Angela Perley and the Howlin’ Moons adhere to and subvert traditions
Nowadays music has to be extra special to retain interest. Whether it be due to there being so much music out there, the new market for singles, or even the short attention spans spawned by video games, listeners make up their minds quickly. In some ways, this is a good thing, as it has put some pep back in music that could have been downright boring before. In other ways, it is a bad thing, as newer songs can sometimes be more about hook and catchiness, so that there is little time for dramatic buildup and even emotional investment. However, one could say that the country genre nowadays often seems to favor superstar pop-artists, and one can also admit that it has lost a lot of original flavor and a great amount of heart and soul. Angela Perley and the Howlin’ Moons, however, is one such band that plays country, but don’t let that turn you off.
“When people ask what we play, we usually don’t say country,” explained front woman Angela Perley. “As when people think of country nowadays they think of modern country, not the old country which was close to blues: the roots of rock n’ roll.”
Perley went on to describe that when they play in larger cities, they often have people come up to them saying that they hate country, but that they love the Howlin’ Moons.
They say, “You’re not country, but you are,” Perley said while laughing, adding, “Whether it be Americana or alt-country, you often see bands mix the genre with other styles nowadays. I think it naturally happens.”
So what also makes this band different? Well, one listen and you will agree they have got a lot of energy and spunk. This is apparent in their album and especially their live show, as Perley claims.
“A lot of our music is pretty upbeat. It’s more exciting,” she said. “It comes with playing at bars and causing people to dance and have fun.”
Perley says she gets her influences from the artists of yesteryear, such as Patsy Cline, Woody Guthrie and Billie Holiday.
“I like the simple lyrics and the way they sing from the heart,” she said.
When asked what she thinks her influences would do if they heard her band, she gave an admirable answer and it seems like you can hear her omnipresent sweet smile through her answer.
“I think they would like it, drink a couple of beers and dance to it,” said Perley.
Later, when asked why she thinks that the country genre has been dominated by more pop-oriented artists, than say, Johnny Cash, she gave a pretty accurate response.
“I think it was to do with the changing culture and the media pushed county into this sort of pop due to money and music videos. It was trying to keep with the times,” Perley explained. “However, there are so many really good current country bands on the festival circuit. You just have to dig for them.”
Angela Perley and the Howlin’ Moons just released the last of their four-part EP series and are beginning to record an album. Perley admits that she was new to the situation of playing with a full band, so releasing the EP series helped evolve the band more easily.
“It has shown our growth a lot better than if we had started with a full length would have,” Perley said.
Adding that the title of their newest EP, Nowhere is Now Here, best describes the band, Perley looks forward to the future.
“Nowhere is Now Here means we have sounded the most like we have wanted to so far,” she said. “We may be in limbo now wondering what is next, but we will continue to work so more success will come.”
While she describes her songs as a mixture of upbeat tempo and having fun, she says that with some songs such as “18 Feet Under,” the band sneaks in creepy lyrics and it gives the songs some sadness. She notes that she also likes to create polar opposite feelings and tones, as well. However, she wants the listener to be eager about the future of Angela Perley and the Howlin’ Moons.
“When they hear us, I want them to see our growth. The EP series leaves the door open and gets them to wonder what we are going to do next.”
Angela Perley and the Howlin’ Moons will perform on Friday, Jan. 18 at the Trolley Stop, 530 E. Fifth St. Doors at 9 p.m. Admission is $5 for 21 & up. For more information, visit angelaperleyandthehowlinmoons.tumblr.com.
Reach DCP freelance writer Nick Schwab at NickSchwab@daytoncitypaper.com