Fred Schneider

Just Fred

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For his second solo album, Just Fred, Fred Schneider abandoned the dance-influenced pop/rock of his debut and hired indie-rock star Steve Albini as producer, who brought in such edgy guitar rock bands as Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, Six Finger Satellite, and Deadly Cupcake -- which features Russell Simins from the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Rick Sims of the Didjits and the Supersuckers, and Tom Zaluckyj of Tar -- as support. Schneider and Albini recorded the album in two weeks, which meant nearly every song was a first take. The result is a surprisingly enjoyable fusion of Schneider's bizarre charm and lean, loud alternative rock that proudly illustrates his punk roots. Schneider is invigorated by the stripped-down, noisy rock & roll -- his singing is the more powerful than it ever has been, and he contributed some surprisingly reflective lyrics, as well. His very conviction to the project gives Just Fred as much power as the guitars themselves. Sometimes, the indie-rock roar deteriorates into a faceless grind, but most of the record is simple and unexpectedly enjoyable rock & roll.

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