Album Review :: Jason Cruz and Howl :: LoungeCore

If you have been following the CC2K music section you will probably have noted that Strung Out is one of my favorite bands of all time and also, that I loved the Darlings latest release. With that, I introduce you to Jason Cruz and Howl, a collaborative side project of Jason Cruz of Strung Out and Buddy Darling of The Darlings. Knowing the musical style of both bands, I thought I had a vague idea of what LoungCore would sound like. But, man, was I wrong.

The press release described the style/sound as akin to the Spaghetti Western. Okay, so now I was more than intrigued to finally hear this EP. Sometime expectations only lead to let downs, but I am so excited to say that I really loved what I heard. It is a sound that lies somewhere between old school bar rock and western (not to ever be confused with country).

The first track, Blue Jesus, totally has that twangy kitschy western feel to it. It puts the listener is a good mood and leaves you kinda wanting to see a showdown at high noon. The second track, Spahn Ranch, (you know, the locale made famous first by providing the outdoor shots in westerns, then for being the home to the Manson family), has a more serious melancholy tone. When They Finally Get Me is more a straight forward western rock track and The Lonesome Grave of Celia Brown is a ballad fully of small moments of pure emotion.

This EP was a breath of fresh air to me, the sound was unexpected, fresh, and not trying to impress anyone. The vibe of the record is one of these musicians doing whatever the hell they wanted to and I for one, enjoyed the hell out of it.

Jason Cruz and Howl’s LoungeCore is out now on Cruz’s label Echotone Records.

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