My oh my, things must be pretty busy right now for Mr. Corey Rusk, the god-like generalissimo of the Touch and Go recording empire. First of all, of course, they’re releasing one of the most eagerly anticipated albums of the year in the form of Shellac’s Excellent Italian Greyhound on June 7. It’s going to be one HELL of a job for him to hand paint each and every one of those record sleeves to Steve Albini’s exacting specifications, don’t you think? It’s also unconfirmed at this point whether or not Corey has agreed to Shellac’s request that the CD and vinyl releases of the new album be preceded a week earlier by a wax phonograph cylinder pressing of the album (with a hand-painted papyrus sleeve, natch).
Before he can do that, though, he’s got to finish the huge job he’s given himself by deciding to launch the Touch and Go digital music store, due to be open for business sometime in June. It’s taken nine months of preparation to get to the point where the site is ready to go. TMT’s unsubstantiated rumour department can exclusively reveal that the reason it’s taken so long is that Mr. Rusk has created each and every non-DRM MP3 (yay!) for the site using his mom’s computer and an early version of Winamp (so early, in fact, that it’s actually called DOSamp), lovingly ripping from his own personal copy of every album and single in the Touch and Go back catalogue. HE CARES THAT MUCH, PEOPLE.
Maybe this hands-on approach is the reason that Albini and his past and present bandmates have finally agreed to allow their work to be available in the digital realm. Yep, you’ll be able to grab files by Shellac, Big Black, and Rapeman from the site! So much for the future belonging to the analog loyalists, I suppose. Inspiration for the pricing arrangement for the store seems to have been provided by another somewhat popular digital music site -- tracks will be 99-cents a pop, a full album’ll cost you $9.99.
To celebrate this undeniably wonderful news, I have a treat for you all. Shellac live at the T&G 25th anniversary gigs from last year. You’ll be pleased to know the video also includes exclusive footage of David Yow referring to the glory that is faecal vomit, and Steve Albini smiling (it’s as bad as it sounds, the baseball cap he’s wearing only accentuating the horror). Enjoy!