The Subterranean Howl
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The Subterranean Howl

Band Pop Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Album Review"

Usually, some of the better music you find catches you during your most unexpected self. This is typically when you've heard enough music to sustain you for a year and you are simply putting on "the next album." I don't know about you all out there but sometimes my ears just beg for a break. Nonetheless, music is the finest form of art and along with it we chug on—through our routine, challenging and sometimes punishing lives—we chug on. So you pop on that next album and wait to see what happens.

Recovering from a harsh bacterial infection, doubly recovering from a tolling weekend in Austin at a wonderful festival and wrestling with life in it of itself, I was greeted with The Subterranean Howl's debut album. I didn't know what to expect and it was one of those albums that I found through chance in response to an e-mail I had been sent. "Annoying Intro" is exactly what it says it is, an irritating crescendo of grating sounds; but it's after all of this that I quickly realized to myself just how great of a debut this is.

Now, these choice encounters are not only hard to come by but they seldom occur. Urban Jack's resonating and powerful voice is what really got me interested in what I could find in Cover Your Ears (And Close Your Eyes). This is a fine album and one that—as far as debuts go—is one of the better ones I have heard throughout the entire year. By the time you get to the epic closer, "Antebellum," the band has taken you through a tour de force of terrific music with equal highs and shining moments.

When you're a band with a deep history like these guys, you're bound to create some powerful music together. The subject matter on this album covers a lot of the darker material found under the sun and Jack doesn't stray away from discussing everything from lynchings to religious persecutions to death to mortality itself. But what makes this all a success is the band's charming and endearing music as they flex all of their musical chops.

"An Erasable Man" is easily one of the best songs for various reasons: Jack channels his inner Win Butler, the guitars possess that gritty, sparkling sound and the music is downright dazzling. Tethering between utter sublime and toe-tapping joy, it all adds up as one outstanding pop gem. Later on the line comes "To the Moon" and if there was one song that recalled everything Arcade Fire is, it's this one. Supported by a driving acoustic effort, Jack and special guest, Danielle Purdy's vocals are what really make this an engaging song.

After so many listens, there is one admission to make and that is that it's just too long. Fifteen songs and just a hair under an hour long is too much for even a serious music fan to stomach. But here's the tradeoff: the album is stacked with great song after great song. So it may be too long but so what, it's just that much more to dig in to. Whether it's something like the bouncy and radio-ready "The Shore," "Little Man" and its Springsteen-esque shuffle, or the synth-heavy and falsetto-sung "Alpenglow," all of these scattered sounds work in the album's sonic scope.

It's the kind of album that will catch you off guard and given an honest opportunity, will latch on to you. Through their rough journey, The Subterranean Howl have gone through many changes and it's something they don't even really want to discuss but it sounds like they have found their fit. And with an album full of great ideas, hummable hooks, rhythmic skill and an overall aesthetic expression, the sky is the limit.

-Bryan Sanchez
10/10/08 -

"Album review"

Cover Your Ears (And Close Your Eyes) is a solid effort from Portland's the Subterranean Howl (formerly Skeletor Mojo). Much of the album is reminiscent of Wolf Parade's dancier numbers, were that band fronted by a young Fred Cole (of Dead Moon fame). I can't guarantee that the band's formidable studio prowess will translate into a good live show, but the Howl certainly has me hooked enough to venture out and see for myself.

-Casey Jarman - Willamette Week

"The Subterranean Howl"

Infusing traditional garage rock melodies with gritty electro-punk, the Subterranean Howl have conveniently placed themselves in uncharted Portland music territory. Fronted by Simon Milliman, whose vocals toe the line between Win Butler and Spencer Krug, the band has recently emerged as a formidable ensemble—swiftly changing tone and pace as they deem fit. Like the beat writers from which their name borrows, the Subterranean Howl leave style as an afterthought and spontaneously create music that is both catchy and surprisingly fresh.

- PHILIP GAUDETTE - Portland Mercury

"When Literature and Music Collide"

Literary nerds will spot the beatnik shout-out pretty quickly when they here the name The Subterranean Howl. The band’s core songwriter Simon Milliman is an avid reader and designed the name that way. Listeners can hear a host of other references as they take in the diverse sounds of the Portland-based band.
Milliman is joined by Clinton Christenson, Lauren Smith, Phil France, Anthony Frey and Bryan Daste to round out the band’s lineup. Together, they have been throwing together an array of styles to create something that could be referred to as unique in a somewhat homogeneous indie realm.
Milliman and Smith were kind enough to sit down and help Portland come to know The Subterranean Howl.

Daily Vanguard: How did the band get together?
Simon Milliman: The Subterranean Howl released an album and did some shows in 2008, but really didn't start moving until January of 2009 after revamping the lineup. [I] conned Clinton into joining one of his bands back in 2005, and together they have been conning other friends to join and leave their bands ever since. Phil is Clinton's old schoolmate and Lauren his former girlfriend.
Lauren Smith: I recently joined the band around October of last year. I am one of the newer bandmates … Phil, who was in the band, had to leave and move to Alaska, and they needed someone to fill in for the shows. I played that one show and then they asked if I wanted to stay with the band. Phil ended up coming back and joined as a guitarist.

DV: What is the story behind the name? Is there a reference to the beat generation with Allen Ginsberg's Howl and Jack Kerouac's The Subterraneans?
SM: Both are correct. [I am] a big fan of both. Some band members wanted the name to be funny, others very serious. In the end, [I] liked the versatility of The Subterranean Howl and its appeal to those who read books, that it could have social, political and spiritual connotations or that it could simply be a fairly accurate description of the band's sonic aesthetic.

DV: How would you describe the music of The Subterranean Howl?
LS: I think we have a lot of different styles. Some of our music is really poppy and energetic, and some is almost eerie. I’ve never really heard this kind of music before. It’s really hard for me to put definition to it. Certain bands, they have one sound, and they play the same style. I feel that we don’t.

DV: How does the songwriting process go? Is there a main songwriter or is it a collaborative effort?
SM: Everyone is encouraged to bring ideas to the table, but so far [I have] written all of the music the band performs. The final creations are always very mutated forms of [my] original ideas, and that is due to the rest of the band's creativity, which [I] rely on heavily.

DV: Any future plans on recording?
SM: We're entering the studio in August and planning for an October release of the new album, The Tyranny of the Visual. Hopefully all of the same people will be involved in the production as well as beloved friends such as Jeremy Wilson, who will record the drums for us at Mastan Music Studios.
- The Daily Vanguard


Cover Your Ears (and Close Your Eyes) - Full album available on CD Baby.



The Subterranean Howl released its first full length album in Oct. 2008. This album met with great local and national reviews for the creative and soulful approach to songwriting and the beautiful musicianship displayed by the band. Perhaps the band's favorite comparison has been to a mix of Arcade Fire and Block Party drunk on basement Bruce Springsteen. Recorded as live as possible, the band wanted to get as much of their live energy into their album as possible. Ironically enough, some reviews showed hesitation that the band could pull off their studio performances in a live situation. The result is that the band worked harder and harder to be the best live show around resulting in performances that not only live up to the recordings but surpass them in every way.

In May, 2010 The Subterranean Howl released their second full length album, "The Tyranny of the Visual." For this album, rather than have someone else record their music for them, the band decided to build their own studio and gain complete control of the creative process. The result is a surprisingly polished album full of sonic surprises. In "Tyranny," TSH refines both their dance ready pop styles as well as their epic rock anthems in which lead vocalist, Simon Milliman talks about sunken cities, kids at funerals, ugly lovers, materialism and going insane. Literary references once again abound in this album as they did in Cover Your Ears (and Close Your Eyes). The music is smart, fun and unpredictable.