February 25, 2004

Howard Hello "Don't Drink His Blood"

Hello again, Howard Hello!

It seems as if it's been a long time since I last wrote to you. I'm sorry about that. It gets kind of busy around here these days--I'm sure you understand. But I wanted to write to you about a few things that have been circulating in my mind. I've thought a lot about you. I've wondered about how things were going--and if you still remembered me. I worried I was a little too harsh in my last letter, or maybe I was being a little too sarcastic. I wasn't meaning to do so.

I don't know what's up with the title of your new record, Howard. Don't Drink His Blood?? I worried that you'd gone all goth on me, and I was concerned about your health. When I saw the record art--in crayon, I started to think...what's up with Howard Hello? Simple artwork plus odd title must mean that you've gone wrong somewhere, that someone has led you down the primrose path to sinnin'. To be honest, I was a little bit afraid to give this record a spin. I mean, that is a little bit of a scary title. I get afraid easy.

But how you've grown up so! I almost don't recognize you now, and that's a good thing! You've lost a lot of those complex polyrhythms that so many of your 'indie-rock' colleagues get trapped in, and you've replaced them with a healthy serving or two of melody. I'm glad you and melody got together. You two look so good together, and I think she's mellowed you out. Best of all, she's made you more you than you were before. She's given you a healthy dose or two of originality, and no longer can I say, 'oh, Howard Hello sounds like (insert band you've been referred to as sounding like here)' because now you sound just like Howard Hello.

And I like the direction your music's taking! I really, truly dig the gentle, simple children's cartoon-like "My Friend" and its sister song, "The Parasite,"--it's a nice, friendly rhythm; it reminds me of childhood, and "The Parasite" really reminds me of the Rentals. Did you like the Rentals, Howard Hello? I know I did. I didn't care much for that last album of theirs. And who's the girl singing? She sounds really pretty. And this direction towards more accessable pop music? I like it, too. I really liked "Giving Up," too. Have you been listening to Daniel Johnston, too? I hear a little bit of a Big Boy Danny vibe here, too, but it's never too WEIRD, ya know? Just something I noticed.

I'm so happy for you, Howard Hello. You've grown up quite nicely. I like that. I like how you've blended 70s pop and 80s pop together with 90s complicated indie-rock--the result makes the double 00's decade a lot more interesting. You thank Temporary Residence's Jeremy for putting out your records, and then you say "which we will do more of..." YAY!!!! I'm glad! I can't wait!

Until then, I send you my love,
Joseph Kyle

No comments: