“The world got shook.” So Algiers formed a crew. Holed up in their native Atlanta, the band—who have built one of the most exciting catalogs and cult followings of recent years—gathered a posse of like-minded artists to create their fourth album, SHOOK. Stacked with guests spanning icons through to future stars, with Algiers as a connecting bridge between worlds and sounds, SHOOK is a lightning rod for an elusive yet universal energy and feeling. A plurality of voices; a spiritual and geographical homecoming; a strategy of communion in a burning world; the story of an end of a relationship; an Atlanta front porch summer party. Ultimately, it’s a 17-track set of the most mind-expanding and thrilling music that you are likely to hear anytime soon.
SHOOK was born amid a much-needed break from pressures creeping up from many sides. “We all got shook”, says multi-instrumentalist Ryan Mahan. It proved to be a perfect opportunity for recalibration, as they reconnected as friends and lost hours immersed in scores of episodes of Rhythm Roulette and Against the Clock and descending deep into alt-rap YouTube rabbit holes.
This triggered an intense process of beatmaking for vocalist Franklin James Fisher and Mahan. A revisit of DJ Grand Wizard Theodore’s 1970s punk-infused New York City rap masterpiece “Subway Theme” served as a spiritual moodboard for the cross-pollination of urban and counter-culture styles at the heart of Algiers’ approach. They honed their skills as producers while paying respect to a sprawling lineage of rap and punk iconoclasts from DJ Premier, DJ Screw and Dead Boys to Lukah, Griselda and Dïat. The band continued in the path set out by their own one-of-a-kind 2020 free jazz montage “Can the Subbass Speak?”, chopping and screwing beats on a dusty SP-404 and a Sequential Circuits Tempest, building imagined sample libraries from scratch, and feeding found sounds and live performance through a host of modular synthesizers and tape machines.