Tonight's album release party for local quartet the Howling Winds has been a long time coming for the group's frontman Jorge Rocha. The rasping vocalist has been at it since 2005 when he cut his teeth with folkie acoustic duo Fight Back!
Through the years, his band's sound has morphed with mandolin, upright bass and electric guitar accoutrements. These new instruments, bandmates and a maturing in songwriting approach dramatically shifted his initial concept of low-key, singer-songwriter punk material into the fully plugged-in aggro-folk attack heard on his current Howling Winds project.
Joined by Rich Vasta on upright bass, Tyler Betances on lead guitar and Derek Rosenbauer on the skins, Rocha and company finally have a finished product; The four-piece's debut full length, Pale White Moon, makes it's unveiling this evening at Propaganda.
The album is a challenging one to pigeonhole, and that's a good thing. There are moments the boys go retro and deliver rockabilly-infused greaser rock--as heard on their haunting wistful number "Lost My Head." Then they switch gears by taking stabs at modern rock with angular choppy licks that sound straight from the Strokes' relevant days -- check "Ebersold."
The diversity of this record makes it an entertaining listen from beginning to end. Our only regret is that this album release party didn't happen last week to coincide with our Hurricane Irene scare. How perfect would that have been? Imagine all the traction both the Howling Winds and us could have had from that type of squally concurrence. We need to point too that these guys have one of the most geographically relevant monikers for a local South Florida band.
Getting back on track, here is a sample from the record, it's second track "Finally Free."
The Howling Winds make liberal use of the immediately anthemic "woh oh oh" choruses that work so well on Arcade Fire tunes. Rocha and Rich Vasta channel their inner barbershop choirboy spirit here until Rocha reverts back to his coarse snarky delivery on the remainder of the verses, He ends this number with one of the more rocking mantras we have heard in a while: "When I do die, bury my guitar with me."
The Howling Winds with The Royal Tin Foil and Heist. 9 p.m. Friday, September 2 at Propaganda, 6 S. J St., Lake Worth. Cost is $10 which includes a free copy of CD. Click here.