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The best kept secret in music


Back in the musically Stalinist days of American college rock, producer
Mitch Easter used to amuse himself by telling acts such as R.E.M. that
they might need a ZZ Top guitar tone in their records. Now, 20 years on,
having an unashamed liking for heavy guitar riffs, AC/DC-esque bonehead
playing and powerpop in all its flavours no longer carries the same
potential to piss off the precious and the pure. And what we have here is
an entertainingly ungodly record. Together with bassist/singer/songwriter
Shalini Chatterjee and ex-Let's Active's Eric Marshall on drums, guitarist
Easter certainly lets the riffs roll on the opener, Synthesise, the
excellent Anthem, and a cover of Cheap Trick's Downed. Shalini herself is
a coy yet impressively sweet vocalist, a mix of the deadpan and the
Spectoresque girlie. An amusing and doggedly untrendy record.

- David Buckley

Shalini - singer/songwriter Shalini Chatterjee, husband Mitch Easter on guitar, drummer Eric Marshall (as the Fiendish Minstrels the trio also performs sets of Easter material) - took its time following up 2000's We Want Jelly Donuts , but the delay was in service of the songs. There's no filler here, from chugging Joan-Jettish album opener "Synthesize" and the edgy psychedelia of "Heartbreaking Machine" to a pair of Easter numbers, "Bolero"-like guitar showcase "I Wanna Be Near You" and "Invisible Hills," an old Let's Active number that provides am unexpectedly poignant flashback for fans of Easter and Marshall's former band. Did someone say "flashback"?
On a cover of Cheap Trick's "Downed", Shalini puts acid tongue to Easter's meaty riffs while glamming it up more convincingly than R. Zander himself. Don't let the album title fool ya: While the vibe might be heavier than Donuts, in the final estimation, Metal Corner's a power-pop platter deluxe.
- Fred Mills

On Metal Corner, there is but one slow spot. That is the moment you are waiting on the CD player to read the disc and begin playing. From the first note of "Synthesize" to the last chord in "I Wanna Be Near You," the entire album is like a Sunday ride in the country: relaxed and exhilarating both in the same... Mitch Easter, who produced Metal Corner, proves why he is sought out as a premier and premium producer nationally -- and worldwide. - timothy g. beeman II

Shalini's previous release, 2000's We Want Jelly Donuts, was an out-of-the-blue delight. Ex-Vinyl Devotion vocalist Shalini Chatterjee, together with guitarist Mitch Easter and drummer Eric Marshall, created a pure pop concoction that was every bit as sweetly satisfying as its title pastry. Four years up the road, Shalini has returned with a follow-up to WWJD. Metal Corner isn't merely a step forward from its predecessor, it's a bold leap in an entirely different direction. Gone, for the most part, is the jangle that cascaded throughout WWJD; in its place is a harder, more substantial guitar sound that harkens back to the heyday of melodic FM rock, when AC/DC and Cheap Trick were in their prime. Two common threads link the albums, however: Chatterjee's voice, alternately strong and delicate, but always warm and welcoming; and top-shelf songs, written by Chatterjee and Easter, alone and in concert. (A welcome exception on the new album is the brilliant cover of Cheap Trick's "Downed," a beautiful putdown that nearly surpasses the original.) "Synthesize," Metal Corner's opening salvo, proclaims Shalini's new sound amidst a barrage of crunchy power chords. Elsewhere, "Secret Cats" recalls Apples in Stereo's work on the Powerpuff Girls' soundtrack, while "Anthem" invokes a more muscular Let's Active. Throughout, Mitch Easter's melodically powerful fretwork drives Metal Corner -- on "Light of Falling Objects," for instance, it's not hard to imagine him head-bobbing across the stage, à la Angus Young. Metal Corner is a crunchy-coated confection with a sweet cream center that demands to be played loud.
- Rick Schadelbauer

Shalini's sophomore effort, a plain and simple power-pop affair that's awash in fuzzy guitar tones, glistening female vocals provided by singer/guitarist Shalini Chatterjee (ex-Vinyl Devotion) and hooks bigger than the Strokes' egos, maintains that delicate decency of a band that's in it simply for the love of its craft... With a sound borrowed from Cheap Trick, The Muffs, The Velvet Crush and Let's Active (whose Mitch Easter plays guitar in the trio), Shalini revs up its engine and cruises through the classic power-pop boroughs.
- Matt Schild

Well, it seems that Shalini Chatterjee just wanted to rock on out, and after the updated power-pop textures of 2000's We Want Jelly Donuts, the second full-length from her band Shalini finds her diving head-first into the thick and fuzzy pleasures of 1970s hard rock. Metal Corner hardly goes light on the hooks -- with Mitch Easter serving triple duty as producer, engineer, and lead guitarist, you can expect your fair share of melodies -- but the prominent placement of a vintage Cheap Trick cover offers a great big clue as to the direction Shalini have taken. Along with Chatterjee's smart-gal vocals and the group's full-bodied tunes, Chatterjee and Easter lay on a thick coat of Marshall-worthy guitar crunch, and thankfully, rather than bogging down the proceedings, it gives the performances a good solid backbone, and Metal Corner comes off as good fun with a solid side-portion of swagger, which a few more bands could use these days. Slap it in the car stereo and turn it up -- it's that kind of album, and trust me, that's a good thing. (Four stars)
- Mark Deming

Pure-pop outfit Shalini is the brainchild of Shalini Chatterjee, a singer-songwriter who experienced modest success through a string of releases by her previous San Francisco rock band Vinyl Devotion. We Want Jelly Donuts is the breezy debut from the North Carolina group, comprised of former Vinyl contributors (producer Mitch Easter) as well as some fresher faces. Jelly Donuts' 10 tracks (six penned by Chatterjee, four by Easter) are universally cheery, and the effort as a whole is unpredictable. The jangly, Byrds-esque "Get Free" will lead to incessant humming, while the rocking "Desperate for Dawn" finds all instrument knobs twisted to 11. New wave-ish treat "Emotion Bomb" would have made a natural addition to MTV's rotation circa 1985. Overall, an effort both sweet and sticky, like the album's objects of desire.
- Bill Konig

We Want Jelly Donuts expands on the '60's girl-group-cum-new-wave sound heard in Chatterjee's prior combo, Vinyl Devotion, while bringing in complex instrumental elements certain to charm old Let's Active acolytes. The 10 tunes here do betray certain modernist nods, such as the brittle guitars and hip-hopesque beats of "Conviction Overturned" and the acidic, Veruca-Salt-like arrangement of "Creepy Emily." But from the reassuring British Invasion throb of "Pandora at Sea" and the falsetto vocals skipping over backward guitars on "This is Telluride" to the harpsichord and neo-baroque vibe of "Telepathic World" and the churning psychedelic miasma that informs "Emotion Bomb" (the latter two penned by Easter, incidentally), "classic pop" remains the operative term. Like the titular baked goods -- or, more accurately, a Krispy Kreme, considering Easter's studio is located near Winston-Salem (a.k.a. Donut Town USA) -- this album will leave a warm, satisfied glow in your tummy. - Fred Mills

Shalini combines the naive sweetness of girl-pop with the hooky aggression of classic Tommy Keene. Add in a layer of sonic gingerbread from producer Mitch Easter, and We Want Jelly Donuts is as irresistible as a box of Krispy Kremes. - JD Considine

Although much stock has been put into the factoid that legendary producer Mitch Easter is directly involved in the making of this album, to do so at the expense of giving Shalini Chatterjee her due recognition would be a crime. So let's get that out of the way first, shall we? Easter does produce, play guitar and contribute four songs (the rousing "Telepathic World," the baroque "Get Free," the chunky "Emotion Bomb" and the muscular "Destination Anywhere Else") which no doubt form an integral part of this album's success. But Shalini, whilst still providing the sound, heart and soul of We Want Jelly Donuts, is certainly no slouch in the songwriting department... tracks like the slinky "Creepy Emily," the power-packed "Pandora At Sea," the trance-like "This Is Telluride," the punchy "Conviction Overturned," the forceful "Desperate For Dawn" and the folk-countrified "Around the Eyes" all display an auteur's ear for memorable melodies, earnest performances and distinctive arrangements. A purity of purpose and artistic vision where the complimentary skills of Shalini and Easter combine to deliver a rare synergy that sets We Want Jelly Donuts apart from most chanteuse-led alternative combos in this modern rock era.
- Kevin Matthews


Metal Corner (Dalloway Records, 2004).
Full-length CD.
Metal Corner is being promoted by Team Clermont and several tracks are in rotation on college radio stations all over the United States and Canada. Metal Corner is distributed through Parasol/Redeye.

We Want Jelly Donuts (Parasol Records, 2000).
Full-length CD. WWJD also received college and commercial airplay and was promoted and distributed by Parasol.


Feeling a bit camera shy


SHALINI, the band:
In 2000, Shalini dissolved her former band, Vinyl Devotion, and reformed as "Shalini." With Mitch Easter (guitar, vocals, production) and Eric Marshall (drums), she recorded We Want Jelly Donuts. The band completed a 2,200 mile regional tour that fall, and the CD was rated #11 on the All Music Guide's list of best pop/rock CDs for 2000.
Since the new-wave tinged Jelly Donuts, the band has settled into a more straight-ahead rock sound.

Three years in the making, the Easter-produced full-length CD, Metal Corner, was just released on Dalloway Records. The album has already received substantial press and was featured on MTV's reality TV show "Made" in Janaury 2005.

Shalini enjoyed mid-90's college radio success with her previous combo Vinyl Devotion, which released three singles, an EP, and a full length CD. In 1996, Shalini won First Prize in the national Rockrgrl Magazine Songwriting Contest, judged by Joey Ramone and others, for her song "Digital Noise."
With a refined rock focus and musical direction from producer Mitch Easter, she formed Shalini, with Mitch and Eric Marshall. The trio received college and commercial radio play with their debut We Want Jelly Donuts (Parasol/2000) and are still receiving national attention with their latest album, Metal Corner. In the studio, Shalini plays bass, 12-string bass, and electric guitar. For her full discography, please visit

Eric Marshall has played drums with Shalini since 1999, both at live performances and in the studio. Eric toured and recorded with I.R.S. recording artists, Let's Active (I.R.S. Records), from 1985-1990, and has appeared on releases by Don Dixon, Game Theory (both on Enigma Records), and Chris Stamey (A&M). He was the sole session drummer on Ken Stringfellow's (Posies, REM, Big Star) album “Touched” (Manifesto/Poptones/2001). In 2000, Eric appeared in the original series of TV commercials, backing actor William Shatner.

Mitch Easter is recognized as one of the rock world's premier guitarists. He led his band Let's Active (I.R.S. Records) from regional to international recognition by touring and recording from 1981-1990. Mitch wrote all-original material for the Let's Active catalog, which includes an EP and three full-length albums. His song “Every Word Means No” became a new wave hit and a staple of early MTV. He also found time to work as a session guitarist on recordings by artists such as Marti Jones and Suzanne Vega. The Let’s Active catalog was recently re-released by Collector’s Choice Music (
While Mitch is well-known as a producer and engineer (R.E.M., Let's Active, Pavement, Helium, Ken Stringfellow, Shalini, and many others), he knows he was put on earth to play guitar and is doing so with gleeful abandon. He has played lead guitar in the Shalini band since its inception. On the newly released CD Metal Corner, Mitch contributes songwriting assistance and backing vocals as well as production and engineering skills. He co-wrote three of the album’s tracks with Shalini, and contributed two original songs.