In the spring of 2007 I had the chance to go see El Perro Del Mar as part of an event put on by Seattle broadcasting legends, KEXP. The opening band was The Shackeltons – full of nervous post-punk energy and displaying a commanding stage presence. The band’s bio brought up a few curious circumstances that related to me. My Grandmom’s maiden name was Shackleton, and I may or may not be related to the famous explorer, Ernest Shackleton (depends on who is our family genealogy expert at any given time). To top it off, The Shackeltons were from Chambersburg, PA – just a couple of hours from where I grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs. The band had recently signed to Seattle’s Loveless Records and the future was bright. 6 months later the band’s new record was released and I was pleased to find that their manic stage energy had carried over to the recorded document. And then…nothing.
Posthumous releases by acclaimed musicians are as reliable as me having a cup of coffee in the morning. Typically there is a rush released album shortly after the artist bids farewell to this mortal coil, perhaps it even retains the quality the artist was known for. Each subsequent album dips in quality. For every Tupac Shakur, there are a few exceptions to the rule. John Lennon’s after death recording career maintained his exacting standards, and it seems that Johnny Cash is following suit. Not counting the Bootleg series, Out Among The Stars is the 3rd full studio album released since his death, and the 1st in over 4 years.