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Shudder to Think's hardcore punk background (courtesy of their affiliation with the D.C.-based label Dischord Records, also the home of Fugazi) doesn't give the best indication of their sound, since the group embraced pop influences and a skewed sense of songwriting as well. Formed in 1986, the band's initial lineup -- vocalist/guitarist Craig Wedren, guitarist Chris Matthews, bassist Stuart Hill, and drummer Mike Russell -- released two singles and one 1989 album (Curse, Spells, Voodoo, Mooses) before signing with the Dischord label. Shudder to Think remained with Dischord for three influential albums -- 1990's Ten-Spot, 1991's Funeral at the Movies, and 1992's Get Your Goat -- while touring alongside the likes of Fugazi and the Smashing Pumpkins.
Matthews and Russell had both left the group by 1994, with guitarist Nathan Larson and drummer Adam Wade stepping in to replace them. Additional changes followed as the band inked its first major-label contract. After signing with Epic, Shudder to Think released Pony Express Record in 1994. During the three years that followed, Wedren successfully overcame Hodgkin's Disease, Larson released an album with his side project Mind Science of the Mind, and Wade was replaced with former Dambuilders drummer Kevin March. 50,000 B.C. was released after that period of activity, but it ultimately failed to push the band into the big time.
One year later, Shudder to Think focused its attention on soundtrack work for the indie films First Love, Last Rites (which included songs in various musical styles sung by alt-rock notables like Liz Phair, Billy Corgan, and Robin Zander, as well as one of Jeff Buckley's last recorded works) and High Art, the latter featuring Brian Eno-like instrumental soundscapes. Larson left the band that same year, though, and his departure proved to be the final straw. Shudder to Think split up in 1998, with Wedren launching a solo career shortly thereafter.
Wedren played shows in the New York City area and appeared on the soundtrack Down to You. He also supplied backup vocals to the Verve Pipe's 1999 self-titled release and continued his soundtrack work for films. Nearly a decade after Shudder to Think's demise, Wedren joined former bandmates Larson and March for a series of reunion shows, including an event that supported presidential candidate Barack Obama. A fall tour followed in 2008 and was later documented on the concert album Live from Home.
Shudder to Think is an American indie rock group. Formed in 1986, they released three albums on the Washington, D.C.-based label Dischord Records and were a post-hardcore band, although they drew upon a wide range of stylistic influences, including pop.
The band's first lineup was Craig Wedren (vocals and guitar), Chris Matthews (guitar), Stuart Hill (bass) and Mike Russell (drums). In this incarnation, the band released two singles and one album (Curse, Spells, Voodoo, Mooses, 1989) before being signed by the Dischord label. Three albums were then released (Ten-Spot, 1990, Funeral at the Movies, 1991, and Get Your Goat, 1992), before the band gained greater exposure by touring with Fugazi and the Smashing Pumpkins; with their May 7, 1992 show in Albig, Germany being released by Tobby Holzinger as Your Choice Live Series Vol.21.
Swiz ex-bassist Nathan Larson (guitars) and ex-Jawbox drummer Adam Wade replaced Matthews and Russell in 1992 (while the specific dates for the line up change are unknown, it's certain that Nathan Larson was gigging with the band prior to the release of Get Your Goat; the 1992 Live at Dobbs DVD bootleg has Craig Wedren quoting that Get Your Goat is 'out in May' and Nathan Larson is clearly the guitarist at that time). The band subsequently signed to Epic, with whom Pony Express Record was released in 1994. The album's angular, mathematical post-modernism earned it a devoted cult following.
Over the next few years, Wedren successfully battled Hodgkin's Disease, Larson recorded an album with side project band Mind Science of the Mind, and Wade left the group. He was replaced by Kevin March, formerly drummer with Dambuilders.
They released another album, 50,000 B.C., in 1997. The band also worked on music for soundtracks including First Love, Last Rites and High Art. In 1998, the band wrote and performed two songs for the film Velvet Goldmine.
However, 1998 marked Larson's departure and the end of the group. Wedren has pursued a solo career, including an appearance on the Down to You soundtrack with Didn't Mean to Do You Harm, and contributed backing vocals to Verve Pipe's 1999 eponymous album.
Both Larson and Wedren have gone on to create highly regarded music for films. David Wain, founder of comedy troupe The State, was a high-school friend of Wedren's, and Wedren's music has appeared in many television series and films stemming from the troupe and its alumni, such as Reno 911 and Wet Hot American Summer. Wedren also makes solo music, and released his debut album, Lapland, in 2005. Larson has formed a new band called Hot One.
Wedren, Larson, and March performed a brief set together on September 17, 2007 at The Mercury Lounge in New York City. The band continued to perform shows throughout 2008 and 2009, releasing a live album entitled Live from Home. Without Larson, the band played what was billed as a "final" show on September 2, 2009 at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City.
Influence on other bands 
Shudder to Think has been listed as an influence by other bands - Incubus went as far as covering part of "X-French Tee Shirt" in their song "Nowhere Fast" during Lollapalooza. Jeff Buckley also listed Shudder to Think as a favorite band of his. Pearl Jam also invited Shudder to Think to open for them on a tour of Australia in 1998, and even played a snippet of the Shudder song "Pebbles" during their set. Cursive mentions the band in their song "Sink to the Beat" off their EP Burst and Bloom.
Musical style 
The band, which has been classified as post-hardcore, embraced "pop influences and a skewed sense of songwriting" while coming from a hardcore punk background "courtesy of their affiliation" with Dischord. Reviewer Charles Spano characterized some of the band's work as the result of the group skewing "their pop brilliance with Ric Ocasek grooves, a [David] Bowie and [...] Roxy Music glam bent [...], and the theatrics of Queen."