Shawn McMillen, Bobby Baker Diaper, The Black Angels, Ben Wallers, and This Will Destroy You
Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, Fri., Oct. 28, 2005
When members of bands do a solo album, the result is often disastrous, the result of trying to "grow" and "find yourself." Shawn McMillen and Bobby Baker of local band Rubble have both recently put out "solo" albums that "grow" in very different directions; what they've "found" is some weird third-eye astral plane skuzz vibes. McMillen's five-song Catfish (Emperor Jones) is a mixture of Middle Eastern-type instrumentation and lysergic strummings not unlike the rumblings of his other band, Iron Kite. Songs spread out under head-tripping warblings and feisty percussion, incorporating acoustic guitar and (according to McMillen) Indian goat bells, an old auto harp, and several Mayan percussion instruments. Baker, recording under the Baby Robots name, went the tribute route, recording his tweaked version of Pink Floyd's Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Diaper Until the Shame Is Gone takes the Floyd's 1967 acid mother and throws it down the stairs, tumbling over the underwater sounds of "My Dildo Mother" to the charred remains of "Intercourse Drive." Favorite alternate Floyd title: "Take My Stethoscope and Cry." The Black Angels four-song self-titled EP hitchhikes back to 1968, a time of incense and peppermints and weed and war. In fact, the local quintet's whole EP focuses around the Vietnam War, the sound devastating and droning. Organs whip like helicopter blades and guitars rip like a bad moon rising. On the lighter side, Rebel Country Teasers frontman Ben Wallers, aka the Rebel, continues his band's jagged tradition of oddball lyrics and lo-fi psych twang on his latest home recording project, The Rocket Breaks Down (Pecan Crazy). Piano interludes collide with Waller's perennially languid vocals ("I don't give a flying fuck about writing songs anymore") as he clangs, twangs, and rifles through the basement looking for stuff to pawn. It's not always perfect, but it's fun. San Antonio's This Will Destroy You believes quiet is the new loud, and on their new EP Young Mountain ("six songs, thirty-six minutes") simple melodies twist into beautiful dirges that crackle and fall away. Songs like "Quiet" and "I Believe in Your Victory" blast from underground with peals of Yume Bitsu-inspired laughter. It may not destroy you, but it'll definitely disable your speakers.