Premiere: “Captain Howdy,” by Pearl Earl
“I feel like Pearl Earl has a pretty short attention span. We have a lot of fun being flamboyant and not taking ourselves too seriously while trying to make work that is intended to provide deeper thought,” says Ariel Hartley, guitarist and vocalist of the Denton, Texas-based four-piece Pearl Earl.
Even a cursory listen to the group’s mix of multi-avenue psychedelic rock, punk, glam, girl groups, prog, and more, seems to indicate that Hartley’s assessment is spot on. Along with Hartley, Pearl Earl features bassist Stefanie Lazcano, drummer, Bailey K Chapman, and synth player Chelsey Danielle. The group began as a trio in 2014 (Danielle joined last year) and after released an EP, “Karaoke Superstar,” they began touring nationally and regionally, where they became a local favorite, and even found themselves on Denton radio.
Located just a few hours away from the music hub of Austin, Denton has a long reputation for producing killer punk and indie bands (including the Marked Men and Neon Indian). According to Hartley, the constant stream of live music between the two cities has added to her band’s development. “Before we were ever in a band, before I ever even played music, I would hear about Austin Psych Fest all the time. A lot of psych bands traveling to and from Austin usually stop in Dallas or Denton and I’d always go out to catch those shows. Now having our band, we are even more influenced and intertwined with the Austin psych scene and there is a steady flow of shows we do down there or with bands up here.”
On July 15, Pearl Earl will release their self-titled debut full-length on Dreamy Life Records. The latest single from the album, “Captain Howdy,” gives a glimpse into their madness with its mix of Nuggets-era garage/psych with a funky beat, and fun house-like atmospheres. The song’s inspirations perfectly fits the tracks nostalgic and quirky vibes.. “Captain Howdy is the name of the font they use for Ouija Boards and we really liked that name for a potential song idea,” Hartley says. The core of the music came from a bass and guitar composition on her loop station she felt embodied the spirit they were striving for. “I envisioned Captain Howdy to be this disco space cowboy character on the run, and when I was writing lyrics and finding inspiration, I found out Captain Howdy has also been referred to as the devil throughout history and loved that darker part to the persona.”
With that added spin to the character, things got increasingly weird. “From then on, when we were learning the song as a band the goal was to kind of make a song that could reflect this character and for me has sort of an exorcism story embedded into it. I used a guitar through this crazy fuzz pedal oscillator and Brack Cantrell (who co-produced P.E.), twisted the knob around while I just created a bunch of evil noise that I like to think sounds like Captain Howdy’s exorcism.”
Check out “Captain Howdy” below. Pre-orders for Pearl Earl are available now.