Don Howland Endgame LP
Punk-blues solo record from this long-standing member of the BASSHOLES. With one foot in the garage and one in a hazy after-hours bar, this collection of lo-fi creepy crawlers builds and maintains an aura of murder ballad dread and Southern gothic menace. “Half Off” brings to mind the MURDER CITY DEVILS with sinister organ casting a spooky shadow over everything. “Party in Hell” evokes the bluesier moments of DEAD MOON with its repeated vocal melody and lived-in atmosphere. “Sleep in Cars” has a snaky guitar lead that slithered out of a swamp to make a guest appearance on this record. “Thank the CIA” is a sing-along anti-authority blast that calls back to vintage fun-not-funny indie jams like “Take the Skinheads Bowling” or “Gimme Indie Rock.” An interesting stand-out is “How Now (Brown Cow),” a Farfisa-led instrumental that sounds like a slow-dance at a hockey rink. Its unhurried melody, repeating structure and heavy organ tone sounds dark, romantic, and classic. If a greasy, smoky blend of punk rock spirit and blues malaise is your jam, Endgame is worth your time.