News, Reviews

Crisman Release Their Atmospheric Self-Titled Studio Debut Via Topshelf Records

April 4, 2020
art by Madeline Dowd

Crisman share their atmospheric self-titled studio debut

While Madeline Dowd’s (she/her) visual artwork playfully relays adult themes through childlike imagery, her band Crisman swaps the acrylics and spray paint for hazily-filtered vocals gently layered over slowcore arrangements to find yet another medium for masking emotional turmoil with innocence. 

In 2011, Dowd left her hometown of Alpharetta, Georgia for Denton, Texas, where she met Dead Sullivan frontperson Boone Patrello (he/him). Their chemistry led to 2018’s Crisman Tape, which Gold Flake Paint called “a hidden and unhurried gem in the current DIY scene.” For the band’s self-titled debut studio album, Dowd and Patrello teamed up with another fellow Denton musician in MAH KEE OH’s Grahm Robinson (he/him). Contrasted against the childlike playfulness of Dowd’s paintings, the band’s collective experience is refracted throughout the measured ten-song collection.

The melancholic and sinuous lead single “Surprise” pulls from childhood memories of wanting to be included and feeling misunderstood in order to lend its start-stop riffs an emotional touchstone. On “Cya,” the band employs acerbic distortion and twinkling arpeggios to explore the immaturity and inevitability of trying to forget a person or feeling that lingers far too long, where final single “Icee Blue” is about experiencing the infectiousness of a romance, a thematic reproduction of the song’s infectious composition.

The stunning and innate debut record is a huge milestone for the band and for Topshelf Records. A truly beautiful and abundant record in it’s entirety. One that will last and honestly echo to its listeners. Soothing yet startling- Crisman create complex compositions that will strike a nerve. Their melodic ensembles will effortlessly captivate.


  1. Portrait
  2. Surprise
  3. Ocean
  4. Go
  5. Cya
  6. Interlude
  7. Rock
  8. Rain
  9. Icee Blue
  10. Pawn


  • Songs written by Madeline and Boone
  • Recorded and mixed by Brack Cantrell
  • Mastered by Timothy Stollenwerk at Stereophonic Mastering
  • Guitar and vocals by Madeline Dowd
  • Vocals on track 9 by Boone Patrello
  • Lead guitar and piano by Boone Patrello
  • Drums (1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10) by Blake Montgomery
  • Drums (4, 6, 9) by Grahm Robinson
  • Bass (1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10) by Grahm Robinson
  • Bass (4, 6, 9) by Boone Patrello
  • Skating on track 5 by Boone Patrello

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