1,2,3, Eastern Midwestern

Wed, April 11, 2012

Doors: 7:30 pm

Mercury Lounge

New York, NY

$10 advance / $12 day of show

This event is 21 and over

Howler - (Set time: 10:00 PM)
Peter Buck once remarked that he discovered loads of bands while touring the U.S. during the mid ‘80s. Hüsker Dü and The Replacements from Minneapolis, X and The Dream Syndicate from L.A. One can’t help but suspect that Minneapolis’ Howler would’ve been on of Buck’s interstate parochial discoveries had they been around in the early ‘80s instead of early ‘10s, when band discoveries occur at the speed of light across the Internet instead of via word of mouth recommendations from record store clerks.

Howler launched with white-hot shooting star intensity, garnering international accolades, including being named the NME’s third coolest new band in rock, as well as having frontman Jordan Gatesmith make the publication’s annual cool list. They seemed primed for international take over, and were oft compared to The Strokes, actually signing to Rough Trade, after local Minneapolis journalist interviewing Geoff Travis about the 10th anniversary of The Strokes’ debut sent him an early demo of Howler’s first EP. Travis inked the act, and they subsequently released their debut LP “America Give Up.”

These weren’t fatuous, undeserved accolades, and there cord did well, allowing them to tour worldwide. Yet as auspicious as their debut was, their sophomore follow-up “World of Joy“ sounds like an actual band instead of a Gatesmith solo project, the labor of a band who’s honed its chops after extensive grindstone touring. In direct contrast to “America Give Up’s” solitary home recording ethos, Gatesmith strove to more closely approximate an organic, more democratic band bashing out songs in a room. “I think this album’s more of the debut of the band than the first one. It’s much more collaborative, and touring constantly helped, ” says Gatesmith.

“This record has a party atmosphere and we were inspired by bar antics in a weird way. We played music all day and went to the bar at night,” laughs Gatesmith, recounting the making of the record with bassist Max Petrick and guitarist Ian Nygaard. Rory Mac Murdo, a childhood friend of Gatesmith, took over for Brent Mayes on drums in 2013, and the band didn’t even skip a beat.

It’s easy to pick out antecedents in home town legends such as The Replacements, The Cows, Hüsker Dü and even The Hold Steady while listening to “World of Joy” but Gatesmith is keen to extol the virtues of their lesser known contemporaries. “I think there’s a lot of strong musicians from around town who no one’s really heard of yet. We’re really jelling in the scene right now with those bands who are our age,” he says.

? The propulsive, chiming “Don’t Wanna,” with its wistful undertones, is an early band favorite, slyly poking fun at the Minneapolis scene. “It’s sour Minneapolis anthem, written as a joke, ” he laughs “We were hanging out at this club, and someone started meriting the Minneapolis band Semisonic’s ‘Closing Time,’ as a true anthem. So we decided we wanted to write the anti-‘Closing Time,’ an anti-anthem.”

Perhaps the antithesis of “Don’t Wanna” is “Aphorismic Wasteland Blues,” a closing number that sounds like it could’ve stemmed from classic Dylan both lyrically and sonically.

“With ‘Aphorismic,’ we were trying to be a fake blues band, and nothing worked, so we played it on tape machine, and we threw it on the end of the album as an after thought,” says Gatesmith. Rather serendipitously, it’s one of the album’s finest tracks, providing a decidedly idiosyncratic close to an album created by group of highly eccentric individuals, who also happen to be great musicians and songwriters.

After a long conversation about the modern music landscape ensues, Gatesmith reveals an affinity for Low and Talk Talk, but confesses that he doesn’t necessarily emulate them musically. “I love their sonic collages, but need a hook to be there when I’m writing, but not necessarily when I’m listening, although it may happen someday… And a sense of humor. I always hope that comes through. We don’t take ourselves nearly as seriously as people may think we do.”

With a record as infectiously raucous as “World of Joy” he needn’t worry. It’s a gas to listen to, as uplifting, galvanizing, and joyous as all the greatest rock ‘n’ roll strives to be, and by the sounds of Gatesmith’s lengthy expositions on rock music, past, present, and future, he certainly seems like he’s in it for the long haul.

Howler is Jordan Gatesmith (vocals/guitar), Ian Nygaard (guitar), Max Petrek (bass/keyboards) and Rory MacMurdo (drums).
1,2,3 - (Set time: 9:00 PM)
Eastern Midwestern - (Set time: 8:00 PM)
Eastern Midwestern
Like Bert & Ernie and Felix & Oscar, the bond of friendship can be peculiar. It is indisputable, though, that there exists a palpable, visceral energy that attracts strangers to form a perfect union. And, in those flawless entities we find a truer sense of being, a holy, deeper meaning that art only strives to approximate.

Eastern Midwestern shoots for the moon, and only most-artfully turns back on itself. Whether it's the genteel storytelling of the Middle West, or the affected attitude of the jagged Eastern seaboard, this unique foursome of de-facto New Yorkers aims to please even the most discerning ear.
They dare you not to hum back a melody, to not swing your arms in grand air guitar gestures, or flail fauxfills down dribbling air-toms. You'll have no control as your inner-bassist contorts the corners of your mouth into Bass Face, your under bite leading your head in an approving Rock Nod.

Enjoy your ride to Zenith and back! It is the capital of your favorite fictional state: Winnemac, so equally eastern and so equally midwestern.
Venue Information:
Mercury Lounge
217 E Houston St.
New York, NY, 10002