It's happening again; rock music is resurfacing, and this time, injected with a modern dose of funk, psychedelia, and blues. The front-runners and benefactors to this rivetting movement, with gripping electric guitars, fist gesturing drums, and weaving bass-lines, are a scintillating three-piece trio called, The Blood Moon Howlers, from the heart of Los Angeles.
It's this combination of sonics and hot-blooded temperament that's left an enchanting spell on listeners since their debut in 2017. In the following years, their musical catalog would grow with the release of "Moonlighters" and "Tilted Patrons," and with those hits, their upward trajectory wouldn't stop there. Early this year, they were called upon to perform on Burning Man's inauguratory live stream, and it's made this promising band stand out like a boon from the hierarchy of modern musicology, come to make a mark on the world of lysergic funk-rock music.
Their latest single to reach salivating fans feels like it came from a clandestine songbook, divulging the tale of a promiscuous woman who isn't afraid of flaunting her salacious motives in "At The Barrel 33 (Mess Around)." It's another testament to the doyens of potent vibrations and gyrating groove that this trio has become with their own trade-mark aesthetics.
Recorded at the notorious Black Pearl Studio and Ironwood Recorders, "At The Barrel 33 (Mess Around)" brings forth an amalgamation of smooth strutting sonics. It renders-up like you're moving through a hazy back-room lounge, where a psychedelic band led by a female swoonster regulates the magnetized particles diffusing from the super-charged air they're performing within, for a bid at captivating your soul with their mouthwatering incantations.
Opening up with a swelling discharge that quickly settles into their smooth-sliding macrocosm of psychedelia and funk, JuJu (on vocals, bass, and keys) takes the limelight with her interpretation of the licentious woman she embodies in her lyrics: "If you're looking for the champagne, it's not on his lips, your Indian summer's all over me." She versifies with an infatuating tonality and a subtle tail of reverberation, hugging her from behind like a silk-woven robe clutching the skin. At the same time, Brandon Cooke lays into the pocket with a grooving beat, fixed by the meticulous attention to his ghost notes on the snare drum, and it makes your most lethargic limbs start to roll. Matt Wayne isn't far-off in the realm of audible bewitchment, corralling over the steady saturation of JuJu's bass-line and warming keys with his pristine sense of stroke over an amorphous electric guitar riff. When the two-minute mark hits, and Matt takes command over the track with his tasteful application of bluesy guitar solo refrains, it's like getting sucked deeper into your headphones from an invisible vacuuming void, landing you in a symphonious arrangement of soft-tethered vocal harmonies that utterly articulate like ecstasy. The trio venture from verse to pre-chorus, and hook, like a troop of troubadours, festooned with a modern dose of sass and an injection of dopamine for some added pleasure.
By the time the final lines situate themselves on your heart-strings for the last time with their captivating hook "let them say what they're gonna say, aren't we just here to mess around, gonna mess around," it's virtually impossible not to recognize why listeners have been salivating over the novel approach The Blood Moon Howlers have been delivering since 2017. And on "At The Barrel 33 (Mess Around)," they sound more influential than ever.
Hello Blood Moon Howlers and a warm welcome back to BuzzMusic. Can you run us through how "At The Barrel 33 (Mess Around)" come to fruition? What was the inspiration for the narrative, instrumentation, and aesthetic here?
Matt Wayne came up with the original concept for the lyrical aspect of the song and JuJu and Matt talked about it for a long time trading ideas back and forth about the story, character, and perspectives writing the lyrics together. All the while the music came about one night while Matt and JuJu were jammin' in their studio when JuJu came up with the bass line. They recorded their parts in their studio, Black Pearl Studio, and took it to Brandon where he added his drums parts and percussion and mixed the tune at his studio, Ironwood Recorders. Further, into instrumentation, Matt Wayne was messing around with a combination of a couple of pedals and came up with the unique and dreamy escalating sound you hear in the very beginning.
What were the primary emotions you found yourself tuning into for the performances you've captured on "At The Barrel 33 (Mess Around)?" How do those sentiments differ from some of your past musical endeavors?
With every song, we write we strive to have a unique character within the vocal performance that connects to the lyrics. We look at different perspectives of the story and dive as deep as we can. This song is written from a very real raw place so, with the chorus, we wrote a lyric with a very different perspective to contrast and inspire.
How did it feel recording at Black Pearl Studio and Ironwood Recorders and working with legendary Mastering Engineer Hans Dekline for "At The Barrel 33 (Mess Around)?" Do you think this track would have had the same impact if it wasn't for the team you collocated for "At The Barrel 33 (Mess Around)?"
We love working in our own studios, it allows us the space to get weird and try as many different ideas as we want to without worrying about time or someone trying to rush us along. As far as working with Hans DeKline, we have been working with him for a while, he’s been mastering our music since the beginning of The Blood Moon Howlers and we think his work is incredible. We’re always thankful to have him be a part of our team. You are the people you surround yourself with, and we always are grateful and proud of our crew.
If you could give your listeners few words that would act as the prologue for the experience and intention you set out for "At The Barrel 33 (Mess Around)," what would you feel the need to say, and why?
“At The Barrel 33 (Mess Around)” is a sex-positive song telling the tantalizing tale of a woman with many lovers talking about role-playing, ruby red lipstick, scarlet silk, pearls, and no walk of shame here, posing the question “Aren’t we just here to mess around?” This tune will make you want to ditch Netflix and just chill with headphones and a glass of champagne letting your provocative side run wild!
What has been keeping you inspired in 2020?
With the pandemic and quarantine etc, not being able to do very much, having to cancel tours and most of our original plans we had for this year, it has given us the opportunity to step outside our comfort zone and come up with ideas to stay creative and push forward in new ways. We’ve had a lot of time to think and reflect, honing in on aspects of ourselves and our music that we didn’t give ourselves the time for before this year.