Tag Archives: Shit And Shine

SHIT AND SHINE: Charm And Counter-charm (7″, For Us FU038)

Shit And Shine - Charm And Counter-charm

The second mention so far here of Shit And Shine, despite my record collection being inordinately weighted in their direction, due to them being not only an endlessly entertaining and fascinating it, but also to them being ridiculously productive in terms of their vinyl output.

Full disclosure: for this website I like to use a random number generator to genuinely select a random record for me to blather on about. This time, I must admit, I felt like writing about a 7″ record, so I rolled the electronic dice more than once in order to do so. I feel my integrity remains intact.

Interestingly, looking up this record in my big old spreadsheet made me realise that it was actually listed in there twice for some reason. I’m pretty sure that was a mistake (unless a second copy isn’t in the alphabetically-ordered shelves, shock horror) so has now been corrected.

The other Shit And Shine record I’ve written about on here, released in 2013, is a lot newer than this one, although there is no release date shown on the record. Discogs has it as 2007. ‘Charm and Counter-charm’ is a 45 rpm early example of the mutated disco music that S&S have since gone on to do a lot more of: a thumpingly repetitive beat backdrop, with hacked-up and squirked samples chucked liberally around the place. There are two tracks on the B-side – ‘Creepy Ballerina’ and ‘Flower Petal Sword’ – that are totally different. The first is a cheeky little sound experiment, with a spooky child voice echoing and echoing; the second is like S&S of old, guitar-and-drums-based repetition and cut-up that feels like a Butthole Surfers outtake stuck in an infinite loop. Not too shabby.

Not a lot I can share about the For Us label, as this is the only record I have from it. Endless fount of knowledge Discogs describes it as “Rough Trade Shops in house label”, which is interesting. Its roster includes a huge variety that takes in Liliput, Gravenhurst, The Undertones and Spearmint at a brief glance – so perhaps it’s a label that releases whatever Rough Trade staff are currently into?

The artwork is functional but not unpleasant: a jarring red and blue colour scheme subverts the cutesy imagery and typography. Shit And Shine throw in various challenges for the vinyl archivist – on this release the cover has them as $hit and $hine; I’ve also seen Shit & Shine, Shit And Shine, $hit & $hine, and possibly more. In my records they all get bracketed under ‘Shit And Shine’, as I haven’t got time to deal with their lexicographical nonsense.

SHIT AND SHINE: Find Out What Happens When People Start Being Polite For A Fucking Change (12″, Gangsigns GS004, 2013)

Shit And Shine - Find Out What Happens When People Start Being Polite For A Fucking Change

Shit And Shine are an extraordinarily enigmatic, shapeshifting band. It’s difficult to tell at any point in their history so far – they’ve been going for five, ten, twenty, fifty years? – who is in the band, where they are from, who decides what they are going to release (and how), and, vitally, what they’re playing at with their music.

I’ve got a lot of their records, and they skid about from all out atonal noise to guitar-heavy drone pounding to electronic experimentalism. Find Out What Happens When People Start Being Polite For A Fucking Change (a great record title – more on this band’s excellent titling skills later) is five tracks of relatively light-sounding rhythmic disco electronica, striated by moments of weirded-out distorted vocals, and saturated in an overall sense of Shit And Shine not being quite right in the collective head. This is in no way a criticism.

I don’t know if this record is supposed to spin at 45 or 33 – it sounds good at either speed. The sleeve is as vague and strange as the music – beyond the title and band name it shows nothing except a super-sinister photograph, although the labels include track titles, label name and catalogue number. The record and its artwork is, for a cataloguer and designer like me, equally frustrating and rewarding.

A few years ago I put the band on as part of a music festival that I run, and even though I met several members (who were all genial and accommodating), they maintained an air of mystery and oddness throughout the day. Musically, they were outstanding – multiple drummers packed onto a small stage, and around 45 minutes of relentless repetition and unbearably tense dynamics. It still remains one of the best live sets I’ve ever witnessed from any band, anywhere.

As mentioned, Shit And Shine have a propensity for brilliant and confrontational record and song titles. To wit:

  • Toilet Door Tits
  • The Biggest Cock In Christendom
  • When Extreme Dogs Go Wrong
  • Creepy Ballerina

…and so on. Who knows what these titles mean, if anything. I imagine that the band themselves don’t even know. Or maybe they do? Maybe it’s all part of a very carefully-constructed plan. Enigmatic, see.