McCartney's way with a melody—plus shimmering Bowie-esque guitar textures and sleazy rock rhythm."”

— Corey Walsh, Missoulian

RECENT PRESS

Review of "Big Sky" single and premiere on V13

ADDICTIVE AND AIRY...This is Shatner at his most musically liberated
The latest song has an unmistakable retro sound to it, recalling the early days of the alternative rock movement in the 1990s when the Pixies were setting the stage for a musical revolution. Like the rest of the album “Big Sky” has an adventurous theme to it.

Eccentric modern classic

Eccentric modern classic

"Performance poetry with a strong bass heartbeat."

Spurred on by a quip from an ex-girlfriend, and Paul McCartney’s McCartney III (2020), Henderson K. Shatner—Catnyp songwriter, singer, and multi-instrumentalist—created his most fearless platter to date, Catnyp IIII, out April 22, 2022. On this 14-song collection of intoxicating indie-rock treats, the Missoula, Montana-based artist explores the outer stratosphere of his eccentric modern classic sensibility.

Press Photos

henderson k shatner, rickenbacker bass, artist image, catnyp
hendrson k shatner, catnyp, live, performance, singing

LONG BIO

The long and winding road to catnyp & "ECCENTRIC MODERN CLASSIC"

Spurred on by a quip from an ex-girlfriend, and Paul McCartney’s McCartney III (2020), Henderson K. Shatner—Catnyp songwriter, singer, and multi-instrumentalist—created his most fearless platter to date, Catnyp IIII, out April 22, 2022. On this 14-song collection of intoxicating indie-rock treats, the Missoula, Montana-based artist explores the outer stratosphere of his eccentric modern classic sensibility.

 

“My ex provided some unsolicited advice that set the tone for this album,” Shatner shares with a good-natured laugh. “She said ‘get back to your quirk-pop rock roots.’” He complied by  peeling back the layers of production and instrumentation he explored on previous releases. For the most part, Catnyp IIII is viscerally lean—just one guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. It has the rawness and energy of a demo, but with the high-fidelity and clarity of a polished studio production.  It’s a best-of-both worlds approach guided by the golden touch of multiplatinum mixer engineer Brian Reeves (U2, Miley Cyrus, Elton John).

 

The Macca influence came from the self-contained vibe of his recent album in which the former Beatle played all the instruments. Taking a cue from this McCartney feat, Shatner—already an accomplished bassist and guitarist—learned drums in a couple of months, and then recorded 14 instrumentals. Next, he set aside 4 sequential days to write lyrics and melodies, before tracking vocals, often tearing through 4-5 songs in a day.

 

“It was scary staring at a blank screen with a cup of coffee, trying to write lyrics to so many instrumentals in such a short amount of time. It definitely gave the album a certain cohesiveness that might not be there if everything had been written and recorded in a more typically organic manner,” Shatner says. “It also allowed for some fearless experimentation in vocal styles.”

 

Shatner is a dynamic and melody-centric songwriter who carefully crafts each vocal line, and, like McCartney, pens lyrical basslines. He also impactfully uses loud-and-soft contrasts, recalling the explosive musicality of the Pixies and Nirvana. This penchant for juxtaposition plays out throughout his musicality as his lyrics, and his instrumentation, are rife with layers of meaning and oomph.  Shatner’s songwriting is informed by 1990s alt-rock, Brit-pop, new wave and dark wave, and the timeless rock n’ roll of the Beatles and the Stones. To date, Catnyp has released The Black Cat Trilogy of records issued yearly from 2018 until 2020.

 

Shatner cut his teeth in the Denver music scene in the late 1990s before working and living internationally with bands in Australia, Sweden, and the UK. While across the pond, he formed the seminal surf-goth band, Brand Violet, as bass player and songwriter. The band were signed to iconic Some Bizarre Records (Depeche Mode, The The, Soft Cell).

 

Catnyp was formed when Shatner returned stateside in 2015. The group features Shatner as primary songwriter, singer, and multi-instrumentalist, but it also boasts a fluid membership of trusted studio and onstage musicians. Along for the ride on Catnyp IIII—on tracks “Big Sky” and “No Hope”—is Emily Dolan Davies on drums (Bryan Ferry, The Darkness, Tricky, The Hours), and on “Sharp White Teeth,” “Houdini” and “Mainstreaming” is often-featured Catnyp collaborator Ian Weckler on guitar.  

 

Catnyp IIII tears open with the jagged alt-rock of “Big Sky,” and then rockets us into a series of thrilling adventures, including checking out grisly murder scenes; jetting to Berlin; reveling in the joys of dysfunctional high school get-togethers; intriguing encounters with a transgendered character; and vibing deep at old-school hip-hop parties. By the end of exhilarating ride, we find ourselves back where we started: perhaps in a Montana bar with a narrator quietly observing the birds out the window. Through it all, Shatner is a shapeshifting narrator, and his vocal stylings channel Paul McCartney, Debbie Harry, David Bowie, Jack White, Nick Cave, Chris Isaak, Damon Albarn, and Robert Plant in his quest to find the right voice for each song.

 

Album standouts include “The Architecture Of Berlin,” “13.13,” “Sharp White Teeth,” and “The Nature Of Birds.”  The evocative “The Architecture Of Berlin” exudes a moody elegance, conjuring the height of 1970s bohemian Berlin as something of a sequel to Bowie’s “Heroes.” It also serves up sharp social commentary on how similar art communities have been commodified and become a caricature of themselves in modern times, and he toes the line between romantic Bowie and cynical modernist. Lyrically, Shatner manages some sensually poetic moments such as: She said, “I’d like it if we never went to bed.”/I said I’d like to, she said she’d try to if she could fit it in her head/Unter den Linden, not quite joyridden, they’re selling pieces of the wall/I kind of liked it, she said she’d spiked it, I woke up naked on the floor. The darkly brooding, “13.13,” is a voyeuristic peek into a crime scene, and listening to the tremolo-guitars and haunting Nick Cave-esque vocals feels like musical rubbernecking. The tuneful pop-rocker, “Sharp White Teeth,” is Pixies-style arty and playful. The 14-track album concludes with the ethereal “The Nature Of Birds” which is every bit as trippy as its title suggests.

                                                                        ###

Anhedonia - video

Inquiries