Travis Millard Occumm Pucky Vol. 1 Lost Broadcast Records 2013 CAT# LB00107
I think at this point, it's safe to say that Travis Millard is the coolest artist from Olathe, Kansas, ever. In fact, I think it's safe to say Travis Millard is the coolest Olathe, Kansas native, ever. He's a well established artist. He does his Fudge Factory Comics, he's done of album covers (Get Up Kids, Dinosaur Jr., and others), his artwork appears on skateboards, and he's done cartoons-something of his appears on Sanjay & Craig on Nickelodeon which my kids and I love. Finally, he's a legitimate artist supporting himself through artwork, that's tough to do and rad.
He's an Olathe South graduate, which is also the high school Alma Mater of 3/5 of the Get Up Kids and myself. He was a few years ahead of me and we were part of a Junior High system, so we were never in the same building, I can't consider him anything other than an acquaintance. Second, I wasn't an "art" kid. Always wanted to be, always loved looking at it, just couldn't do it myself. Friends and I always admired him from a far--he's a legend in Olathe. He played in a band, made incredible drawings and if you ever talked to him he was always incredibly nice. When I got to college at KU and worked for KJHK, he did stuff for the station all the time. T-Shirt art, this incredible show poster that I can't for the life of me find, so again, the nicest guy ever and he did that stuff at no charge to the station if memory serves.
This 7" release represents the stuff he did in college. They are entertaining little demos he did in around Lawrence, KS with various bands/friends. 5 songs on a 45 RPM record, so some of the tunes are really just ideas. Also, it features some pretty well known players. Most notably, Kori Gardner of Mates of State plays guitar on the song "All Your Friends", but it also features Josh Cobra Baruth on "Little Home" and "Crush", who played drums for Appleseed Cast. Every tune is incredibly raw. But, like his artwork, the music is very imaginative. I get a Syd Barrett feel from some of it, out of key pop songs, very clever and picturesque rhymes, but not acid damaged, just the cleverness and guitar effects. There's also a good amount of Northwest influence on the tracks, kind of K Records, Built to Spill-ish, which could be more due to the demo style recordings than it is Travis Millard. The song "Little Home" is a legitimate gem, raw, but would be worth polishing up and redoing. "Crush" is decent, it gets a bit too adventurous and seems to forget it's a pop song.
Overall, I'm stoked this exists and even more stoked it's only Vol. 1. Is Vol. 2 going to be more college-era demos? Maybe the high school stuff he did, which I was pretty sure as a Junior High-er was the coolest thing I'd ever heard from someone in my hometown. Maybe some brand new stuff? Should be solid no matter what.