released July 13th, 2010

from the album - Helsinki

from all music

A native of southern California, guitarist Chris Shiflett has established himself as a prominent sideman in the alt/punk world. Shiflett began his career as a member of the Santa Barbara glam-punk outfit Lost Kittenz, which featured Steve Sherlock (who would go on to form Nerf Herder) and Marko DeSantis (of Sugarcult fame). In 1995, Shiflett joined No Use for a Name, playing guitar as a part of their rotating lineup up until 1999’s More Betterness!. Around the same time, Shiflett was also recruited by Swingin’ Utters singer Spike Slawson to play guitar for the punk super group and cover band extraordinaire Me First & the Gimme Gimmes. In 1999, Shiflett left No Use for a Name to take over guitar duties for the Foo Fighters, replacing short-lived guitarist Franz Stahl (who had previously replaced the Germs’ Pat Smear). He made his album debut with the band on 2002’s One by One, and continues to play with them. Looking for an outlet for his own songwriting, Shiflett has also created a number of side projects. In 2003, he formed the punk band Jackson United with his brother, Scott Shiflett, and Pete Parada (both of Face to Face). After recording two albums with Jackson United, Shiflett decided to explore some of his other influences. In 2010, he released his first album under his own name, the country-influenced Chris Shiflett & the Dead Peasants on le Coq Napoleon.

album review

Stepping outside of his main gig as lead guitarist of the Foo Fighters — he, like Taylor Hawkins, had to find some way to pass the time while Dave Grohl busied himself with Them Crooked Vultures — Chris Shiflett threw himself into Americana with his band the Dead Peasants. It’s a departure from his pre-Foo résumé, when he played in the punky Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, but it fits right alongside the relaxed Californian shimmer of Hawkins' work, albeit something of a distant cousin. Shiflett and the Dead Peasants work up a pleasing rustic groove throughout their eponymous 2010 debut, never pushing too hard but never succumbing to laziness. Unlike most alt-country singers, Shiflett favors the genre-bending Americana of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s to stark, stripped-down purity; it’s a mellow mood album, usually colored by steel guitars but sometimes getting its flair from a 12-string chime. Frankly, that contrast works in Shiflett’s favor: too many Americana bands are concerned about authenticity but the Dead Peasants are all about vibe, all about band interplay, so their album winds up as quite pleasing in a low-key way.

Track Listing

1 Helsinki Shiflett 3:50
2 Get Along Shiflett 4:24
3 Bandaged Shiflett 4:16
4 God Damn Shiflett 4:21
5 Burning Lights Mellor 3:25
6 An Atheists Prayer Shiflett 5:02
7 Not Going Down Alone Shiflett 1:58
8 Baby, Let It Out Shiflett 4:34
9 Death March Shiflett 2:41