Saturday, December 23, 2006

#8- Howlin' Rain- Howlin' Rain

As the year came to an end and the weather started getting colder, I put off revisiting this - psychedelic country rock just isn't winter music. But the minute I did put it on, I was instantly transported back to that three-week period in June when I couldn't listen to anything but Howlin' Rain.

Think CCR or the Grateful Dead with Sonic Youth-ian distortion freak-outs. And for as much as that sounds like it shouldn't work, it sounds strangely natural coming from Comets on Fire side project Howlin' Rain. My Morning Jacket toyed with this sound at times during their steady evolution from backwoods jamband to alt-rock superstars, but they never fully realized its potential - Howlin Rain sounds like a long-lost album that band made during a whiskey and hallucinogen-fueled weekend between the release of The Tennessee Fire and At Dawn.

It's pretty much necessary that I mention mind-altering substances with this album - the thing bridges the gap between stoner rock and Southern rock you didn't know existed. Some will no doubt be turned off by its loose, stupid sloppiness, and lead singer Ethan Miller's raspy croon, but the next time you're looking to throw back a few beers and enjoy the summer sun, very few albums sound as good as this. It's a no-frills party album to its core - like Weezer's Blue Album if you grew up in Smokey Mountains instead of the American suburbs.

Howlin' Rain- Calling Lightning With A Scythe
from Howlin' Rain


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