Minneapolis-based indie rock crew Howler are on a hell of a hot streak.
Howler’s debut album,America Give Up, was released in the first weeks of 2012 to plenty of rave reviews (including one in the Colorado Daily). Before the album ever dropped, NME named Howler the third Best New Band of 2011 and frontman Jordan Gatesmith made the #44 spot on the magazine’s list of 50 Coolest People in 2011.
“That was really weird because at that time I didn’t really know what NME was,” Gatesmith said. “So I was like yeah, whatever. They don’t know me. What do they know about about me?”
Awkward accolades aside, the band has been riding that momentum ever since.
Just days after the record was out, the band was on a five-night tour through New York City, playing packed houses, racking up more positive reviews, and building the buzz.
“The New York run was really great,” Gatesmith said. “That was weird for me because that was the first time we kind of did our own thing in America. They were always packed. We did a Death By Audio (DIY venue) show and that was so much freaking fun.”
From there, it was off to Europe, Tokyo, and Brazil. Maybe most importantly, they headed to the U.K., where they have their strongest fan base.
The U.K. tours are always really kind of crazy,” Gatesmith said. “We’re on a different level there. We’re in the U.K. for a full month doing maybe 18 shows and almost every single one is sold out. They’re really fun, but they get messy.
Now they’re back in the states with an almost daily schedule of coast-to-coast shows running through mid-April. The tour included a whopping 10 shows in Austin for South By Southwest — their first appearance at the festival.
“That was our first time. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into,” Gatesmith said. “It was fun and everything, but it’s not really something I think I’d ever want to do again. I’d much rather go to South By Southwest as a fan and check out the bands. Playing 10 shows in that time period is intense.”
This Saturday, Howler will be in Denver at the hi-dive, most likely blowing the place down with fuzzy guitar riffs, pounding rhythms, and tons of thrash rock attitude. The band has been compared, sonically, to The Strokes, but the sound it very much its own thing. If you’re going to stick with a Strokes comparison, it’s more like if The Strokes adopted a vaguely surf rock style and Julian Casablancas sounded more like Joey Ramone.
After a few more weeks in the U.S., they head back overseas. Luckily, it’s not taking a toll on the band.
“We have at least the rest of forever on the road,” Gatesmith said. “It’s fun. We’re performers. We like to perform. Our job’s pretty freakin’ easy. All you have to do is play the songs a thousand times and it’s muscle memory.”