When you ask frontman Jordan Gatesmith how Howler formed, he says: “Howler came to be about a winter ago when I made the realization that I truly loved rock music.” The resulting band is grounded in a range of rock music from ’80s hardcore to ’60s girl groups. This combination of sound is really Gatesmith’s goal in the end: “I wanted to sort of immerse myself in the genre and find my own sound within it. I know I sound totally lame when I say this, but rock music is a sort of language that I feel literate in. Smash the banjo and pick up a Strat!”

Howler is reminiscent of the punk/hardcore scene of 1980s Minneapolis, the band’s hometown. Its This One’s Different EP plays like an experiment to balance the loud and dirty qualities of Husker Du and the Replacements with the poppy hooks of the Ronkettes and Shangri-Las. Songs like “You Like White Women, I Like Cigarettes” and “Beach Sluts” charm you just as much as they rock. At its soul, Howler sounds like what the skate punk contingent of the 1980s would if they cleaned up for a night to take their girlfriends to prom.

Howler may be the solo project of Jordan Gatesmith (lead singer of Total Babe) but it also consists of Max Petrek on keyboard, Brent Mayes on drums and Ian Nygaard on guitar. This One’s Different EP is being released abroad via Rough Trade, and the band is currently working on a full length debut. Gatesmith is excited about recording the full-length, as he promises the band has truly found its sound since the release of the EP. What’s most refreshing about Howler is that it’s comfortable with its sound. While bands these days overextend themselves trying to do everything, Howler has managed to do one thing incredibly well.

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