12 O'Clock Track: Howlin' Rain, "Phantom in the Valley" | Bleader

12 O'Clock Track: Howlin' Rain, "Phantom in the Valley"

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Ethan Miller's previous outfit, the very sorely missed Comets on Fire, always had blues and soul coursing through its busy, psych-heavy grooves. But probably thanks in part to guitarist Ben Chasny (also of Six Organs of Admittance) and his infinite talent for the "out there," the melody was often shrouded in Echoplex madness and messes of noise—not that there was anything wrong with that. Not at all.

Now fronting Howlin' Rain, Miller is focusing on the soul of classic rock, using psychedelia as more of a flourish. On Valentine's Day, the San Fran band releases its third full-length, The Russian Wilds, on Rick Rubin's American Recordings. The album's first single and today's 12 O'Clock Track, the seven-minute "Phantom in the Valley," wears its Springsteen and Hendrix influences with pride. The about-face jam that happens just over halfway through and rolls to the end is easily the song's best feature.

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