The Tractor Presents: Howlin Rain w/ Head Band & David Nance

Sat Jun 16 2018

9:00 PM (Doors 8:30 PM)

Sunset Tavern

5433 Ballard Avenue NW Seattle, WA 98107

Ages 21+

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The Tractor Presents: Howlin Rain w/ Head Band & David Nance

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  • Howlin Rain

    Howlin Rain

    Rock

    Since their debut in 2006, Oakland, California’s Howlin Rain has seen as many highs, lows, and wild adventures as any great American rock band. Led by singer/guitarist/lead howler Ethan Miller (co-founder of blistering psych rockers Comets On Fire), they’ve performed to worldwide audiences, enlisted a megastar producer and label, moved on from said megastar producer and label, and ultimately embraced a DIY spirit.

    With their new LP The Alligator Bride, Miller’s merry band of pranksters deliver their fifth full-length set of swampy, ragged, and unapologetic rock ’n roll. “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 their first release on Silver Current Records, the artist-run label owned by Miller, who carefully oversees all curation, recording, graphic design, and distribution.

    The Alligator Bride is gleefully indebted to classic rock formations such as the Grateful Dead’s Europe ‘72, Mountain Bus’ 1974 burner Sundance, and Free’s masterpiece of atmospheric, minimalist blues, 1969’s Fire and Water. But there’s a wider context to the Rain. At any given moment, Miller pivots between several projects, each a different facet of his sun-scorched California vision. From the pastoral psych jams of his celebrated Sub Pop band Heron Oblivion, to the scuzz punk freakouts of Feral Ohms, to the sprawling, analog ambience of The Odyssey Cult, to his various books of poetry, Miller cuts a renaissance figure in madman’s garb, howling at the moon and cranking out handmade masterpieces.

    Which brings us back to Howlin Rain’s latest. Tracked over three days by Eric “King Riff” Bauer at the Mansion in San Francisco, The Alligator Bride is the sound of a full band playing live to tape, cutting the material in first and second takes. (It also marks the second installment in the band’s Mansion trilogy. First was 2016’s Mansion Songs, a less raucous affair, with the gentle touch of Espers/Heron Oblivion’s Meg Baird on vocals, among other contributors.) Miller attributes the magic to the vibe of the Mansion studio, the same space that gave birth to modern garage-psych classics by Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, and Mikal Cronin. “Because it has the word ‘mansion’ in it, people are like, ‘Oh, I didn’t realize it wasn’t an actual mansion.’” says Miller. “It’s a basement in Chinatown. It’s a mansion of the mind. It’s a creative castle. It’s not a literal, San Francisco mansion.”

    From the first notes of opening track “Rainbow Trout,” Miller’s guitar choogles out an inescapable riff, a sly reference to the sky spirits of Norman Greenbaum and ZZ Top. The riff – that riff! – unabashedly grounds The Alligator Bride in the classics, but reaches for the stars. Daniel Cervantes’ bottleneck slide guitar eases into place along with Miller’s tuneful-yet-ravaged lead vocals, followed by Jeff McElroy’s bass and Justin Smith’s charging drums. Title track “Alligator Bride” soon crashes the gates like Crazy Horse in all their ragged glory, telling a carnivalesque tale of American splendor, a parade of creatures across time and space. And final track “Coming Down” slow-burns its way through eight minutes of indestructible twin guitars, blazing to a heroic, acid-damaged finish.

    “We’re in a vortex of futuristic events,” ruminates Miller. “At this present moment, we can still remember the way the train whistle sounded in the middle of the night, rolling through the dark on the ‚Äčoutskirts of town. An old America before we walked on the moon, before TV, cell phones, and the internet. The song (and perhaps the entire album) ‘Alligator Bride’ is about standing in the eye of that tornado of time – between the past and the present – in America.” It’s a fitting vision for the band: torn between eras, an epic perspective on what’s come before and what lies ahead, woven into a cosmic tapestry of riffs, rhymes, and resonant frequencies.

  • Head Band

    Head Band

    Garage Rock

  • David Nance

    David Nance

    Rock

    David Nance, Omaha veteran of warble and hiss, returns with Negative Boogie, his new concoction of chug, throb and greasy swagger. For Boogie, Nance trades in his beaten up Tascam 488 for the bullet-proof,
    glass walls of A.R.C. Studios. Where else can you brew the negative
    boogie? And what exactly is the negative boogie? Well, it's a bit like
    Canned Heat but with Pere Ubu's queasy rhythms and someone playing
    five finger fillet with Swell Maps. Ensconced in his ivory tower
    and soundproof rooms, Nance reached for unlikely weapons to tear down
    his own lofty experiment. He had his pick of rare guitars, cowbells,
    steel drums, vintage amps, Crazy Horse microphones, mellotron, and the
    restless but indefatigable rhythm section of Kevin Donahue and Tom
    May. They started at sunrise and recorded 15 songs by midnight. Maybe
    it's his Midwestern work ethic, maybe he's a sonic cheapskate. Maybe
    it's just the sound of negative boogie.

    True to habit, Nance built on scraps and scrapes as his starting
    point. “Some songs were unused for half a decade, some songs were
    changed the day before recording and some songs were recycled and
    reinterpreted from the last album leftovers," he says. And yet, bits
    and pieces, false starts and vicious jams, all came together like the
    cover art collage suggests, to make something he's never done before -
    a rock epic. These songs stab and flow into one other like a perfectly
    orchestrated classic. The songs are drenched with Nance’s most biting
    and comic lyrics to date, peaking on “D.L.A.T.U.M.F. Blues" (Don't
    Look At This Ugly Mother Fucker Blues). And ripping through the entire
    thing is the cracked power he yanks out of the guitar, a veritable The
    Good, The Bad and the Ugly of riffage. This is a departure for Nance.
    It's bigger and grander but it's far from easy music. It's his Plastic
    Ono Band, his For Your Pleasure, his fever dream of Rocket from the
    Tombs. Shredders sit with jangling rockers, manic energy spills into
    depressive torpor, providing the ultimate record experience: one of
    power, nuance and emotion. But this of course is only a press release,
    written by a team of robots using words programmed to seduce you. You
    knew that, right? Did it work? Whether you are nodding yes or shaking
    no, it's safe to say that we are all dancing the negative boogie.

The Tractor Presents: Howlin Rain w/ Head Band & David Nance

Sat Jun 16 2018 9:00 PM

(Doors 8:30 PM)

Sunset Tavern Seattle WA
The Tractor Presents: Howlin Rain w/ Head Band & David Nance
  • Sorry, you missed this event.
  • Check out other similar events on TicketWeb.

Ages 21+