Bands to Watch 2014: Angela Perley & the Howlin’ Moons

  • Photos by Meghan Ralston
By Columbus Alive
From the January 23, 2014 edition

A number of songs on Hey Kid, the debut album from Angela Perley & the Howlin’ Moons, find characters determined to establish some distance — be it physical or emotional — between themselves and past events.

“Whatchoo running from, George Stone?” Perley sings on one tune. Then, on another, “Like a train, I don’t know if I’m coming back this way.”

“I didn’t realize that ’til we put the songs together, but there’s a common theme of travel and running,” said Perley, 27, who was born to a truck driver father and a mother who worked a series of odd jobs. “I went through a couple relationships before the record was made, so that had something to do with those songs. And some of it came from just traveling around. We’ve done a lot of touring.”

Of course, a handful of the tunes might not be as personal as they appear to be on the surface. Perley professed a fondness for creating composite characters — a trait that stems from her childhood involvement with the theater.

“I’d always be writing little scripts and plays and character studies,” she said. “I really liked creating these characters and digging into them.”

Though she excelled embodying others, Perley said she struggled for years to find her voice. In high school she dabbled in pop-punk, and as a freshman at Ohio University she reinvented herself as a folk-rock troubadour in the mold of Bob Dylan — even adopting his higher-pitched tone when she performed on campus. More recently, however, she’s started to feel more comfortable in her own skin, turning out polished roots-rock gems that have gradually started to lean a bit more toward the rock end of that spectrum.

This is particularly true of the band’s breakthrough single “Hurricane,” a glitter-heeled stomper that received airplay during an ABC telecast of a November football game between UCLA and USC and has been in regular rotation on CD102.5.

“[The response] has been very surprising,” Perley said. “We first heard it on the radio last October when we were driving back from the studio, and I got really excited and turned it way up. It was definitely a cool feeling.”