Howler is a band from Minnesota whose singer loves The Replacements. But the fact that those '80s pioneers of college rock were also from Minnesota doesn't mean that singer Jordan Gatesmith heard them on the radio when he was a kid.
"I discovered them because my best friend growing up, his little brother was best friends with ['Mats singer] Paul Westerberg's son," says Gatesmith.
Howler's debut, "America Give Up" shares that don't-give-a-damn ragged approach to rock that made their home-town predecessors unique. There's also a touch of Jesus and Mary Chain and Strokes cool-guy-in-a-leather-jacket delivery, but what makes the band original is Gatesmith's fun approach to lyrics.
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On "Back of Your Neck," he sings, "You think we're Bonnie and Clyde, but both of them f--ing died."
“I’m a geek,” he says with casual self-deprecation “I am sort of literary. I read a lot.”
He’s quick to clarify.
“I’m not saying that I’m an intellectual by any means, but,” he says, “I love words.”
Maybe this is what drew Gatesmith to The Replacements, whose singer had a way with the turn of a phrase, but were known more for their boozing than their musing. Paul Westerberg was also known for liking a lot of music that his bandmates weren’t into.
“I’m the only one in the band that likes The Replacements,” says Gatesmith. “Everybody else in the band f—ing hates them. They think that they’re dad music.”