Sunday Culture: 
HOUNDMOUTH

It was the kind of night where you’re already in bed at 9PM. While I was trying to focus on an episode of Shameless, I suddenly got distracted by the music playing in the scene. The song was so good, that I had to pause everything to find the band behind it. One session of Shazam later and I was finally in possession of the name of my new musical crush: Houndmouth.

           —By Marie-Ève Venne

HoundMouth Courtesy of Warner Brothers

Many bands struggle to find even one single good singer. Houndmouth is lucky enough to have three. Guitarist Matt Myers, bassist Zak Appleby and drummer Shane Cody currently share vocal duties, but the band’s two albums — 2013’s From the Hills Below the City and 2015’s Little Neon Limelight — also featured the stellar work of former keyboardist Katie Toupin. Toupin amicably left Houndmouth in 2016 but the remaining members have kept at it, adding saxophones and sharpening their sound.

Houndmouth officially formed in 2011 in New Albany, Ind., a small city of about 35,000 just across the Ohio River from Louisville, Ky. Cody, Appleby, singer/guitarist Matt Myers and keyboardist/singer Katie Toupin were newly minted adults, friends with limited recording experience but a love for rock-and-roll and each other.

A swaggering SXSW set led to a deal with Rough Trade, and Houndmouth’s 2012 four-song debut EP immediately threw the band into the burgeoning Americana scene alongside The Lumineers, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Avett Brothers, The Head and the Heart and many others.

HoundMouth Press Photo

In 2013, they released From the Hills Below the City, cementing Houndmouth’s well-worn but utterly infectious style: meandering folk-blues, boozy harmonies and swaying percussion under lyrics about penitentiaries, trains, postcards, coal-mining towns and being broke. The quartet wasn’t hopping train cars, but the aesthetic stuck its landing. With the release of 2015’s Little Neon Limelight, Houndmouth had a bona-fide hit: the gorgeously slow-burning “Sedona,” a song so married to the band’s yesteryear, vagabond conceit that the sound of howling wind can be heard in its intro.

With their album Golden Age released in 2018, Houndmouth decided to discard a past life of folk-rock tinged tracks and experienced what can only be described as an inspirational rebirth into the world of pop-synth meets indie-soul music. This is the album that finally showcased their range and technical abilities. This 10-track release brought to their audience a different sound, leaving a lasting impression with fans, old and new.

It is the album that I play on a loop, patiently waiting for the next one. And knowing Houndmouth, it could certainly be a jazz album or, why not, a country one.

 

 

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Written on: August 30, 2020