Concert Review: The Howlin' Thurstons at Lakeside Lounge, NYC 12/4/08

December 5, 2008

The Howlin' Thurstons are our kind of band, and it's obvious their fans love them. And they should: this band is fun, funny and really good. They've been playing Lakeside Lounge off and on since 2001, maybe before then, and pretty much nowhere else. From the looks of it, they're in this strictly for fun, and that comes across bigtime in their fiery, clever, imaginative instrumentals. Last night, they got the world's #1 surf music impresario Unsteady Freddy dancing in his chair, smiling and taking lots of photos, which in the world of instrumental rock is pretty high praise. With their two guitars and rhythm section, the most obvious comparison is Link Wray , and like the one-lunged indian they like to push the envelope a bit: you could call them a surf band, surf punk maybe, but there's a distinctively original, noisy, playful edge to everything they do. Half the time it seems they're messing with your ears, to see if you're paying attention, if you got that clever quote or little musical joke or if they just threw it past you, high and inside.

One of their early songs sounded something like Firewater playing Hawaii 5-0, with a furious, noisy solo from the A train guy (band members each have their own individual New York City subway t-shirts: the Telecaster player reps the A, his counterpart - on what looked like a vintage Epiphone like the one Robert Smith used to play - takes the 1; the drummer, the 7 and - it was hard to see from behind the Ms. Pac Man game - it looks like the bassist is on the 6). They followed that with a galloping, chromatically-charged minor-key one with some nasty, searing solos from the 1 train guy. Their version of Apache was eerie, pounding, sarcastic and absolutely killer, like what the Dead Kennedys might have done with it. The song that followed might have been a cover of Thriller by Michael Jackson (did they steal that from Chicha Libre ?), winding up with an offhandly amusing quote from Strangers in the Night. And then the bass player got the opening hook from Billy Jean going, which the crowd loved. What was funniest about it was how deadpan the band delivered it, as if it was just another surf song that everybody knows. The best of their originals were Dick Marmalade, Private Eye, a detective theme as Link Wray might have amped it up, and Road Rage, a simple hotrod instrumental that the Tele player ended with a nasty pickslide. Obviously, these are smart musicians who really know their stuff, but they do it so effortlessly and guilelessly that it's impossible to resist smiling and nodding along with it. See for yourself the next time they play, at Lakeside most likely. Reviewed by Buster

Rockin` their way through the Club scene of New York since 1999, is this 4 piece Garage/Surf Punk outfit, The Howlin` Thurstons , totally intent in bringing their form of Rock n` Roll into the 21st century!

This CD is their first demo and it's an intense guitar & Garage surf for the next 15 minutes or more, echoes of Link Wray , The Cramps , The Sonics even a tint of MC5 , shine through these stompers from start to finish.

First up on the player is the energetic guitar Garage trash a go go 60`s vibed instro, " Knucklewalk ", wow! top introduction to the Howlin` Thurstons !, following up is the garaged up surf instro, " Out Of Limits ", Sci-Fi cum Spy Movie intro?, next up it's a cool cover of Link Wray's , " Guitar Cha Cha ", full of bump n` grind and plenty of reverb! last but not least its, " Diamond Head ", another surf rock instrumental, foot tappin, head noddin` aplenty! A cheeky little number and one of those spot the riff tunes! Great end to the proceedings.

4 tracks jam packed full of raw garage power and ready to be unleashed to the world! Get on their website give them a call, they'll soon know the world is listening! and boy are we listening!!!!

"This four piece instrumental band from the Big Apple knows how to create big sound. Their four song demo includes both totally original, upbeat songs (Out of Limits my first choice) along with twisting familiar melodies into a unique blend of their own (Song #4, Diamond Head, taking parts of "Smoke on the Water" and "Sunshine of Your Love").

This is the type of music you play to get your heart pumping, to catch a break from the rigors of life. Musically this band has it together. The recording is tight, with a sound scoping the realms of surf, garage and punk. If you like instrumental bands and want something fresh, then check out The Howlin' Thurstons."

Is too much garage rock never enough? Like your music without those pesky words or vocals? Wish every guitarist played as violently as Link Wray? Always think that Dick Dale didn't use enough distortion? Do you enjoy listening to Henry Mancini at ear-splitting volumes? If you're discerning enough to answer affirmatively, then be sure not to miss the upcoming shows from The Howlin' Thurstons.

Artists Unite Review of Concert at Bennet Park 7/20/2004

The Howlin’ Thurstons is an instrumental garage-rock band with a sound that has been described as “Link Wray meets Henry Mancini. . . for a knife fight”. Their unique arrangements of such surf standards as “Diamondhead,” and “Out of Limits” and “Apache” are not so much charmingly retro as they are dangerously modern. These covers coupled with the guitar-driven mayhem of original compositions such as “Knucklewalk,” “Called on the Carpet,” and “Road Rage,” have won The Howlin’ Thurstons a growing acclaim among radio DJ’s from as far away as, Australia, Canada, Scotland, and Brazil.

Howlin' Thurstons at CBGB

“Punk surf with some Jimi & Jazz thrown in!!…Only (The Howlin’ Thurstons) can drop a Sinatra line in a surf tune…These guys are tight
& cool…Music with a sense of humor…
You gotta love it!”

---Excerpts from The Fender Forum 9/25/02”

Phil Dirt at Reverb Central Reviews the Howlin' Thurstons
Click to read reviews at Reverb Central
The Howlin' Thurstons
Label: Howlin' Thurstons
CD-R Demo
This is the first demo from New York's intense guitar experience, the Howlin' Thurstons. Heavily Link Wray influenced, east coast edgy, and original arrangements.
A whole CD should be cool!
Knucklewalk, Out Of Limits,
Guitar Cha Cha, Diamond Head

"Knucklewalk" (Howlin' Thurstons original song)
Grindy chunka chunka with a very regular meter and a one-note lead,
aside from the bridge. makin' the most of minimal elements like idol Link Wray, the Howlin' Thurstons edge their way through this thick and intense track.
Rock Instrumental Stereo

"Out Of Limits"
Rising to a loud and intense string-slide and whammy driven intro, then the Howlin' Thurstons make the Mar-Kets' "Out Of Limits" into a power garage assault. Thick and nasty in an east coast kinda way. This is easily the most original cover of this song out there.
Surf Rock Instrumental Stereo

"Diamond Head"
Never has "Diamond Head" been so grodied and nastied out. Intense guitar drive and a sandpaper edge. Borrowed lines from "Smoke On the Water" to " Sunshine Of Your Love" add humor to the track. Most unusual!
Surf Rock Instrumental Stereo