Besides having some of the best hair of any local band, Total Babe guitarist Jordan Gatesmith's new group Howler also now has one of the best record deals in town. The young Minneapolis quartet has signed with Rough Trade for the U.K. and Europe. A Rough Trade rep reportedly turned up at one of the band's gigs at the Hexagon Bar to check them out live before the signing. Yeah, who knew labels did such stuff anymore? Almost certainly because of that deal, NME.com has also named Howler No. 3 on its list of the 50 best new bands.
The famed indie label that helped break everyone from Lucinda Williams and the Smiths to the Strokes and Libertines, Rough Trade confirms the signing on its website, where it has also posted the video for "I Told You Once." The track -- a knee-slapping, jangly, scrappy rocker reminiscent of the Feelies or Jonathan Richman (both of whom Howler is probably too young to know) -- comes from the group's debut EP, "This One's Different," which was recently issued by local label So-TM. The EP's four other tracks are a little feistier and punkier, with traces of the Strokes, Black Lips and '60s garage-rock. Hear more samples on the band's Myspace page. It's pretty lo-fi and ameteur-ish stuff, but it shows a lot of variety and spunk, so it will be interesting to see what happens when these guys set out to make their full record.
Howler is also now set to get its first big taste of touring this fall on an outing with Tapes 'n Tapes (who also have a new video up on their site, for "Badaboom").