Albums Of The Year So Far (pt.4): Featuring Cory Branan, Springsteen, GravelRoad, Howlin Rain and more…
2. Howlin Rain – The Russian Winds
The other album that soundtracked my journey to Download, I liked The Russian Winds instantly, but mostly because of opener Self Made Man, a hoary insta-classic that sounded like a lost Humble Pie track.
It interested me enormously: here was a band that looked cool, that played with alt.rock bands, to an indie crowd. Not traipsing across the globe trying to seduce dyed-in-the-wool rockers by supporting Slash or Whitesnake or appearing at Download – but still heavier and just plain better than most of the bands that do. Would the rock community be suspicious? Would they embrace them? See beyond the marketing, take the music at face value? The jury’s still out on that one.
Meantime, The Russian Winds‘ rock’n'soul continues to seduce: as well as Self Made Man, the ludicrously titled Cherokee Werewolf is worth a listen – brooding, sweet and soulful. Strange Thunder (on our next cover mount CD) builds to delirious climax, Collage is Floydy dream-pop, and Walking Through Stone is where Dinosaur Jr-meets-Joe Cocker, a stew of overdriven guitars and chest-beating emotion.
Tags: alabama shakes, Bonafide, Bruce Springsteen, Buffalo Killers, Cory Branan, Gary Clark Jr, Ginger Wildheart, Gravelroad, Hat Fitz And Cara, Howlin Rain, jack white, Joe Bonamassa, Joey Ramone, Monster Truck, Phantom Limb, Rival Sons, Shooter jennings, Slash, Smashing Pumpkins, The Cult, The Darkness, ZZ Top