to The Herald-Mail, Keyes said he was leery of predicting a band's success, but said The Shackeltons' charisma and potential are limitless.

In addition to Redding, The Shackeltons are Sean Hallock (drums), Dan Schuchman (guitar), Eric Fisak (guitar) and Justin McDaniel (bass). All of them live in Chambersburg, except McDaniel, who lives in Shippensburg. Redding wouldn't divulge their ages, saying the band wanted to remain mysterious, but their ages average 24, and their youngest member is 17.

The band is named, though misspelled, for Ernest Shackleton, the explorer known for his early 20th-century expeditions of Antarctica.

They liked Shackleton's enduring spirit and persistence, Redding said. He misspelled the explorer's name when registering the band's Web site and the band decided to stick with the different spelling.

Asked to describe the band's sound, Redding refers to Rolling Stone's description of "freakish" and "thrilling."

In his own words: "Take the Talking Heads and put them with Fugazi, that's a D.C. band. And then put that with the angularness of Interpol. Throw Otis Redding in to bring a little heart and soul. There's a whole soulfulness, a cry about, a pleading ... Otis Redding pleaded in his songs," Mark Redding said.

"It's a rudimentary term, it's a rock 'n' roll band. It's a band that reminds you of post punk, new wave without the keyboard. It reminds you of something that is alive and hopefully will make a mark in the music world that will be a notable band. We want to be compared, some day, we want to be known as the band that made a mark, like Television," said Redding, referencing a little-known New York band that helped further punk rock in the 1970s.

Four of The Shackeltons' five members met when they were playing for other local bands in the Chambersburg area - Redding and Fisak were in Heal, Schuchman in The Colorless Morning, and Hallock in The Snoons. McDaniel joined the band after his older brother, the band's former bassist, went off to college.

The band has been together for 3 1/2 years now with its current members together the last two years.

In that time they created seven albums, including three recordings of concerts and a bonus/outtake album.

In the beginning, The Shackeltons often played at a Loudon Street cold weather shelter/food bank/clothing bank that band members referred to simply as "the warehouse."

"Kids would come to that place like crazy," said Redding, who also brought in bands from New York City and Tennessee to play there. The warehouse had a good amount of space, comfy couches and was a venue for audiences of all ages because no liquor was served.

After playing there in 2005 and 2006, the warehouse was sold and new ownership didn't want to host concerts, which was fine, Redding said. "It was a good time for me. I had to push the band to get out of Chambersburg and not just (be) bringing in bands. I had to push us out," he said.

So he called a New York management firm that represented a band he liked and The Shackeltons found their music being played on KEXP, a Seattle radio station with an international and online audience. KEXP also issues CDs from some of their live concerts held in cities like Chicago and New York.

It was at a New York KEXP concert in November 2006 that The Shackeltons performed and were noticed by a rep with Loveless Records. In March 2007 they were in Los Angeles recording their new album.

Redding said the band is planning a CD release party, with a performance, on Jan. 29 at Record City in Southgate Shopping Center. The band plays mostly larger cities now, like Pittsburgh, New York City and Washington, D.C., so this will be a homecoming, Redding said.

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