Monday, April 22, 2013

Silver Currant Blog RIP, Silver Current Records launching!

Hello Everyone,
  After 4 years of posting mp3 downloads of a few fun gems from my archives I am shaking off this incarnation of Silver Currant Blog for a new one that can go deeper on the concept. Within the next month or so I will be launching a handmade record label online that will release limited edition, silk-screened packaged releases along the same lines of the music you've found here in the past; live bootleg style recordings from the past, present and future, demos and lost recordings of interest from the archives and various other kinds of subterranean pieces from bands that I have been involved with in the past and present and now extending outward to include these kinds of releases for other bands that I love.
   Thank you for following the blog as it has existed over the past 4 years. Even though I've been a bit sporadic on the posts due to a heavy touring schedule at times I have been deeply rewarded in sharing and having a dialog about this music with you. I believe that Silver Current's new incarnation as a handmade record label will honor and document the music on a much deeper level by giving it a physical (and beautiful) release into the world so that people that are interested and love this music can have something real for their record collection.
    I have found an incredible art studio for my wife and I to set up the screen printing operation in San Francisco and we will be hand silkscreening all products, each piece stamped and hand numbered.
    My writing and refections will still be a part of the new site as will some of the free download, stream and visual elements that have been a part of the blog over the last 4 years.
    Upon launch there will be lots of live material available in HQ digital download as well as 3 first edition runs of previously unreleased concerts and recordings by Howlin Rain, Comets On Fire and Earthless with much more to follow as I get the site fully launched and dive into the next wave of music I have waiting on the line to print.
   Please follow me over to a new home at I will hopefully be launching within the next 2 to 3 weeks. Stay tuned and see you soon!
Ethan Miller

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Hello All,
I hope this finds you well as spring is quickly running to summer here in Oakland. June has come with a little time off the road for Howlin Rain. Amongst other late spring celebrations and endeavors I've managed to get back through some of the recordings from the winter tour runs. I found the midwest dates had an especially nice cocktail of super jammed out tunes and yet a restless, raw nerve and wild-eyed energy so I put together a comp of highlights from those gigs.
  In the past some folks have asked about hi-quality lossless versions of the releases on the Silver Current blog. I will shortly begin releasing items from the blog as part of a Silver Current "Bootleg" series exclusive to the Howlin Rain merch table and our on-line web store. More on that over the next month or so but for now enjoy "Howlin Rain, Jammin' the Midwest!"

1. Phantom In The Valley
2. Beneath Wild Wings/ Boogie Jam out
3. Dancers At the End of Time
4. Can't Satisfy Me Now
5. Calling Lightning pt 2
6. Hung Out In The Rain
7. Roll On the Rusted Days

get it here:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Russian Wilds Harmony Reel

Photo by Hilary Hulteen 2012.

Just back from a Midwest run with Howlin Rain. Thanks to all of you who joined us at the gigs, we had a blast on this tour. The Midwest was beautiful with one foot still in Winter and one foot stepping into Spring (we finished and flew home before the Tornadoes swept the region). We had the pleasure of playing the last 3 shows on the run with Oklahoma's Broncho and Ohio's legendary Buffalo Killers. Both amazing bands and an incredible bill.
Back at home now in Oakland I am working on catching up with my hand held recordings from the SXSW run and the Midwest to post some live comps and gigs here from the HR runs but in the meantime I wanted to share something I put together a few months ago. A while back some folks were passing this Rolling Stone vocal track around of Mick and Merry Clayton from "Gimme Shelter" and I was just floored by hearing it bare like this. The beautiful vintage plate reverb, the finger snapping for time, the huffing for breath between takes and then of course one of the most amazing moments in the history of recorded vocal performances; Merry delivering the 'rape...murder!" line with exploding vocal chords in the 3m--3:15 section and Mick involuntarily hollering out an ecstatic "woooooooo!!!" in shocked praise that clearly remains audible in the final mix. Just like everyone I'd heard Gimme Shelter a million times but I'd never really heard the whole scene and action behind that climactic moment in the song. Now whenever I hear "Gimme Shelter" whether it's on a radio, in the car, in the airport or a bar, when that moments comes all of a sudden my mind is just standing there next to them, Merry 9 months pregnant, nailing her vocals on the first pass and Mick standing there next to her shouting her on in the middle of an empty live room at Sunset Sound. When we hear the music that we have as a final product it is a single entity made up of many unique parts in a system. The tracks all crush together in a mix and instead of roads and mountains and lakes and rivers and celebrations and individual births or funerals and tiny dialogs in this corner or that we hear a song as a single musical world zoomed out until it's just glowing green or blue or red from our distance in the space around it. To me there is something incredibly thrilling and mesmerizing about going in and hearing the tracks by themselves, zooming in from the outer space of a whole glowing spinning song into one section of the world, then closer into one continent, through the atmosphere and clouds, zooming in over a state, than a city, down through 3 different layers of weather, down through a neighborhood, into a air duct system through a spinning tin grate on the roof, into the walls, down through the sheetrock and into the live room where you can hear the puff of a cigarette or the swig of a bottle of bourbon between lines and then the details of the voice so magnified you can hear the nose hairs, the scratch in the throat, the swish of leather boots on the rug at the foot of the mic as the singer finishes a great deliver and spins away from the mic for their beer. It's like putting your eyes on secret letters or photos for the first time in generations that you found in an old chest--though the whole world is different and 100 years have gone by for a moment that breath of passion, those words of love live again between your eyes, the letter and your mind. They come to life in the room, in your hands and in this case in your ears for a fleeting moment.
A few months back Tim Green sent me the stems from The Russian Wilds and for kicks I went through and listened to some of the stuff. I was struck by how detailed some of the vocal arrangements were on a song like "Phantom In The Valley" and yet in the final mix the music was dense enough that although the "feel" of the vocal arrangements remains, much of the detail of their total scope is lost into the greater "feel" of the song--which is exactly what all tracks and elements of a song are supposed to do in a good mix. So I put together a reel of some of my favorite moments, some of the lost dialogs, some of the multi-color details that in final mixing had blended to become a single new color or voice. Originally I just sent this to the Howlin Rain guys and a few friends that I thought might get a kick out of it but over time it has held interest to me as an enamoring peak behind the curtains of a final work where the details of a musical city can spread out again and become individuals interacting for a few more brief moments before being lost back into the history of something greater then themselves.
download The Russian Wilds Harmony Reel:

you can also watch a slide show of Hilary Hulteen's brilliant photography of Howlin Rain live while streaming on youtube:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Hi Friends!
Howlin Rain have been busy on the road since the release of "The Russian Wilds" in February. Thanks to all of you who have come out to the gigs over the past 2 months all across the United States. It's been a fucking blast! We have been deeply humbled at the warm reception of the new album both in the record stores and from the stage, bless you all for your support. Now that we've got a nice string of shows behind us and I have a hard drive full of live hand-held recordings I'm going to begin putting up tapes from some of the gigs from along the way (all in varying degrees of low fi). The first is from the last night of our West Coast tour in Portland Oregon at the Doug Fir Lounge on February 25th. Enjoy and see you soon!
get it here:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Hello Friends,
Download the first single from Howlin Rain's new album "The Russian Wilds" for free here: It's been a real journey to bring this album home. We are very proud of it. I will do my best to get some new candy up on the blog soon. Over the past year I have collected more great Rain, Comets and beyond live gigs and archival stuff--some real gems have made their way back to me and been found in the dusty boxes in the closet. For now enjoy a taste of the fruits of Howlin Rain's labors of the last 2 and 1/2 years.
I hope you are all well.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Happy New Year everybody! Howlin Rain had a killer winter tour in Europe in December despite the blizzards and freezing weather most of the tour. Thanks to all of you who came out to the gigs, it was great to see you. In the end the vinyl manufacturer didn't finish the Good Life EP vinyl in time for tour so it should be available to ship this month some time. The first pressing is limited to 1000 copies with silk screened covers by Alan Forbes and David D'Andrea. These will sell out very quickly so pre-order a copy here to ensure your copy of this special first pressing. The EP is also available now in digital form, purchase here.
To bring in the new year I am posting another heavy jams comp from the Galactic Zoo Dossier cassette club. I didn't realize when I posted the "Explosive Rock" comp by Steve Krakow that it was actually a part of his tape club series of which I have since become a member. Getting these tape comps in the mail every couple months is nothing short of Christmas 6 times a year! The membership is dirt cheap and analog cassette is without a doubt the best sonic format for killer riffs and dirty lost heavy jams. Write to Steve to join the tape club: Though Steve's cassette comps run the gamut from "Fuzzed Funk", "Baroque Into Folk", "Avant Pop", "Groove Freex", etc , etc I am posting another heavy riffs super fuzz savage jams edition. There are some old fuzzy favorites here as well as some super rare shit but the comp as a whole is a great day after new year-party ain't over-beer drinking-hell raising soundtrack! So enjoy! Come next week it's back to work on the new Howlin Rain album and we won't be stopping until it's finished. For now, a few more beers and rumbling home stereo speakers! Thanks again Steve!
Storm The Gates: GZD Tape Club vol IV
1. Stack Waddy. With One Leap Dan Was By Her Side, "Muriel" He Breathed.
2. Smile. Blag.
3. Schizo. Telster
4. Wishbone Ash. Jail Bait.
5. Badfinger. Suitcase (BBC)
6. Gun. Dreams & Screams
7. 10 Years After. The Sounds
8. Groundhogs. Soldier
9. Terry Reid. Marking Time
10. Sir Douglas Quintet. Catch A Man On The Rise
11. Dearly Beloved. Flight 13.
12. Rock Candy. Cause We Want To Please You
13. Dantalion's Chariot. World War III
14. Ancient Grease. Women and Children First
15. Pesky Gee! Where Is My Mind
16. Fallen Angels. Something New You Can Hide In
17. Children Of The Root Race. We Are The Dinosaurs.
18. Fraction. Come Out of Her
19. Asterix. Look Out...
20. Nitzinger. Witness To the Truth
21. The Mauds. Forever Gone
11. Som Imaginario. Moise

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Album cover artwork by Alan Forbes and David D'Andrea, 2010.

Hello Friends,

As we prepare to embark on a tour of the UK and western Europe throughout December I am proud (thrilled, relieved, short circuiting) to announce that Howlin Rain have a new release coming into the world. No, this is not our long awaited 3rd album, though we are nearly done tracking the new record, making great sounds and progress and should see it's release in summer or fall of 2011. "The Good Life" EP is 3 songs, nearly 20 minutes of new music.

After almost two years of pre-production work with producer Rick Rubin for our next album we found ourselves with an over abundance of material and an increasing gap of time between the forecast release of our next album and our last record "Magnificent Fiend". On the eve of hitting the studio and beginning to record #3, Howlin Rain took a week to step into a studio and complete this mini album or EP. It was envisioned as both an introduction to the forthcoming full length due in 2011 (the songs are exclusive to this EP) and as a piece that cold stand on it's own in HR's catalog as a trilogy of songs that present their own unique journey and sonic arch. After such extended rehearsals and pre-production work we were interested in taking this opportunity to try and produce high quality recordings and performances off the cuff and against the clock that could capture a blend of immediacy and sonic intrigue. All three songs were tracked in one evening live in the same room at Lucky Cat Studios in San Francisco by Trans Am's brilliant Phil Manley and taken back to Louder Studios to be overdubbed and mixed by Tim Green in a handful of days. From the time we set up at Lucky Cat to the time the EP was completely mastered and ready to go was a week and a half. In the midst of a journey to complete an album that will have been years in the making, the Good Life EP is a catharsis of immediacy for us blasted down from a long highway, a postcard from the outer regions where we've been navigating now for a lot of moons.

The digital version of the The Good Life EP, by American Recordings is in gloriously sharp 1's and 0's, the details of our analog recording reproduced and represented in digital for your convenience, each kilobyte of information meticulously placed and crafted by a giant black computer, the only one or its kind, deep inside of the Columbia Records building in Beverly Hills.

The analog version of the EP, released by Birdman Records is a limited edition of 1000 vinyl package. It was printed by RTI on beautiful heavy black vinyl and comes in a silk screened sleeve designed by Bay Area psychedelic artists Alan Forbes and David D'Andrea and printed at Monolith Press in Emeryville.

The vinyl is at the plant getting pressed and will most likely be available in January or February. Pre-Order the vinyl here. Buy the digital EP now from here:

best and love


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Comets & Growing

Tour poster by Arik Roper for Comets/ Growing summer tour 2005.

Wow. It’s been a long time. I have been locked in a jam space in East Oakland with Howlin’ Rain for many moons. My beard is grown long, my hair getting shaggy. The jam space smells irreversibly more like sweat and beer everyday. Well, if we are to believe that time is an elliptical thing in form than no real harm done in wandering your days away in the woods. I have plenty of live shows and comps to post from deep in the archives I just was having a little trouble finding the right thing to really inspire me for the next post. Then two days ago I went over to Noel’s house to listen to the new Sic Alps double album (which is an AMAZING album and also refueled my inspiration!!! Due out on Drag City in the Fall) and while I was there I picked up some files of a session of jam space recordings that Comets on Fire and Growing had made together on a day off in San Francisco in 2005. Like a lot of these old forgotten things that just seemed like beer, friends, loud amps and a dark room with high ceilings during their creation, time has transformed this recording event into an experience full of ghosts and glory upon my listening now. It is altogether more dark, haunted, bombastic and heavy than I remembered it being at the time. It’s strange that only with the passage of time and having forgotten the exact “when” and “why” you did some piece of artistic work can you finally hear it as an outsider with more objective ears. You find the pleasure and admiration of an objective viewpoint, the inspiration of an observer rather than the concerns of an owner. Sometimes these jam sessions with other groups could too easily come off as one of the bands adding to the sound of the other rather than a meeting of minds but on the best days two entities meet in the middle to form a new thing that shines out with the character of both groups in a unique way. Listening now I feel like that has happened quite beautifully here. Another thing that struck me while listening to this session is that the tools and the “sound” of Growing at this time are no longer the tools and the “sound” of Growing today. They are no longer droning guitar and bass through big distorted amps but something very evolved and different and a long way down the road from those roots. To me hearing these recordings feels a little bit like turning the velvet cover back on a birdcage full of memories that have no clear story of your past, just a collection of strange feelings and unexplainable resonance that was no clearer in their original evocation all those years ago. That is not to say that this session was a complicated feeling or that my memories of hanging with Joe and Kevin on tour or recording were complex; quite the opposite. It was a lot of fun, they are great dudes and we drank a lot of beer. All life and relationships should be so simple. What I’m saying is that at the time the music itself felt like good bros, good times and beers and not a greatly resonant piece of music to my ears. Now it holds a more powerful resonance to me since it’s resonance for me has become disassociated from simple “good times”. I hear melancholy, howling, roaring, dancing delicate notes that form complex patterns and tattoo water reflected images across darkly shifting tectonic plates! Great sorrows and pleasures in those drones and hammering marches down old wide streets! Anguished reverb screaming for revenge! Buzzing nonsensical harmonies rolling through subterranean caves! Bats, snakes, dolphins, ocean stones, pillars reduced to broken marble, a field of a million onions under the moonlight! The bubbling of mineral water up from the stones in the last undiscovered foothills on earth! Brilliant child Gods in black satin capes drunk on Sangria and throwing peach pits into the gears of the wheels of time! Etc Etc.

What I can remember about this session is that it was recorded during the daytime at our practice space on 3rd st. in San Francisco most likely between September 1st and the 3rd of 2005. Comets and Growing had toured the Midwest and Eastern U.S. together in June and July of that same year. This is just a few months later and Growing was out on the West Coast to play the first Arthurfest in Los Angeles which Comets also played. I believe this recording session was the night after a Growing gig but I don’t remember if Comets played the gig with them the night before. It was recorded with two PZM mics most likely laid out on the floor at either side of the room between the amp line and the drums, recording to either ¼ inch reel to reel 4-track or an 80’s Tascam cassette 4-track (the latter seems more likely as that was our main machine to use for jam space recordings). We ended up with 6 jams on tape ranging from 7 minutes to over 30 minutes in length. I have taken what I felt was the summary and best of those tracks to present here in the form of what would have been released had we ever decided to. These three tracks are completely unedited and in their original form as I got them from Noel except for a little EQ. It’s possible that he may have edited them when taking them off the original 4 track tape but I doubt it due to their length and rough edges. “Untitled 2” cuts off at 20:45 most likely due to tape running out. The other two seem to run completely through the jams from beginning to end.

All the best to you and enjoy!


Get "Comets & Growing" here:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Fitz Heavy Riff Comp II

Baris Manco rocking the Bosphorus

From across the Atlantic, all the way from the heart of East London comes the 2nd Riff Comp from the notorious John Fitzgerald. This gem is the second installment of heavy riff jams from the Fitz vault that he has made for me to help inspire the riff writing process in the epic Howlin Rain pre-production journey for our next record. Loaded with international rarities and lost western dance, funk and straight up heavy freak out fuzz and rock classics. In 2010 Fitz has also gone live broadcasting his world wide heavy jams in his "International Psychedelic Podcast". These podcasts are amazing!!! If you've ever ridden shotgun in a sprinter van careening at 90 miles per hour through the Swiss Alps in November while Fitz blasts Edip Akbayram and Baris Manco and exclaims with wonder (with both hands off the wheel) how beautiful Selda must have looked on her wedding day on the Bosphorus with the eastern sun shining down on Asia Minor behind her---well, these podcasts are as close as you can come to that particular exhilaration without actually going on tour! So let some Peppermint Tea steep, set out a bowl of Licorice and Pistachios, jam the podcast and you're as good as in the passenger seat. For the Podcast, go to your itunes, click "advanced", select "subscribe to podcast" and paste this URL: You can also click that link to stream.

In the meantime, here is Fitz Heavy Riff Comp II:

1. Lena. Curtis Knight

2. Omar Khorshid and His Ma. Omar Khorshid and His Ma

3. Whole Lotta Love. Dennis Coffey

4. Black Tears. Witch

5. Girotondo. Il Balletto Di Bronzo

6. Itt A Nyar. Sarolta Zalatnay

7. Yellow Cab Man. Gun

8. East Side Story. Bob Seger and the Last Heard

9. Basak Saclim. Bunalim

10. Flying. Space Farm

11. Blister on the Moon. Taste

12. My Sorrow. Chico Magnetic Band

13. Deniz Asto Koporor. Edip Akbayram

14. Spotkanie Z Diablem. Krzysztof Klenczon

15. Evolution. Lobby Loyde

16. Sha-La-La. Thin Lizzy

17. The Day the White Flower Bloomed. San Ul Lim

18. Exit. After Life

19. Ana Dell. Cheb Zergui

20. Dearg Doom. Horslips

21. Let Me Love, Let Me Live. Aphrodite's Child

Get it from Media Fire: