Tuesday, January 10th, 2012
Back To The Grave
Review of Howler’s America Give Up
David McCrindleA rumour that will undoubtedly surface over and over again over the next few months about Minneapolis young toughs Howler is this – drummer Brent Mayes is the scion of one Prince Rogers Nelson. Even if it were true, it would be irrelevant as future-funk is the furthest thing from Howler’s mandate as you can get. The fivesome face unabashedly backwards in time, staring straight at the ’50s rock and ’70s punk – in particular the garages and dive bars across America where rock’n'roll was being cultivated.
And if they do it all through the lens of the ’00s and in particular The Strokes, well that’s fair game as well. The band are absurdly young – frontman Jordan Gatesmith is all of 19 years old – and Julian Casablancas and his gang are probably as much a part of the classic rock canon to them as Elvis or The Ramones. This isn’t in any way to suggest that Howler will be taking their place amongst the aforementioned anytime soon, if ever. Though their debut album America Give Up has plenty of rough energy and enthusiasm and some immediately likeable tunes but loses some points for striving a bit too hard for some nebulous “authenticity”, particularly when Gatesmith tries to ape Casablancas’ more throat-shredding moments; they fare better when they sound more relaxed and like a bunch of kids having a good time. Still, they manage to stay on the right side of the ledger by keeping the tempos up, guitars loud, hooks sharp and running time short – under 32 minutes and they’re done.
Unsurpisingly, Howler are already critical darlings in the UK – The Guardian has a profile piece on the band. America Give Up is out next Tuesday and streaming in whole at NPR. They play The Drake Underground on April 5.
Not so long ago, Crocodiles were super-conspicuous for their absence from Toronto stages – now they’ve practically moved in as they’re back for their third show in eight months (sixth if you count all three NXNE gigs), playing Lee’s Palace on February 23. Tickets are $13.50.
North Carolina’s Lost In The Trees continue to work 2010′s All Alone In An Empty House, returning to town again for another date at The Drake Underground on April 6, tickets $11.50. Update: Their new record A Church That Fits Our Needs is out March 20 and NPR is streaming the first song.
Amidst a lineup of some of the biggest – and loudest – names in indie rock of the past two decades, not many expected the delicate piano songs of Seattle’s Perfume Genius to stand out, but inexplicably, it did. Now with a second album in Put Your Back N 2 It ready for a February 21 release, Mike Hadreas will hit the road with it and stop in at the Drake Underground on April 8. Tickets for that are $13.50 in advance.
Video: Real Estate – “Easy”
White Rabbits have announced a March 6 release date for their new record Milk Famous. You can grab the first MP3 at their website in exchange for an email address.
The Shins have released a stream of the first tune from their new record Port Of Morrow, out March 20.
Stream: The Shins – “Simple Song”
I don’t know if this video for Wilco’s “The Whole Love” is technically official, but seeing as how it was directed by Spencer Tweedy – son of Jeff – it’s at least officially acknowledged.
Video: Wilco – “The Whole Love”