Shalini's live musical experience started in the 1980s playing bass in a band called Kissyfish while attending UW-Madison. This group kept the same members over the years, and stayed busy with live shows and recording. By 1988, Kissyfish was opening for national college radio acts such as the Connells, Game Theory, and Otis Ball and the Chains. Kissyfish was often featured in local and regional press, including a spot in the May 1989 New York Times documenting the annual Mifflin St. Block Party. The band dissolved in 1990 when most of the four members were about 21. They had played in bars for years while "underage."
Vinyl Devotion 1990-1999
After moving to San Francisco on Thanksgiving Day 1990, Shalini started a band called Vinyl Devotion and concentrated on playing guitar, writing songs, and recording. In 1992, she established Mitochondria Records and released her first single on purple vinyl, produced by Scott Miller of Game Theory. In 1994, the Chicago based pop label Widely Distributed released Vinyl Devotion's first CD, a 6-song EP. A blue vinyl single on the Flamingo label appeared in 1996. On Christmas Eve that year, Shalini relocated from SF to North Carolina.
Parasol Records of Champagne, IL, released Vinyl Devotion's only full length CD Floor Model, along with a third single, in late 1997. The music received good airplay on college radio stations and charted on CMJ. Also, the song "Digital Noise" won first place in RockrGrl Magazine's national songwriting contest, judged by Joey Ramone, among others.
But by the late 90's, it felt incongruous to continue Vinyl Devotion. The changing times and move across the country called for re-direction.
Shalini wouldn't have chosen to name her band after herself, but more seasoned veterans of the industry talked her into it. Sure enough, booking agents and audiences seemed to approve, as female names for bands/singers became the status quo. She played her first show with the "'new" band name in August 1999 at the Mercury Lounge in NYC. The band took on a more professional sound, moving toward louder commercial pop/rock with the addition of drummer Eric Marshall. Parasol released the first Shalini CD, We Want Jelly Donuts, in 2000. The combo played SxSW on March 17, and completed a 2,200 mile regional tour that Fall.
Meanwhile, a stylish local label popped up in Greensboro NC, headed by a young lawyer and music fan named Christina Lewis. After discovering they had much in common, Dalloway Records offered Shalini a contract in 2003 and released Metal Corner in April of 2004. These songs were used by MTV in its reality shows "Made" and "Trailer Fabulous". After Metal Corner, the band was busy for the next year playing local outdoor festivals and weekend tour dates.
Then, things stalled. Dalloway became unsure of its future, so Shalini exited her contract and released her next record The Surface and the Shine in 2007 on the tiny Electric Devil label. This record was made in different stages, starting in Chicago in 2005 and finishing in NC. The band toured in the Midwest and regional South in '07 and '08. Some shows were opening for producer Mitch Easter's band (in which Shalini also played bass and, later, guitar from 2002-2009) which meant expanded bookings and travel.
Then, things stalled again. The 14-year musical alliance with Easter disintegrated. Shalini started working on a new set of songs which were to become Magnetic North, recorded in Chapel Hill over an October weekend in '09. Drummer Chris Garges stepped in to guide the recording at beautiful Double Decker Bus studios. The Paisley Pop label, based in Portland, OR, released the Magnetic North EP with ongoing help from 125records.com.
In 2010, Shalini decided it was time for a fresh start. She moved to Chicago that Fall and is currently working on new recordings. She plans to book as many shows as she can, and recently played in the April 2011 International Pop Overthrow festival.
While in Chicago, Shalini made new friends and musical contacts, including Thomas Comerford of Kaspar Hauser. She played solo shows at clubs like Martyr's, opening for Grant Hart's solo act in Dec. 2011. She again played the International Pop Overthrow festival in 2012 and continued to work on new songs.
In 2012, while on a visit to NC, Shalini became reacquainted with longtime band buddy John Morris, a Charlotte musician who led his 90s bands Electro-Luxe and Tyre Fyre for several years, as well as playing keyboards for Snagglepuss (Hope Nichols) for a decade. Shalini moved back to NC in 2013 and the two decided to start a new band: Party Battleship.
Party Battleship 2014
No longer going by the name Shalini, the new band features both musicians as lead vocalists and added some covers for a party feel. As a new venture, the duo plan to expand into a 4-piece band and play local and regional clubs and festivals. Check back for dates and news!