Continuing the lineage of fuzzed-out guitar pop bands that stretches from the Ramones to the Strokes and the Drums, Minneapolis' Howler is the brainchild of vocalist/guitarist Jordan Gatesmith. Before forming the band, Gatesmith was a fixture of the city's music scene, playing in bands as diverse as Gay Animals' noise-rock to the folky indie pop of Total Babe. However, it wasn't until he wrote what became Howler's first song, "This One's Different," at age 17 that he felt he was making music that was authentic. Gatesmith continued writing in this vein and hooked up with guitarist Ian Nygaard, bassist France Camp, keyboardist Max Petrek, and drummer Brent Mayes, completing Howler's full-band lineup. The group released its debut EP, This One's Different, in 2011; that year, a journalist who had interviewed Rough Trade founder Geoff Travis about the 10th anniversary of the Strokes' debut album Is This It? sent a copy of Howler's demo to Travis, who signed them to the label. Howler continued to earn buzz in the U.K., touring with the Vaccines and being named one of NME's best new bands of 2011 as well as one of their Top 100 bands of 2012. In January of that year, the band's debut album America Give Up, was released. Later that year, Camp departed Howler to work on his own music. As the band began writing songs in earnest for their second album in 2013, they added a new drummer, Rory MacMurdo, to the fold. Working with America Give Up producer Chris Heidman, Howler drew inspiration from the Replacements, the Smiths, Hüsker Dü and Thin Lizzy on 2014's eclectic-yet-scrappy World of Joy.
~ Heather Phares