Friday, May 22, 2015

Shawn David McMillen : On The Clock WIth JJ & Mitch

There’s a strong chance that Shawn David McMillen is already sitting in your record collection, he's played in Austin's power-pysch outfit Rubble, featured on recordings with Jack Rose, Steve Gunn and Pete Walker - he's also collaborated with Charalambide's Tom Carter.   In recent years the Austin-via-Galveston guitarist/vocalist/sound artist has turned out some releases for Tompkins Square, and this new offering 'On The Clock With JJ & Mitch' (12XU) is his first new album since 2010’s 'Dead Friends'.

For this new album McMillen recruited JJ Ruiz on drums (Trustees, Naw Dude, Teeners, Air Traffic Controllers) and Mitch Fraizer playing bass (Sweet Talk, Church Shoes) then set to record the whole thing using protools and an interface in New York during Spring 2014.  Using a pay-per-hour practice space the troupe utilized equipment around them - old choir mics, delay & Zvex fuxx pedal plus JJ played the drums already in the rehearsal room.  Some acoustic guitar, percussion and a good portion of the vocals were produced at Tomas Casas’ art studio.  Casas contributed field recordings to the record as the band hung out in his studio absorbing some Yaseef Lateef albums.  As McMillen puts it, "It all just fell together and worked…”, and here we are with nine new songs.  Wayward guitars, laidback vocals and intuitively lead rhythms rooted by coolheaded bass lines are at the core of McMillen’s songs.  ‘Hunting’ was the first song that really grabbed me just by how the pace is propelled in fits and starts – then a swell of guitar riffery comes in and you’re no longer listening to a chilled rock record the first two tracks lead you to think it was, but pretty fantastic psych piece to boot.  ‘Nowhere To Go’ is another favourite “Walking around in the sun all day, nowhere to go I think I lost my way,” McMillen reiterates through the track as it gathers momentum with cyclical guitars,  wired beats and palpitating bass building up to another joyous solo with the song rounded off by one of Casas’ field recordings.  The album leaves as aloof as it came in and the lasting impression from the shreds of guitar and curious field recordings begs for more and more listens.  

Check out some of his material HERE

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