Rowland S. Howard

Favorite new record? Favorite old record? Got a band? Post it here.
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blacktiger
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Re: Rowland S. Howard

Post by blacktiger » Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:22 am

DrOctagon wrote:Could you guys recommend some listening material of his? Favorite albums and such.

Seeing how much he's respected around here I'm a little embarrassed to not know more about him. I wasn't around in the 80s, I guess that might explain some of it but I'm not sure. I've listened to a little Birthday Party but not much. What I've heard of his I really like and he seemed to influence or be a part of a lot of things I listen to so does anyone know a good place to get started for a relative RHS noob?
The Birthday Party were one of the greatest bands of all time, but they started out as kind of a weak new wave band. After Rowland joined, they got much better, but other than a few tracks (see esp. "The Friend Catcher"), they really didn't hit their stride until Junkyard and they reached perfection on their last two EPs, The Bad Seed and Mutiny!. Rowland's post-BP catalog is a many splendored thing, but it can be hard to get a handle on. For straight rockin' action, I don't think it gets better than These Immortal Souls I'm Never Gonna Die Again. For something a little more refined try Teenage Snuff Film. If you'd like something more akin to the BP, early Crime & The City Solution is the ticket.
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Re: Rowland S. Howard

Post by shadowplay » Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:29 am

blacktiger wrote: For straight rockin' action,
Wouldn't Shotgun Wedding fit better for the straight rocking? A lot of the playing on it is very different than Rowland usual, the guitars are quite glassy (almost whisper it...Cult like), it has big bottomed drums and it shakes it's hips lewdly. Rowland's usually quite buttoned down sexually and on this he certainly straps on the metaphorical rock codpiece.

D
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Re: Rowland S. Howard

Post by blacktiger » Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:35 am

That's the only RSH record I haven't heard in the last few years, and frankly, I don't remember it that well. Although it's a collaboration, I've always thought of that record as more Lydia than Rowland.
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Re: Rowland S. Howard

Post by shadowplay » Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:43 am

blacktiger wrote:That's the only RSH record I haven't heard in the last few years, and frankly, I don't remember it that well. Although it's a collaboration, I've always thought of that record as more Lydia than Rowland.
Maybe but my take on it is that it's a collab that brought him out of himself. Not sure about the Lydia thing, she tends to lack that kind of focus but it's hard to say from the outside. Certainly Jim Thirwells production sets a tone that is very different from most Rowland and Lydia stuff; he rocks more she squawks less. :D What is for certain is that two things Rowland did that stepped out from his very defined aesthetic were Shotgun Wedding and his playing on the AC Marias track I linked too above. Really makes me wonder what he could have done if he had had his health, mentally and physically and folk weren't too nervous to call him and ask to collaborate. I reckon he had more range than folk give him credit for.

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Re: Rowland S. Howard

Post by nrs24985 » Tue Apr 24, 2012 5:08 pm

blacktiger wrote:
DrOctagon wrote:Could you guys recommend some listening material of his? Favorite albums and such.

Seeing how much he's respected around here I'm a little embarrassed to not know more about him. I wasn't around in the 80s, I guess that might explain some of it but I'm not sure. I've listened to a little Birthday Party but not much. What I've heard of his I really like and he seemed to influence or be a part of a lot of things I listen to so does anyone know a good place to get started for a relative RHS noob?
The Birthday Party were one of the greatest bands of all time, but they started out as kind of a weak new wave band. After Rowland joined, they got much better, but other than a few tracks (see esp. "The Friend Catcher"), they really didn't hit their stride until Junkyard and they reached perfection on their last two EPs, The Bad Seed and Mutiny!. Rowland's post-BP catalog is a many splendored thing, but it can be hard to get a handle on. For straight rockin' action, I don't think it gets better than These Immortal Souls I'm Never Gonna Die Again. For something a little more refined try Teenage Snuff Film. If you'd like something more akin to the BP, early Crime & The City Solution is the ticket.
What? No love for Prayers On Fire? I've always preferred Junkyard and Mutiny/Bad Seed, but I'd say that's the album where they hit their stride, in terms of unbridled insanity, that album takes the cake, there's horns, Mick Harvey and Rowland sound they like they are playing different songs at the same time, and Cave's vocals are maniacal. I think that album really set them apart from everything else that was happening at the time.

In terms of Rowland, all the recommendations above are on the money, it is hard to top Teenage Snuff Film, Room of Lights by Crime and the City Solution is also really good, but I don't like Bonney's singing style. The album he did with Nikki Sudden is pretty cool, but not a starting point, likewise the Lydia collaboration. These Immortal Souls I'm Never Gonna Die again is great and a real showcase of Rowland's talent, as much as they were a group, they we Rowland's vehicle. Also worth a mention is the HTRK album Marry Me Tonight, Rowland produced it and played guitar on it, adding his trademark screeches, well worth a listen. It really is a shame that there isn't more solo output that gave Rowland the opportunity to showcase his singing and the dry wit of a lot of his lyrics.

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Re: Rowland S. Howard

Post by DrOctagon » Tue Apr 24, 2012 6:13 pm

Ok great, thanks a lot everyone. I'm going to start with some Birthday Party, the first solo album and maybe that Crime and the City Solution album.

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Re: Rowland S. Howard

Post by andy_tchp » Tue Apr 24, 2012 6:54 pm

Teenage Snuff Film is undoubtedly a great album, but I think Pop Crimes (his final release) is equally great IMNSHO.
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Re: Rowland S. Howard

Post by blacktiger » Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:16 pm

Prayers on Fire is a good record, but owes a bit too much to the Pop Group.
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Re: Rowland S. Howard

Post by FrankRay » Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:05 am

"[Jaguars are] such incredibly idiosyncratic guitars and they're far from perfect, but for some reason it fits me. I used to have a Firebird before I had the Jaguar, but anything else you've seen me holding would have been borrowed for some reason or another. I don't have a spare, so when things go wrong you tend to have to borrow things from support bands, with disastrous results. Particularly in Europe, the support bands can have four or five guitars... and it almost seems to be in direct ratio to how bad they are."

Just for that, he remains my patron saint.

ps Gotta love the link between Pop Group and Birthday Party. Never thought of it that way, since the Birthday Party always seemed to actually know what they were doing....

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Re: Rowland S. Howard

Post by FrankRay » Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:13 am

Sorry; just checked out We Are All Prostitutes again, and I was wrong, obv.

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Re: Rowland S. Howard

Post by blacktiger » Wed Apr 25, 2012 10:43 am

FrankRay wrote:Sorry; just checked out We Are All Prostitutes again, and I was wrong, obv.
According to something I saw a few years ago, that's Nick's favorite song.

Edit: found it.

http://www.nme.com/nme-video/youtube/id/uucx82PfAuY
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Re: Rowland S. Howard

Post by venompstinger » Thu Dec 12, 2019 4:05 pm

nice little art book of Rowland getting a release in oz soon
http://www.haymandesign.com.au/cms-rece ... index.phps

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Re: Rowland S. Howard

Post by higgsblossom » Sun Mar 15, 2020 12:34 am

Reviving this because I know that some of you might be interested in this book Rowland’s brother Harry has published in limited edition:

http://ledatape.net/lto/product/this-gu ... -s-howard/

Very detailed pictures and under-the-hood shots included!
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Re: Rowland S. Howard

Post by timtam » Sun Mar 15, 2020 1:13 am

higgsblossom wrote:
Sun Mar 15, 2020 12:34 am
Reviving this because I know that some of you might be interested in this book Rowland’s brother Harry has published in limited edition:

http://ledatape.net/lto/product/this-gu ... -s-howard/

Very detailed pictures and under-the-hood shots included!
Thanks for posting that. Looks like it was re-wired at some point.

Since we're in the mood again, photographer Peter Milne, who went to high school with Rowland and documented the late 70s/early 80s Melbourne scene, also had a book on that time period published recently ...
https://www.smh.com.au/culture/art-and- ... 545eg.html
Image

I can also recommend Autoluminescent, the doco about Rowland's life ...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autoluminescent

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Re: Rowland S. Howard

Post by sammynb » Sun Mar 15, 2020 3:19 am

Plus for anyone interested both Teenage Snuff Film and Pop Crimes have been re-issued on vinyl and cd.
And Door Door, the Boys Next Door, so basically the first Birthday Party album, is being released as part of this year's record store day (whenever that may be).

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