- Crawling back to you: The Hounds Below
There's a point in many musicians' careers where they embrace the old school: Punks start playing rootsy country; British musicians might explore a Celtic streak; and emcees might go, er ... old-school. Perhaps it's all part of building a personal musical mythology, needing to feel connected, rightly or not, to a tradition older than just the records you grew up on. (This may explain Sting and that whole lute business.)
When you're Jason Stollsteimer, frontman for Detroit garage-revivalists The Von Bondies, you dive into early rock 'n' roll with the fervor of a true believer. The Hounds Below, formed last year, is a showcase for Stollsteimer's surprisingly Orbison-esque croon, backed the underwater guitar of Ben Collins, bassist Molly Jean Schoen and drummer Ben Luckett, and a flexible contingent of keyboard and horn players.
The Hounds played South By Southwest this spring, have toured a bit and plan to release their debut album at the end of the year. (Von Bondies fans needn't worry, though -- that band, now in its 10th year, hasn't hung it up.)
"Our songs are quiet enough that you can hear all the instruments," Stollsteimer told Detroit's The Metro Times, soon after unleashing the Hounds. "Our organist might be hitting four notes, but there are parts where it's just him, and it's beautiful. It's not about having your moment to shine -- it's about making the song shine."
The band's MySpace page has a few songs up, including the single "Heartache vs. Misery," a tale of "another lonely night without you," the paranoid, lovelorn narrator pleading for mercy perhaps not so much from his paramour, but from his own memories. The strutting hook has a bit of a Raveonettes feel, but more densely arranged -- a bit more Traveling Wilburys. It's a pretty stellar song.
Another showpiece is "Crawling Back to You," all barbed-wire guitar, churchly organ and a quavery falsetto that concludes in a coda that conjures The Velvets' "There She Goes Again." "Love's No Longer Here," is more of a belter, and "Two Step" is probably the most stereotypical rockabilly number -- the most self-consciously retro of the bunch.
Howl along with The Hounds Below at Howlers this Sat., Aug. 7.
The Hounds Below with CMGS and The Mt. McKinleys. 10 p.m. Sat., Aug. 7. Howlers Coyote Café, 4509 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. $5. 412-682-0320 or www.howlerscoyotecafe.com