In the Red
World of Joy
Here's the Itch That Creeps Through My Skull
Aphorismic Wasteland Blues
Currently 21 years old, the members of Minneapolis’ Howler live in the shadow of The Replacements, who apparently taught them just about everything they know about how to write and rock. The band’s quick, aggressive songs—which have expanded into full band exercises instead of coming strictly from Jordan Gatesmith's pen—show signs of maturity without losing the primal blast that only young, careless men can deliver without shame. “Al’s Corral” speaks of a South St. Paul bar where they imagine Paul Westerberg writing “Here Comes a Regular.” “Drip” concerns their sickly second guitarist Ian Nygaard, who found time to pen the chaotic title track and the album highlight, the slower-than-usual “Here’s the Itch That Creeps Through My Skull.” Allegedly, two Walt Whitman poems inspired the subdued “Louise,” which is blurred beyond recognition by its freeform production. The New York Times came away impressed with the band’s debut, America Give Up. It’s time for everyone else to catch up with the follow-up, World of Joy.