Strap yourself in for some serious prog-funk psych!
Over nearly 20 years, Howlin Rain may have become the quintessential independent American rock ’n roll band: a steam-spitting Hydra of cranked guitars, kicking asphalt dust through a kaleidoscoping travelogue of desert motels and dives, volleying forth transmissions of sci-fi poetry from the blacktop veins of this cracked and aching country.
Now, in America 2021, capping these strangest and sorest of times, the band returns with The Dharma Wheel, a six-track, 52-minute dive into a joyous fantasy realm of exaggerated present.
+ Indie LPs are pressed on cosmic yellow and purple vinyl.
“I wanted The Dharma Wheel to be a portal from our everyday world, the one from which you stand on hard ground and hold the album in your hands and peer into the artwork, and into another universe,” says songwriter, guitarist and vocalist, Ethan Miller. “You enter into that universe with your eyes and ears and mind and take a ride through free-form meditation on these ideas — from big, fundamental concepts about our existence right down to the grease that rolls down the arm of a pulp novel killer as he eats a gas station hot dog in an old Dodge in an alleyway.”
The Dharma Wheel is an album of great depth, and one steeped in good vibes: a rich, glistening world of the ultra-vivid. As illustrated in Arik Roper’s cover art, the grand dharmachakra has been set in motion, churning off the California coast.
“We were trying to build a world big enough that the imagination won’t go soft on you after just a few listens and where our love for this music, and music in general — along with a good dose of audacity — create a magic carpet ride through the world of The Dharma Wheel,” Miller continues. “In pursuing that I think we also managed to make a record that has a lot of joy in it: the joy of playing music, the joy of experiencing music, the joy of storytelling and poetry, the kind of singular joy and extended ecstatic moment that only a real ‘band’ can express in just that way.”
And it’s this joy, this exuberance and dedication to the lines of cosmic expression — all centred in the exalted art of the everyday — that constructs the heart of the record. At its core, The Dharma Wheel is the triumph of a working band, a transmission from a never-paused before arriving for our strange, bruised, spectacular now.
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Nominated 'Best Independent Retailer' at the Music Week Awards in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Nominated "Indie Champions" at the 2015 AIM Awards.