After spending all of 2013 off the grid, England’s favorite Minneapolis band, Howler, went to great heights to unveil new songs and a new drummer Wednesday afternoon. The barely-legal-aged, chop-poppy punk band played an invite-only party on the 12th floor rooftop patio above primo ad agency Carmichael Lynch in downtown Minneapolis, overlooking Target Field and the Warehouse District. Dawes and Trampled by Turtles played the same gig before them as a pitch of sort for song placement in TV ads and other creative marketing areas, according to agency reps.
With only a few "oldies" thrown in ("Back of the Neck," "Beach Sluts"), Howler did a good job selling the new tunes, which sounded more frayed and experimental than the tracks on last year’s Rough Trade release, “”America Give Up.” However, frontman Jordan Gatesmith didn’t fare so well warming up to the advertising bloc.
Introducing the new song, “Yacht Boys,” he smirkingly blurted, “It’s about all of you,” and proceeded to refer to attendees as the “ad party people, wearing your boat shoes.” For the record, it was mostly a hipster crowd in Toms and Converse shoes – no Don Drapers in sight -- so the comments were shrugged off as little more than cute punk-rocky banter.
Gatesmith also gave a shrugging response when I asked before the set if the band’s second album will be ready for release anytime soon. "I can't really say," he said. The quartet -- which also played a house party a few nights earlier -- has only just started recording its second album, and it used these unadvertised gigs to try out songs. No public shows are currently planned, he also said.