Angela Perley & the Howlin' Moons have been digging up quite a bit of attention since the 2013 release of their EP, Nowhere Is Now Here. The debut full-length, Hey Kid, followed a year later and made music fans and critics take notice.
Now, the Columbus, Ohio-based Perley (vocals, guitar, musical saw) and her backing band — lead guitarist Chris Connor, bassist Billy Zehnal and a rotating stable of drummers — are hoping to strike gold with their latest record, Homemade Vision, released last week on Columbus label Vital Music USA.
“I think that when we put out our debut album, people started to take us more seriously as a band,” Perley explains over the phone from her Ohio home days before setting out on the band’s upcoming tour. “Albums take a lot of work and time, so that was a big step for us and that opened up some new doors with touring and radio play.
“Our shows have been more exciting and more people have been coming out, which has been wonderful.”
Perley says the band’s relationship with Vital has been beneficial because there is less of an emphasis on record sales and more of an attempt to “nourish and push us as artists.”
It’s hard to pigeonhole the sound of the Howlin' Moons or tie them to a particular genre. On one hand, Perley possesses the haunting vocal style of Patsy Cline, while musically the band has a swagger like the Rolling Stones, circa “Honky Tonk Woman,” and the punk aggression of Joan Jett.
“We don’t mind that it’s difficult to put our sound into a specific category,” Perley says. “It’s nice because we can surprise some people and it keeps our crowd diverse. As the band has evolved and we’ve become more comfortable with one another, our sound has definitely become a cocktail of everyone’s influences.”
The band will be promoting the new record Jan. 29 at the Pittsburgh Winery in the Strip. Perley says the Howlin’ Moons are still “newbies to Pittsburgh and … we are hoping to change that and make it more of a regular stop.”
As with any artist with a new record, Perley says the band is eager to get out on the road see how the new songs are received. Those songs continue to evolve even after they’re recorded, and the live setting is the perfect place for Perley and company to let these new tracks grow and breathe.
“We just started playing the new songs off the album so it feels like scratching an itch and has been a complete thrill,” she says. “We are looking forward to see how the new songs will develop over time live, because we always end up pushing and extending songs once we have them down.”