One of the seminal figures of Australia’s post-punk movement, Rowland S. Howard put his melancholic, atmosphere-soaked stamp on Young Charlatans, then played alongside Nick Cave and Mick Harvey in The Boys Next Door (later The Birthday Party until the latter’s implosion in 1983). Howard then went on to perform with These Immortal Souls and Crime and the City Solution. The gaunt Howard transformed his guitar into a veritable Pandora’s box of banshee shrieks, sounding as if they originated in outer space…or the bowels of Dante’s Inferno. Howard chilled the bones of his contemporaries, all with a cigarette perpetually drooping from his lips. His signature guitar chops can also be heard on Fad Gadget’s Gag, and his growling duet with Lydia Lunch covering Lee Hazlewood’s Some Velvet Morning sounds more like a looming threat than a languid wish. Lunch described Howard as “majestic…magical…beautifully alien.”

Photo: Stefan De Batselier

Mute is reissuing Rowland S. Howard’s long-awaited solo albums (through Fat Possum for North/South America; Bloodlines for Australia). Newly remastered by Lindsay Gravina, Howard’s 1999 solo debut Teenage Snuff Film will finally be re-released on double vinyl with one side etched, as well as on CD and digitally.

Howard died aged 50 from liver cancer in 2009, only months before the release of his final album, Pop Crimes, (recorded with Mick Harvey and JP Shilo). Pop Crimes will also be released on vinyl, CD, and digitally.

“… It seemed that everything he did was something I had never heard before…(his voice was) this deep well of emotion you knew was real. An absolutely brilliant musician and songwriter…I’m so glad these records are back out again. –Henry Rollins

Rowland S. Howard’s legacy was documented in the film Autoluminscent (2011), which is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

Both albums will be available on 27 March 2020.

Preorder these treasures through Mute Records.

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