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Howlin Rain emerged in 2004 from the incendiary embers of San Francisco’s underground noise-psych legends Comets on Fire. A rag-tag trio of soulful chooglin’ and fuzz-box triumph, the band forged their own trails into the Cosmic California sound with their 2006 self-titled debut on Birdman Records. Within a year, just before the release of their second album, Magnificent Fiend, producer Rick Rubin signed them to his American Recordings label. Between 2006 and 2009, the group toured the US and Europe extensively with The Black Crowes, Queens of The Stone Age, Black Mountain and Mudhoney—not to mention legends and Howlin Rain faves Terry Reid and Roky Erickson. Under Rubin’s guidance, The Russian Wilds took nearly three years to complete, and the long, strange trip is engrained in every moment of its 61-minute rock ’n’ roll journey. Frontman Ethan Miller delivers literary-lyrical meditations on loss, sorrow and redemption above a dynamic din of deep grooves, soaring harmonies and blazing fuzz guitars, and the album’s breadth and scope recalls great, sprawling albums of the late ’60s and ’70s like The Allmans’ Live at the Fillmore East, Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland, Santana’s Lotus and Love’s Forever Changes. At once bombastic and ethereal, The Russian Wilds stands on its own dark mountain in today’s musical landscape.