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Howlin Rain

The Dharma Wheel

    Presenting Howlin Rain’s grand-scale new studio album: The Dharma Wheel, a six-track, 52-minute dive into a joyous fantasy realm. A sonic travelogue of prog funk, psychedelia, bygone West Coast jam music and watermelon rock. The triumph of a working band!

    Limited edition 45 RPM gatefold 2xLP audiophile pressing on 180g black or coloured vinyl.

    Over nearly 20 years, Howlin Rain may have become the quintessential independent American rock ’n roll band: a steam-spitting Hydra of cranked guitars, kicking asphalt dust through a kaleidoscoping travelogue of desert motels and dives, volleying forth transmissions of sci-fi poetry from the blacktop veins of this cracked and aching country.

    Now, in America 2021, capping these strangest and sorest of times, the band returns with The Dharma Wheel, a six-track, 52-minute dive into a joyous fantasy realm of exaggerated present.

    “I wanted The Dharma Wheel to be a portal from our everyday world, the one from which you stand on hard ground and hold the album in your hands and peer into the artwork, and into another universe,” says songwriter, guitarist and vocalist, Ethan Miller. “You enter into that universe with your eyes and ears and mind and take a ride through free-form meditation on these ideas — from big, fundamental concepts about our existence right down to the grease that rolls down the arm of a pulp novel killer as he eats a gas station hot dog in an old Dodge in an alleyway.”

    Lyrically, Miller has completed his evolution into a mushroom-plucking Whitman of the West, singing outlandish tales in a topographic blend of Humbead’s Revised Map of the World and an inverted U.S. where downtrodden bodhisattvas roam the back streets and moonless country roads.

    “Down in Florida swamps, run by nature’s law, standing in the water, Eden gone. Two men loading rifles, beasts making time, they shot a boy from an orange tree and watched the colored birds take flight, watch the colors as they soar and dive.” — ‘Under the Wheels.’

    The band, Jeff McElroy (bass, backing vocals), Justin Smith (drums/percussion, backing vocals) and Dan Cervantes (guitar, backing vocals), again sounds hardwired into Miller’s vision, building tracks that swagger and sway in response to his verse. Lending a hand this time around is the legendary Scarlet Rivera (Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue) on violin, and the endlessly inventive Adam MacDougall (Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Circles Around the Sun) on keys.

    Songs were shaped via the blast furnace of endless gigs, then recorded often mere hours after the band slipped the stage.

    “The captured sonic fact about this record is that it’s the sound of a band that rehearsed this material a lot and put a ton of work into its construction and was on the road a lot and recorded on days off in the tour schedule,” Miller says. “In some cases we were on stage on Saturday night playing these songs at quarter-to-2 in the morning and by Noon the next day we were sipping coffee in the studio playing them for the machine.”

    Rivera’s violin is the first sound heard as the album dawns on the instrumental “Prelude.” Soon, the band joins, twirling the theme into a psychedelicized awakening. “Don’t Let the Tears” brings the boogie, with MacDougall’s madcap synth work and wah-wah guitars showering 70’s glitter upon a parquet dance floor of the mind. “Under the Wheels” and “Rotoscope” center the album with taut, compositional epics populated by murdering drifters and fuzz pedal explosions. The blue hour comedown of “Annabelle” meditates upon the weariness of lost love, with Rivera again amping the heartache via her violin strings.

    “In the evening the trains go by, and shake the dust from dirty walls, sometimes I feel like a spider in an old mason jar, who threatens only convex light from down the hall. I’ve been lost to the world since the photos of the black hole, landed on my desktop screaming, perhaps the all and nothing all-in-one is just too much to take, for particles and matter that never found their way.” — ‘Annabelle’

    The record closes with the 16-minute title track, a multi-movement suite which cycles from Crazy Horse-meets-Traffic jams through colossal, mass-moving funk stomp, eventually cresting and washing into a sing-along gospel lament.

    The Dharma Wheel is an album of great depth, and one steeped in good vibes: a rich, glistening world of the ultra-vivid. As illustrated in Arik Roper’s cover art, the grand dharmachakra has been set in motion, churning off the California coast.

    “We were trying to build a world big enough that the imagination won’t go soft on you after just a few listens and where our love for this music, and music in general — along with a good dose of audacity — create a magic carpet ride through the world of The Dharma Wheel,” Miller continues. “In pursuing that I think we also managed to make a record that has a lot of joy in it: the joy of playing music, the joy of experiencing music, the joy of storytelling and poetry, the kind of singular joy and extended ecstatic moment that only a real ‘band’ can express in just that way.”

    And it’s this joy, this exuberance and dedication to the lines of cosmic expression — all centered in the exalted art of the everyday — that constructs the heart of the record. At its core, The Dharma Wheel is the triumph of a working band, a transmission from a never-paused before arriving for our strange, bruised, spectacular now.”

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Prelude
    2. Don’t Let The Tears
    3. Under The Wheels
    4. Rotoscope
    5. Annabelle
    6. Dharma Wheel

    Oh Sees

    Live At The Chapel SF (RSD21 EDITION)

      THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2021 EXCLUSIVE AND WILL BE AVAILABLE INSTORE ON SATURDAY JUNE 12TH ON A FIRST COME FIRST SERVED BASIS, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

      IF THERE ARE ANY REMAINING COPIES THEY WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE ONLINE AT 6PM ON THE SAME DAY (SATURDAY JUNE 12TH).


      RSD UK exclusive colour vinyl version of this live album from the mighty OH SEES

      Growing

      Diptych

        It’s not easy to summarize any band whose career has stretched over two decades. In the case of Growing, though, it’s all in the name: since 2001, the core duo of Kevin Doria and Joe DeNardo have been making vibrating, explorative experimental music that is in a forever state of evolution. In that time, they have amassed a hard-to-define and influential body of work, and Diptych sees the band operating at the height of their “big amp ambient” powers.

        Diptych is a masterclass in slowly undulating ambient drift, and quite possibly the definitive headphone album of the year. Guitars that sound like organs pointed at the heavens are cut with subtly damaged electronic moves, the end result being a record that is at once ecstatic, transportive and gritty.

        Ambient and new age music have become part of the larger indie vocabulary. Things were different over twenty years ago in the Olympia, Washington punk community where Doria and DeNardo got their start. Both veterans of aggressive music by the time the band began, Growing emerged like a rainbow at the other end of the heavy music tunnel: loud as ever, but with a sonic and aesthetic position that ran counter to punk rock norms.

        Created over the past year and a half, Diptych extrapolates on Growing’s formative drone-based work, showing a unit in full control of a language that they have built and reconfigured over time. The music here continues to be an intuitive outgrowth of a friendship that started in late-90s Olympia and still bears fruit today—even as each member lives in a different city.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: A wonderful, immersive slow-moving drift of an album. Huge tectonic waves of ambience slowly shift and morph, fluttering organic arps echo and brimming with resonant harmonics. It's a gorgeous, plaintive new-age wonder.

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Variable Speeds
        2. Down + Distance

        Howlin Rain

        Alligator Bride

          On June 8, Oakland, California’s Howlin Rain return with The Alligator Bride, their fourth album of swampy, ragged, unapologetic rock ‘n’ roll. Led by Ethan Miller (co-founder of psych rockers Comets On Fire and Heron Oblivion), the band recorded the album with Eric “King Riff” Bauer at the Mansion in San Francisco, direct to tape, in one or two takes. It’s their first release on Silver Current Records, the artist-run label owned by Miller, and gleefully indebted to classic rock formations like the Grateful Dead’s Europe ‘72 and Free’s masterpiece of atmospheric, minimalist blues, 1969’s Fire And Water. “The guiding principle for The Alligator Bride was to create ‘Neal Cassady Rock,’” says Miller. “Which is to say, high energy, good-times adventure music, driving the hippie bus, shirtless and stoned, up for four days straight, and extremely fuzzy around the edges.” It’s a fitting vision for the band: torn between eras, fuzzed out but full of soul, an epic perspective on what’s come before and what lies ahead, woven into a cosmic tapestry of riffs, rhymes, and resonant frequencies.

          TRACK LISTING

          1. Rainbow Trout
          2. Missouri
          3. Speed
          4. The Wild Boys
          5. Alligator Bride
          6. In The Evening
          7. Coming Down

          Howlin Rain

          Under The Wheels Vol. 2

            On Under The Wheels, Vol. 2, Howlin Rain’s trademark rock ’n’ roll bombast and intricately woven, extended improv passages swirl into a distinct form of storytelling, expressed through spiraling energy and a near constant flow of form and melody. As a companion to its Vol. 1 predecessor, this latest offering is also drawn from North American coastal tours in 2018 and 2019 that came in support of the band’s most recent studio album, The Alligator Bride. Curated by Howlin Rain founder Ethan Miller, it presents favorite song performances selected from different shows along the way.

            “The last time I saw Howlin’ Rain ignite a stage - at New York’s Brooklyn Bowl in the summer of 2018 - I could never have imagined the profound silence that surrounds me two years later. In a world without the sustenance and sacrament of live music, my long, loud memories from that night - Howlin’ Rain bringing The Alligator Bride to life in a rush of joy and cascading guitars - have been big medicine, keeping me sane and psychedelicized. Now there is a record from that tour to prove I wasn’t dreaming - and spread this band’s cleansing might until we can all meet again in true, electric communion.” - David Fricke (MOJO / Sirius XM Radio / Rolling Stone).

            TRACK LISTING

            1. Firefly Drone
            2. Rainbow Trout
            3. Calling Lightning Pt. 2
            4. Wild Boys
            5. Coliseum
            6. Alligator Bride

            Howlin Rain

            Under The Wheels: Live From The Coasts Vol.1

              Under The Wheels Vol 1 is the first in a new series of limited edition Howlin Rain live albums, intended to be a direct exchange / conversation with fans. A no-rules, anything goes series culled from multi-track live recordings made on the road. Volume 1, Live From The Coasts, leans heavily to the bands more expansive and improvisational side and is the first of a two-part curation of the band’s personal favorites of East Coast and West Coast performances in 2018-19 (Volume 2 and second Live From The Coasts LP due out in Fall 2019.)

              “My intention with the live series is to open a spigot between the fans and these captured live adventures and to leave it open as an ongoing conversation about our spiritual dance together.” - Ethan Miller. 

              TRACK LISTING

              1. To The Wind
              2. Missouri
              3. Death Prayer In Heaven's Orchard
              4. Goodbye Ruby
              5. Coming Down

              Feral Ohms is a power trio from Oakland, California, led by Comets On Fire / Howlin Rain / Heron Oblivion guitar and voice fireball Ethan Miller along with animal drummer Chris Johnson (Drunk Horse / Andy Human) and the loudest bassist in fifteen counties, Josh Haynes (Nudity).

              The band turns the spatial pyrotechnics and expansive spirit of classic psychedelia inside out, dragging it through the punk rock era kicking and screaming and boils it down into a series of explosions that start at needle drop and end when the record does. They blast pure action and outlaw rock’n’roll joy through relentless, violent musical force, blowing the doors off psychedelic rock and letting loose the raw, wild, high speed feedback wail of something massive careening off the rails and into your ears.

              This is FO’s debut studio album. Recorded by Eric “King Riff” Bauer (Ty Segall, White Fence, Heron Oblivion), Phil Manley (Earthless, Wooden Shjips) and mixed with scorched Earth policy by Chris Woodhouse (Thee Oh Sees, Fuzz).


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