Popdose has been listening to Homemade Vision, the second album by Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons, nearly round the clock for the past month. Spin after spin, the Michael Landolt-produced rocket ride soars higher onto my eventual Best Albums of 2016 list (their previous album, Hey Kid, landed high in my 2014 round-up). Thankfully, you don’t need to wait a year to hear my fancy pants aging hipster music critic review of it, take control and Rock & Roll right now.
Stream it below — for a limited time — to give yourself a taste and then pick it up on iTunes or Amazon (digital). Want a CD? You should, I’m an old school (circa 1985), high fidelity guy myself. Get it direct from Angela’s store right here.
While it’s easy to get lost in her midnight eyes or swoon over her signature vintage dresses and hats, don’t for a minute think this is a one woman show. Chris Connor (lead guitar), Billy Zehnal (bass) and a Spinal Tap’ian rotation of drummers help Perley deliver the goods on record and on stage during their barn burner live shows.
At the Midnight hour on the eve of the album’s release, POPDOSE caught up with Angela Perley to discuss how the new record came together — but first, I had to gush a bit like a total fanboy…
I totally dig your style. It’s vintage, modern, Rock & Roll and romantic all rolled into a ball of fire. Do you hit thrifts and boutiques (at home or on the road) for your signature look or go custom made?
ANGELA PERLEY: Thank you so much! The guys laugh at me because I am always searching for local thrift and vintage stores in different towns and recently I’ve gotten into treasure hunting for vintage dresses on Etsy. I haven’t gone down the rabbit hole on custom made garments yet, but if I get some funds rolling in I would love to have some custom hats and jackets made. Fun fact — the radio and mermaids on our album cover are from a vintage store in Columbus called Flower Child — it is one of my favorite downtown vintage shops and the radio and mermaids are in my bathroom.
Did you write Homemade Vision in one burst of creativity or have the songs been rolling around in your head for a while?
After we finished Hey Kid, I began writing new songs in batches of two or three and recorded them on my phone or on my computer to keep them archived until the time came to begin working on Homemade Vision. ”I’ve Been Blue” was originally supposed to be on Hey Kid but it didn’t fit at the time. We reworked that one for Homemade Vision and it just clicked this time.
Did the band road test the material in your live sets prior to hitting the studio with Michael?
We were playing around four of the songs at our shows before we began recording so that made the process pretty smooth on those tunes because we already knew how we wanted them to feel. The arrangements for the rest of the songs came together in the studio and we started playing those songs in December.
I grew up in Ohio, where acts like Donnie Iris and Michael Stanley Band could build huge followings before and after having national hits. What has the reception been as you’ve ventured further and further away from Columbus on the road?
Reception has been great out of state so far and we continue to meet more people every time we return to a new city. I think the internet and streaming services like Spotify have been a huge help to us when we are playing out of state, because a lot of people will come to the shows after they check out our music online.
I’m sure even the Howlin’ Moons must moonlight with a day job to keep the bills paid. In this age of streaming (high visibility, low revenue) is the secret for success becoming a road warrior?
Haha.. I’m not sure if we’ve figured out the secret for success just yet, but right now, being road warriors is treating us fine. Having outside sources of income helps keep pressure off the band so we can take more chances. Being strategic with our touring in order to limit losses has been very important to us as well.
Are there plans to tour Homemade Vision in 2016?
We are doing a lot of Thursday thru Saturday runs and hope to do some longer tours as well in 2016. We would love to go on tour with a bigger band and do some more fests this year. We are itching to do a UK tour too, so hope we can make that happen this year or next.
I could totally see you touring with the Foo Fighters — with Dave popping in to duet in your set! His Sound City documentary was an enlightening look into the recording process in the 70’s through 90’s — is it still the same in the modern age recording in the Buckeye State?
Dave’s “Fresh Pots” turned out to be a big inspiration and provided constant humor to us during the recording process because Fred Blitzer over at Vital and our producer Michael Landolt made us conform to non- music like hours and record in the mornings a lot during the week days. (Laughs) It was rough but filled with fresh pots of great coffee.
Did you recite “fresh pots” over and over as your manta?
No, but I found out that a repetitive phrase I say often is “Ooooh Yeah.” Another common phrase in the band is “Where’s Billy?” because our bass player Billy often finds a ways to disappear/wander when we are on the road.
Need another fresh cup of Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons? Check out two of the ace tracks from Hey Kid. Two years and 10,000 spins (give or take) later, it keeps getting mind-blowingly more and more awesome…
Connect with Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons on facebook.