SF power-psychers Howlin Rain: 3rd CD – Winter 2012 tour

By on December 29, 2011

San Francisco Bay Area-based power quintet Howlin Rain’s third album The
Russian Wilds passionately protests the currently popular notion that
heroically conceived and executed rock music is a thing of golden ages
passed.  Having been formed by bandleader-singer-guitarist Ethan Miller in
2004, as a melodic offshoot of blazing new-psych innovators Comets On
Fire, Howlin Rain soon caught the attention of uber-producer Rick Rubin,
who signed them to his American Recordings label and involved himself
deeply in their subsequent musical evolution thereafter.  Rubin worked
closely with Ethan for over a year and a half as he shaped and perfected
the material being written for The Russian Wilds. Finally, the band
entered the studio with producer-engineer Tim Green (The Fucking Champs,
Nation of Ulysses), tracking at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, as well as at
Trilogy Studios and Hyde Street in San Francisco, recording most of the
overdubs at Green’s Louder Studios in SF, where Tim mixed the album with
crucial input from Rick. I’m hoping you’d consider advancing this show
with a feature, CD review or advance blurb.

Arriving Valentine’s Day 2012, The Russian Wilds is a sprawling,
Pynchon-esque labyrinth and a colorful, feeling-filled catalyst for hungry
minds.  It’s the masterwork earlier studio sets and Howlin Rain’s
barn-burning live shows have hinted at given blood and bone by a group in
their fighting prime. “There was a point when we were really trying to
blend Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland, Steely Dan’s Gaucho and Bruce
Springsteen’s Darkness On The Edge of Town,” says Ethan Miller.  “I love
the Boss’ singing, where he’s just blowing out his voice even when it’s
just a pop ballad moment.  And we were inspired by some of the grooves and
close mic stuff on Gaucho, and by how Electric Ladyland runs the gamut
from super long jams to blues numbers to drifting psychedelic pieces. 
There’s a sense of audacity to these records – a band chasing down strong,
invisible connections – and there’s moments like that on our record.  We
didn’t always do the smartest or safest things [laughs].”

Besides Miller, Howlin Rain comprises Raj Ojha (drums, percussion), Cyrus
Comiskey (bass), Joel Robinow (keyboards, guitar, vocals) and Isaiah
Mitchell (guitar, vocals).  These musicians have drawn upon the basic
vocabulary of classic rock but then stretch and reshape it to more arcane
and ambitious ends. The results present a unique aural vision that
expresses the fantastical and the practical in equal measure, resonating
quite nicely with the work of kindred spirits such as Assemble Head In
Sunburst Sound, Wooden Shjips, Chris Robinson Brotherhood and Vetiver.
This New Cosmic California movement shares an exploration of
song-grounded, psych-touched, emotionally charged boogie and blues; they
are, in short, the next generation to carry on the viscerally charged
spirit of the musical pioneers that once rendered the Fillmore and
Winterland stages magic in decades long passed.  Where Howlin Rain differs
from some of their compatriots is their penchanct for conjuring simmering
soul grooves in unexpected places, marrying blue-eyed soul influences to
strutting highway-ready rock.  In addition, their latest work reflects
increased focus on sophisticated harmony vocal arrangements, adding
exciting new dimensions to their ouevre.

Howlin Rain has performed at major festivals in the U.S. (Bonnaroo,
Outside Lands, Bumbershoot) and in Europe (Green Man, All Tomorrow’s
Parties, Azkena), and has toured with The Black Crowes, Queens of the
Stone Age, and Black Mountain, as well as sharing bills with Mudhoney,
Roky Erickson, Terry Reid, Okkervil River, and The Meat Puppets.   After
their period of intense woodshedding over these past few years, Howlin
Rain is looking forward to seeing this new music blossom on concert stages
around the world!



Author: DaveHHM

Dave Luttrull: Owner/Editor in Chief of Hellhound Music. Star Wars nerd, Gamer, Destiny homer, blogger, writer and lover of all things music.