The third album by this Northern California band is a raucous tangleof vintage bloodlines: the long-ride improvising and earthy-blues stomp of the Bay Area’s Fillmore-dance party age. The Russian Wilds is also singer-guitarist/leader Ethan Miller’s determined surge forward through that past. The evocations in "Self Made Man" and "Strange Thunder" of early Santana, Humble Pie’s heavy soul and the cosmic-campfire harmonizing of Crosby, Stills and Nash are propelled with bracing studio clarity and hot-live gig immediacy. The inspirations and pot-dream idealism may be retro; the zeal and momentum are not.
Listen to Howlin Rains "Phantom in the Valley":
• Photos: Random Notes