what. it's music. listen to it. don't talk about it. shellito is music for people who like all music. old and new. the rest is ridiculous. if you don't understand read orwell's "politics of the english language."


shellito is a standout band in the Philadelphia indie scene. They are a powerhouse musical combination of some of the area’s most talented musicians, including the Photon Band's Jeff Tanner and Simon Nagle. With influences ranging from 60’s pop and psychedelia to indie rock icons, shellito’s work has been compared to those of artists as varied as David Bowie, Elliot Smith, the Feelies, Simon and Garfunkle, and Guided by Voices.

Like Todd Rundgren or new wave orchestrator David Bowie, Mike acts as producer, engineer, singer, and songwriter. Mike’s key partner in the process of creating and recording is Jeff Tanner. Jeff, also of the Photon Band (Darla Records), is an accomplished guitarist who shares in production and lends skillful bass and vocals. This distinguished studio duo’s debut CD, 1997’s "On Sale," garnered critical success, including praise from CMJ’s Neil Gladstone.

The latest result of Mike and Jeff’s collaborative recording efforts is shellito’s indie pop gem, "ingredients." Impeccably arranged and lushly produced, ingredients was recorded in Mike’s own 24-track Birtha Studios. "ingredients" is a bundle of delicate balances: trusted pop structures with intricate modern arrangements; simple melodies with complex instrumentation; sensitive musical flow with sharp emotional images; shimmering danceable pop with understated character studies. "ingredients" finds its equilibrium in the blend of these distinct, yet integral, portions of the whole. Packed with lyrically poetic songs, and propelled by hummable melodies, "ingredients" appeal is also complex - the typical listener ranges from emo kids looking for something a bit more mature, thirty-something AAA lovers seeking a meter of hipness, and classic pop lovers, old and young, who appreciate the exquisite songcraft of the melodies and hooks.

ingredients can be heard all over Philly, picked up for play on dozens of jukeboxes at area bars and clubs. Despite having no professional radio promotion, ingredients made a quick entrance into area airplay. “Lima,” a questioning study of empathy versus self-examination, has seen rotation on the University of Pennsylvania’s award-winning AAA station, 88.5 WXPN. “Virgo Torpedo,” a driving, and driveable, mix of echoing harmonies and evocative lyrical vignettes, is currently one of Boston’s WZBC’s Top Ten LIstener Favorites. Selections from ingredients were broadcast earlier this year on BBC’s Radio 1 by DJ John Peel - more proof of shellito’s far-reaching appeal.

Those closer to shellito’s home of Philadelphia are lucky enough to have had the chance to see the solid live line-up in person. shellito, the live band, expertly captures the intricate rhythms, delicate instrumentation, and buoyant harmonies of Jeff and Mike’s studio efforts. Ken Finn (keys, guitar, percussion, & vocals), Jason McKibben (drums), Robert Fanelli (bass, vocals), and Ken Brune (vibraphone, clarinet), are a group of seasoned musicians hand-picked by Mike and Jeff to bring the complexities of ingredients to the stage.

shellito has performed in the most respected area clubs for the past several years, as well as staging their own multi-media performances at area theatres. The first of these privately produced shows, held in ‘97 at the University of Pennsylvania’s Mask & Wig Theatre, was an extravaganza incorporating film, video, props, and lighting into the musical mix. Also in ‘97, shellito headlined on the main stage of the venerable Trocadero Theatre, as part of local legend Marc Brodzik’s pop art concept known as Godco. These live shows were critically well-received and inspired Mike to continue on the musical path which led to ingredients. The completion of shellito’s latest CD was celebrated with a return performance at the Mask & Wig, another multi-media musical event. Recent live shellito shows include headlining appearances at area mid-size rooms, such as the North Star and the Khyber, both known for presenting the best national and regional acts. A recent festival appearance at Philadelphia’s Clark Park Festival, with an audience of over 500, garnered shellito many new fans!

As you read this, Mike and Jeff are back in the studio, working on an EP for a spring 2002 release. Currently seeking support from select booking agencies and record labels, Mike and Jeff hope to bring the music of shellito to a wider audience. For more information, visit and contact shellito at or 215-731-9823


On Sale - 1997 - Birtha Records
ingredients - 2000 - Birtha Records

"Virgo Torpedo," from "ingredients," is one of the Top 10 Listener Favorites on Boston College University's WZBC.

"Lima" has seen rotation on the University of Pennsylvania’s award-winning AAA station, 88.5 WXPN.

"Virgo Torpedo" and "Shung" have both been spun on BBC1 by DJ John Peel.

Set List

"You Really Really Like Me"
"Smart People"
"Again & Again"
"Virgo Torpedo"