Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Texas guitarist Shawn David McMillen and Chapel Hill noisemakers In the Year of the Pig.
Listed: Shawn David McMillen + In the Year of the Pig
Shawn David McMillen
Stereotypes of loud Texans be damned – the Lone Star State is just the kind of place where a man can go about his business in plain sight and yet remain invisible for decades. Just ask Jandek. Something similar can be said for Shawn David McMillen, who remains a bit of a mystery despite associations with the Representative From Corwood, Tom and Christina Carter, Rick Reed, and the Starving Weirdos. Reportedly the son of a Christian garage rocker and a man with a punk rock past, McMillen’s 90s recordings with Heather Leigh Murray in Ash Castles On The Ghost Coast and his mid-aughts album Catfish (Emperor Jones/Tomkins Square) leave you knowing less than before you heard them. However Dead Friends (Tompkins Square) a series of tributes to comrades no longer present, is proof that other people have been very real to him.
1. Julie Tippetts – Sunset Glow
Mid ‘70s LP by former president of the Yardbirds Fanclub. This record is so beautiful. The title is the best description of this record. Just a slowly burning light through the whole thing. What is living?
2. Sir Douglas Quintet + 2 – Honkey Blues
When I was driving through California with my friend, we played this record a lot. Doug seems to be feeling some of those Freedom vibes that were going around back then. Doug means a lot to us down here.
3. Jacques Berrocal – paralléles
French singer composer trumpet player’s second record from ‘77 on D’advantage. I listen to this record at night. Postcard from a pigsty, Vince Taylor and the bicycle Freak-brut for Russolo. Really just great. Before or after, he is always there.
4. Jean Guérin – Tacet
French drummer’s soundtrack to a movie called BOF by Claude Faraldo. Killer drippy rolling weirdness with drums, bass, tapes, sax, trumpet and electronics. With some assistance from Pat Gleason, they pull out some kind of basement M’wandishi for the very stoned only.
5. Jefferson Starship – Blows Against the Empire
Kanter’s silver weed hair in space. I’m scared of that baby tree they sing about, but I love the way everything sounds on this record. A layer of weight on it. Kinda heavy, ya know. Like the ship that’s gonna get them there good coke good weed gonna come alive all over you.
6. Howard Robert – Antelope Freeway
Howard is a session guitarist and best known for some clean and solid groove on Capitol in the ‘60s. This record is his heady take on Freeway Culture in the mid-’70s when five gallons of Astral Flash really could keep you up for 13 weeks. Wah groovers breaking out into space and then squeezed through a trucker’s cigarette and just as quickly sucked back through his radio dial.
7. Kim Fowley – Bad News for the Underworld
Alcoholic side or psychedelic side? My God, this record is fucked on so many levels I don’t know what to say about it. Listen to Fowley utterly confuse you and then kill you. Is that Margaret Moser on “Devil Doll Serenade”? Jesus, Longhorn Dreams? Really? “P P P P P Polaroid People!” Yeah, I dig it.
8. D. Charles Speer – Distillation
Best band in the world right now. Hands down. Buy this record and tell me I’m fucking wrong. See ‘em live you jaded spoiled shit and tell me I’m wrong. I really wish they would visit Texas.
9. Terry Reid – The River
A perfect record. Look at him sitting by the river. You could not look more stoned. Those purple socks. All that denim. Aqua and green. First side is all blue eyed down home lap steel Apple pie weed funk. Second side is sun going down and Terry’s skinned up and thinking about shit. Hat’s off to David Lindley.
In the Year of the Pig
Noise-rock quintet In the Year of the Pig have become a staple in the Chapel Hill, N.C., music scene with their blend of heavy metal riffs, Kosmische groove, and stupefying drone. Aaron Smithers and Jenks Miller started the band in 2004 as a two-string bass and drum duo, inviting guitarist David Harper to join in 2005. The three expanded their ear-damaging capacity in 2007 by recruiting an additional drummer, Dave Cantwell, and another bass player, Lincoln Sward. They’ve kept things local for the most part, becoming notorious for venue-shaking live shows in and around the Triangle area, while participating in several other powerful NC acts: The Hem of His Garment; Horseback; and Cantwell, Gomez & Jordan, to name a few. The band’s first proper full-length, Jamón, is now available on Holidays For Quince. All five members participated in this week’s Listed.
1. The Adverts - Cast of Thousands LP (RCA)
The ultimate punk record, in the way that it pissed off all the punks at the time. After hiring Mike Oldfield’s producer, The Adverts made a whole series of bizarre, beautiful decisions: to have pianos, to have huge choirs, to have synthesizers, to have songs with more than one chord. Endlessly inventive and almost laughably dense, “Cast of Thousands” was hated by most of the bands’ fans and critics who were yearning for more of the punk conventions that TV Eye and company had decided to gleefully discard. A truly great moment in rock ‘n’ roll. (Dave Cantwell)
2. Austin, TX
I love North Carolina and have lived here long enough to call it my home, but I was born and raised in South Austin, Texas, and the music from my hometown has been heavy on the stereo lately. Erbie Bowser, Reverend Lavada “Dr. Hepcat” Durst, and Roosevelt Thomas Williams, aka Grey Ghost, were dubbed the Texas Piano Professors by the late folklorist Tary Owens. My friend Luke Ball played this LP for me in the early 1990s and it has been a constant companion ever since. Opened my eyes and encouraged me to explore the history of Austin music in ways I had never considered before. Some of the best solo piano ever recorded. After college, I moved over to a house just East of I-35 that occasionally got mail for Golden Hour Records. In previous years, I had purchased tapes on the Golden Hour label that included pretty excellent live recordings of local bands like Glorium, Gut, ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, Desafinado and many others. My favorite cassette was a recording of the only performance by a guitar orchestra called the Austin Disharmonic that I had fortunately attended — thanks to the encouragement from my roommate Keith Herzik. The show was held at the defunct Tony’s Tortilla Factory, famous for having been the second owners of the first mechanized tortilla machine imported to the United States from Mexico. I loaned the tape away years ago to another friend that I don’t keep in touch with well enough but who plays in an excellent band called Water Falls out of Dallas. A couple of tracks are available as mp3’s online. Finally, while sitting in that house one evening in 2000, I heard a radio tribute to the deceased Austin musician Blaze Foley, hosted by the estimable KUT deejay Larry Monroe. I had heard the name but I had foolishly never listened. His songs are essential. (Aaron Smithers)
3. Holy Modal Rounders - Vol. 1 LP (Prestige)
This one came before the veins really started to bulge in their foreheads, so the weirdness is a bit more focused and that’s probably for the best. The end result is a surprisingly passable run-through on guitar, banjo and fiddle of a slew of great old time tunes, all sung in the best of cartoon voices. It was on this record that I first heard what is probably my favorite song ever, “The Cuckoo.” It was also through them that I first found out about Charlie Poole, a painful thing for some North Carolinians to admit. Truth be told, I can thank them for a good portion of the old time songs I know. It’s probably these guys’ fault I never learned the real words. (David Harper)
4. Lungfish - Sound in Time (Dischord)
The fewer riffs, the better. The same focused, mantra-like intensity that makes Funhouse the greatest-ever rock record is present on this Lungfish record, too. (Jenks Miller)
5. The NC Pop Scene
I don’t mean the pop-punk scene of the 1990s that had newspaper “Style” sections all aflurry back then; I’m talking about the current crop of band making thoughtful, lovely, odd pop rock right now in North Carolina. Bands that people outside NC probably have had limited exposure to like Wembley, Veelee, Organos, Waumiss, Schooner, Felix Obelix, and many others. There seems to be a resurgence of interest in this kind of music around here, all the bands influencing each other. This music has no interest in being confrontational in the conventional ways; instead of being “powerful” or macho, they are interested in being confrontationally quirky, if that’s possible. Friendly people working hard to make great, engaging music. (DC)
6. Max Neuhaus - Electronics & Percussion LP (Columbia Masterworks)
No mincing words: I love this guy. Max Neuhaus was a maniac about everything he ever did and did it all on his own terms. He tackled Zylkus the way Stockhausen intended when others before him said it couldn’t be done. He installed a clandestine installation in a subway vent in Times Square, then ran it off the subway electricity for over a decade. There aren’t nearly enough recordings of him. This one is kind of his Max vs. New Music, winner take all. He squares off against Brown, Feldman, Bussotti, Stockhausen, and Cage, laying particularly hard into the last two. You get a glimpse of what’s inside on the cover: a shirtless Neuhaus in slacks with a belt, three mallets in hand; in front of him three batteries, three speakers, and some unidentified electronics; behind him one of the most absurd arrays of drums and cymbals ever assembled. (DH)
7. Oxbow - Narcotic Story (Hydra Head)
My friend Jef and I use to argue about which Oxbow album was better. Jef always said Narcotic Story was the one. I was more of a Love That Last’s guy. Jef was right though. This album is creepy and beautiful. It’s a great sound track for getting drunk and playing peeping tom. Good times, indeed. (Lincoln Sward)
8. Panda Bear - Person Pitch (Paw Tracks)
At first I started off hating this album, but it grew on me so fast that I might have lost my mind for a short period of time. Once hooked, I listened to this album for close to three months. There was nothing else that could touch it. During the Spring of 2009 and it was the only album that made me want to take lots of acid, rip my clothes off, and run around naked in a field. I’m concerned with spring in full swing that this beautiful confection will raise its head once more. (LS)
9. Skullflower - Infinityland (hEADdIRT)
Matthew Bower has been channeling the music of the spheres for over two decades now. I could pick any of the records by any of his bands because they’re all equally fantastic. Bower is to rock music what Coltrane is to jazz. (JM)
By Dusted Magazine