If you quickly shuffled through the new record from Angela Perley and the Howlin’ Moons—you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re listening to several different albums at once.
The first 10-15 seconds of each tune play like a library of guitar sounds—chunky, Tom Petty chords, snaky Telecaster riffs, bar blues bends—but it’s Perley’s familiar, haunting warble that keeps everything tied to the same recipe—one that seems to have found perfection for the band on their second proper LP, Homemade Vision.
Her sound and look have undergone several revolutions over the years—the songstress playing sparse banjo notes in songs like 2008’s “Black Cat” (sitting on a bale of hay) doesn’t much resemble the psych-rock goddess in 2015’s “Electric Flame.”
She owes much of that to her band—no longer “backing band”—who have leaned the sound toward what the quartet has in common, namely ’70s rock like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath.
“It’s a lot more aggressive,” she laughs. “We definitely have some angst that has always been there, but it comes out as a little more fun. We’re just having fun pushing it as a band.”
Perley, who will release Homemade Vision nationwide on January 22, hopes the record and the continued progression of the band busts them out of “the Americana box,” but at the same time is content to let listeners categorize for themselves.
“I think a lot of people, you look through their Spotify playlists and what they’re listening to—it’s not just one genre,” she says. “Everyone’s blending boundaries. It’s a really good thing.
Still, we couldn’t help ourselves at (614). Always one to wear influences on her vintage sleeve, we asked Perley to cut out the middle man and give us 10 artists that she has slipped into her songwriting.
Gwen Stefani Probably my first early obsession and musical inspiration throughout middle and high school. She was a breath of fresh air in the ‘90s and she had a unique vision, voice, and energy at her live shows.
Holly Golightly The White Stripes turned me onto Holly Golightly through a collab they did with her, and I love anything and everything she has done in her musical career. I love her blend of garage rock, blues, country, and ‘60s style rock music. I also love all of the rare old songs she covers.
Wanda Jackson The Queen of Rockabilly … what more can I say? Wanda is badass and continues to become cooler over time. Both her country and her rockabilly songs are classic.
Loretta Lynn. Loretta is a huge inspiration of mine because she was country’s first female rebel. With songs like “Don’t Come Home A’ Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind),” “Fist City,” and “The Pill,” she was one of the first women in country music to stand out and speak her mind. Like Wanda, her career is still going strong and growing. Her 2004 album Van Lear Rose is even a classic.
Lucinda Williams The moment I heard my first Lucinda album I was blown away. Her songwriting and voice are so raw it hurts. She has been a huge inspiration to my songwriting over the years.
Billie Holiday Billie Holiday is magic to me. Her vocal style and phrasing are like no other and the emotion behind her songs is so haunting it gives me chills everytime I listen to her. My favorite jazz singer of all time.
Joni Mitchell Folk goddess. Her songwriting is extremely honest, beautiful, and intricate.
Emmylou Harris. Emmylou is gold. Her voice and energy are like honey. When in doubt, I ask myself, what would Emmylou do?
Irma Thomas. Good old new Orleans soul music. Love Irma Thomas’s mix of soul, blues, and R&B. I especially love her songs during the 1960’s.
Janis Joplin. Have always loved and been inspired by Janis. She was way before her time. Her songwriting, voice and stage presence were like no other. Wish she was still around because I feel like she was an artist that would still be making great songs today like Lucinda.
Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons will release Homemade Vision 12.18 at Skully’s Music Diner. For more, visit angelaperley.com.