EJ 71 LP
released October 2005
Bowed bass and metal, Indian goat bells, analog synth, a rusty old autoharp, amplified springs and an abundance of guitars were used to create this acid foke masterpiece. The final lengthy track (Quintannas Head Dress) was recorded live at 3am in a hot living room with BC Smith (Iron Kite, Ethereal Planes Indian) and Matt Martinez (The Friday Group). McMillen is formerly of Galveston's Ash Castles on the Ghost Coast and currently sweats and staggers in Iron Kite and Rubble. Blackened audiophile vinyl is housed in a heavy chipboard jacket featuring an eye-blistering drawing by the artist.
MP3: "The Last Neighbors"
Shawn David McMillen is one of many under-acknowledged presences from a Texas psychedelic music scene most notable for spawning Charalambides. McMillen has crossed paths with several members of said outfit, forming Ash Castles on the Ghost Coast with Heather Leigh Murray (now of Taurpis Tula) and playing in The Friday Group with Tom Carter; he is also a member of Rubble and Iron Kite. Catfish is McMillen's debut solo album and it shares the peculiar sense of temporal and topographical resonance that exemplifies the soporific, glazed music created by artists from Texas. Through their music references psychedelia (a notionally 'placeless' aesthetic), there is something very specific about the manifestations of place and space in Texas psych.
Pieces like "Neon" and "The Lawn" are easy to pin down, with McMillen gingerly strumming curving folk phrases from his acoustic guitar, shading in nighttime detail with percussion and electronics. McMillen lets bowed bells ring out over the filigree melancholy of "The Lawn," while on "Old Bullets" he scratches high tones from an old autoharp and slowly disassembles the guitar's tonality with the help of a sloppy slide. The extended "Quintanna's Head Dress" is the highlight of the record. The beatific grace of the opening moments recalls ritual movement, unravelling all kinds of clattering sound sources before resolving to an elegant drone. Catfish's foggy otherness recalls the blasted contents of unravelled private press documents or the extended sprawls found of 1990s underground titles from labels like Majora. - Jon Dale, The Wire (Jan. 2006)
Purchase Shawn David McMillen - Catfish LP.