I'm going to go ahead and safely predict that the Howls might just be the next big thing in San Diego. Their rock and country infusion is the kind of stuff that goes down easy. They've earned comparisons to Wilco, Tom Petty and Ryan Adams, and they've refined nostalgic rock and made it sound young. It seems to be the Southern California sound of the last few years, with bands like Dawes, the Fling and Family Wagon all part of the Americana revival scene.
The Howls -- guitarist/vocalist John Cooper, bassist Caleb Chial, drummer Dave Gargula and guitarist Nik Ewing -- have accomplished quite a bit with just a few EPs to their name and have shared the stage with the likes of Switchfoot, OK GO, Fitz & the Tantrums, Telekinesis, Portugal the Man and others. They've been on regular rotation on stations like 91X and have also received nods from fans like Switchfoot's Jon Foreman -- so you know they're artist-approved.
Their upcoming CD release party at the Casbah features a stacked bill, with erformances by Sara Watkins, Family Wagon, Old Tiger, and Jesse LaMonaca & the Dime Novels. Watkins, of Nickel Creek fame, will be a real treat. Her solo debut in '09 featured the likes of producer/Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, Gilian Welch, Elvis Costello drummer Pete Thomas and others. Her latest record, which was just mixed and mastered earllier this month, features the likes of producer Blake Mills -- slated to come through San Diego at the end of the month with Lucinda Williams -- and help from Dawes, Fiona Apple and Jackson Browne. She also just finished a tour with the Decemberists. Watkins seems to be six degrees from legends in the folk alt-country scene, so her performance is sure to be highly anticipated.
In an interview with fellow SoundDiego contributors Owl & Bear, the Howls cited musical inspiration from the local scene -- "It has been an honor to be able to play with and get to know bands like the Silent Comedy, Blackout Party, Smart Brothers and Dead Feather Moon" -- and from Tolstoy, too: "Good music should be the same thing as good literature. Timeless." They even confessed to their guilty pleasure Ke$ha.
Make sure to get your tickets quick! Is anyone else secretly hoping for a Ke$ha cover?