Release Date: Mar 4, 2008
Record label: American/Birdman
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Check "Dancers at the End of Time," with its direct lift of the title from Michael Moorcock's novel of the same name. It begins with a bone-crushing blast of guitars in wah-wah overdrive, as an organ pumps up the rhythm section before it retreats for a few moments into a simple chord line as a feint. As the band comes back in to create the space for the song's lyrics and melodic line -- and Miller is no less a completely shambolic if wildly expressive vocalist than he has ever been -- all hell breaks loose and Miller enters at full throttle.
The emphasis in Howlin Rain is on the howlin. Lead singer Ethan Miller’s throaty delivery is the star of this show. Miller also croons for Comets on Fire, but in that band his vocals share equal billing with the group’s psychedelic instrumental explorations. Howlin Rain’s approach is much more classically classic rock, complete with shades of soul and gospel.
When Ethan Miller and Comets on Fire would fire up the amps, fuzztone ripped through every riff. Magnificent Fiend, the second album from his side project-cum-Rick Rubin ‘discovery’ Howlin Rain, kicks off with some crunch, too. Distortion wrestles with rock organ through the first few measures. Then someone stomps the switch.