Saturday, November 20, 2010


Album cover artwork by Alan Forbes and David D'Andrea, 2010.

Hello Friends,

As we prepare to embark on a tour of the UK and western Europe throughout December I am proud (thrilled, relieved, short circuiting) to announce that Howlin Rain have a new release coming into the world. No, this is not our long awaited 3rd album, though we are nearly done tracking the new record, making great sounds and progress and should see it's release in summer or fall of 2011. "The Good Life" EP is 3 songs, nearly 20 minutes of new music.

After almost two years of pre-production work with producer Rick Rubin for our next album we found ourselves with an over abundance of material and an increasing gap of time between the forecast release of our next album and our last record "Magnificent Fiend". On the eve of hitting the studio and beginning to record #3, Howlin Rain took a week to step into a studio and complete this mini album or EP. It was envisioned as both an introduction to the forthcoming full length due in 2011 (the songs are exclusive to this EP) and as a piece that cold stand on it's own in HR's catalog as a trilogy of songs that present their own unique journey and sonic arch. After such extended rehearsals and pre-production work we were interested in taking this opportunity to try and produce high quality recordings and performances off the cuff and against the clock that could capture a blend of immediacy and sonic intrigue. All three songs were tracked in one evening live in the same room at Lucky Cat Studios in San Francisco by Trans Am's brilliant Phil Manley and taken back to Louder Studios to be overdubbed and mixed by Tim Green in a handful of days. From the time we set up at Lucky Cat to the time the EP was completely mastered and ready to go was a week and a half. In the midst of a journey to complete an album that will have been years in the making, the Good Life EP is a catharsis of immediacy for us blasted down from a long highway, a postcard from the outer regions where we've been navigating now for a lot of moons.

The digital version of the The Good Life EP, by American Recordings is in gloriously sharp 1's and 0's, the details of our analog recording reproduced and represented in digital for your convenience, each kilobyte of information meticulously placed and crafted by a giant black computer, the only one or its kind, deep inside of the Columbia Records building in Beverly Hills.

The analog version of the EP, released by Birdman Records is a limited edition of 1000 vinyl package. It was printed by RTI on beautiful heavy black vinyl and comes in a silk screened sleeve designed by Bay Area psychedelic artists Alan Forbes and David D'Andrea and printed at Monolith Press in Emeryville.

The vinyl is at the plant getting pressed and will most likely be available in January or February. Pre-Order the vinyl here. Buy the digital EP now from here:

best and love


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Comets & Growing

Tour poster by Arik Roper for Comets/ Growing summer tour 2005.

Wow. It’s been a long time. I have been locked in a jam space in East Oakland with Howlin’ Rain for many moons. My beard is grown long, my hair getting shaggy. The jam space smells irreversibly more like sweat and beer everyday. Well, if we are to believe that time is an elliptical thing in form than no real harm done in wandering your days away in the woods. I have plenty of live shows and comps to post from deep in the archives I just was having a little trouble finding the right thing to really inspire me for the next post. Then two days ago I went over to Noel’s house to listen to the new Sic Alps double album (which is an AMAZING album and also refueled my inspiration!!! Due out on Drag City in the Fall) and while I was there I picked up some files of a session of jam space recordings that Comets on Fire and Growing had made together on a day off in San Francisco in 2005. Like a lot of these old forgotten things that just seemed like beer, friends, loud amps and a dark room with high ceilings during their creation, time has transformed this recording event into an experience full of ghosts and glory upon my listening now. It is altogether more dark, haunted, bombastic and heavy than I remembered it being at the time. It’s strange that only with the passage of time and having forgotten the exact “when” and “why” you did some piece of artistic work can you finally hear it as an outsider with more objective ears. You find the pleasure and admiration of an objective viewpoint, the inspiration of an observer rather than the concerns of an owner. Sometimes these jam sessions with other groups could too easily come off as one of the bands adding to the sound of the other rather than a meeting of minds but on the best days two entities meet in the middle to form a new thing that shines out with the character of both groups in a unique way. Listening now I feel like that has happened quite beautifully here. Another thing that struck me while listening to this session is that the tools and the “sound” of Growing at this time are no longer the tools and the “sound” of Growing today. They are no longer droning guitar and bass through big distorted amps but something very evolved and different and a long way down the road from those roots. To me hearing these recordings feels a little bit like turning the velvet cover back on a birdcage full of memories that have no clear story of your past, just a collection of strange feelings and unexplainable resonance that was no clearer in their original evocation all those years ago. That is not to say that this session was a complicated feeling or that my memories of hanging with Joe and Kevin on tour or recording were complex; quite the opposite. It was a lot of fun, they are great dudes and we drank a lot of beer. All life and relationships should be so simple. What I’m saying is that at the time the music itself felt like good bros, good times and beers and not a greatly resonant piece of music to my ears. Now it holds a more powerful resonance to me since it’s resonance for me has become disassociated from simple “good times”. I hear melancholy, howling, roaring, dancing delicate notes that form complex patterns and tattoo water reflected images across darkly shifting tectonic plates! Great sorrows and pleasures in those drones and hammering marches down old wide streets! Anguished reverb screaming for revenge! Buzzing nonsensical harmonies rolling through subterranean caves! Bats, snakes, dolphins, ocean stones, pillars reduced to broken marble, a field of a million onions under the moonlight! The bubbling of mineral water up from the stones in the last undiscovered foothills on earth! Brilliant child Gods in black satin capes drunk on Sangria and throwing peach pits into the gears of the wheels of time! Etc Etc.

What I can remember about this session is that it was recorded during the daytime at our practice space on 3rd st. in San Francisco most likely between September 1st and the 3rd of 2005. Comets and Growing had toured the Midwest and Eastern U.S. together in June and July of that same year. This is just a few months later and Growing was out on the West Coast to play the first Arthurfest in Los Angeles which Comets also played. I believe this recording session was the night after a Growing gig but I don’t remember if Comets played the gig with them the night before. It was recorded with two PZM mics most likely laid out on the floor at either side of the room between the amp line and the drums, recording to either ¼ inch reel to reel 4-track or an 80’s Tascam cassette 4-track (the latter seems more likely as that was our main machine to use for jam space recordings). We ended up with 6 jams on tape ranging from 7 minutes to over 30 minutes in length. I have taken what I felt was the summary and best of those tracks to present here in the form of what would have been released had we ever decided to. These three tracks are completely unedited and in their original form as I got them from Noel except for a little EQ. It’s possible that he may have edited them when taking them off the original 4 track tape but I doubt it due to their length and rough edges. “Untitled 2” cuts off at 20:45 most likely due to tape running out. The other two seem to run completely through the jams from beginning to end.

All the best to you and enjoy!


Get "Comets & Growing" here:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Fitz Heavy Riff Comp II

Baris Manco rocking the Bosphorus

From across the Atlantic, all the way from the heart of East London comes the 2nd Riff Comp from the notorious John Fitzgerald. This gem is the second installment of heavy riff jams from the Fitz vault that he has made for me to help inspire the riff writing process in the epic Howlin Rain pre-production journey for our next record. Loaded with international rarities and lost western dance, funk and straight up heavy freak out fuzz and rock classics. In 2010 Fitz has also gone live broadcasting his world wide heavy jams in his "International Psychedelic Podcast". These podcasts are amazing!!! If you've ever ridden shotgun in a sprinter van careening at 90 miles per hour through the Swiss Alps in November while Fitz blasts Edip Akbayram and Baris Manco and exclaims with wonder (with both hands off the wheel) how beautiful Selda must have looked on her wedding day on the Bosphorus with the eastern sun shining down on Asia Minor behind her---well, these podcasts are as close as you can come to that particular exhilaration without actually going on tour! So let some Peppermint Tea steep, set out a bowl of Licorice and Pistachios, jam the podcast and you're as good as in the passenger seat. For the Podcast, go to your itunes, click "advanced", select "subscribe to podcast" and paste this URL: You can also click that link to stream.

In the meantime, here is Fitz Heavy Riff Comp II:

1. Lena. Curtis Knight

2. Omar Khorshid and His Ma. Omar Khorshid and His Ma

3. Whole Lotta Love. Dennis Coffey

4. Black Tears. Witch

5. Girotondo. Il Balletto Di Bronzo

6. Itt A Nyar. Sarolta Zalatnay

7. Yellow Cab Man. Gun

8. East Side Story. Bob Seger and the Last Heard

9. Basak Saclim. Bunalim

10. Flying. Space Farm

11. Blister on the Moon. Taste

12. My Sorrow. Chico Magnetic Band

13. Deniz Asto Koporor. Edip Akbayram

14. Spotkanie Z Diablem. Krzysztof Klenczon

15. Evolution. Lobby Loyde

16. Sha-La-La. Thin Lizzy

17. The Day the White Flower Bloomed. San Ul Lim

18. Exit. After Life

19. Ana Dell. Cheb Zergui

20. Dearg Doom. Horslips

21. Let Me Love, Let Me Live. Aphrodite's Child

Get it from Media Fire: