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City of Quality Records

Ben Morey, a grade school music teacher by day, indie rock purveyor by night, has long been making meaningful music in Rochester through such projects as The Wallpaper Singers and Dumb Angel. With his latest band, Howlo, and its self-titled debut — released on July 31 via City of Quality Records — Morey builds from the harmonic foundation and casual surf aesthetic of the Beach Boys while indulging in the catchy 90's cool of bands like Weezer and Oasis.

"Howlo" is anthemic pop-rock that's perfect for a late-summer listen, and it plays like the East Coast counterpart to the music of Bethany Cosentino's Best Coast. A collection brimming with hook-laden, midtempo songs buoyed by bassist Christine Benincasa and drummer Jane Bryant, the focus is clearly on the layered, rhythmic nuances of Morey and Justin Pulver's guitars: jangly at times, crunchy at others, but always drenched in sun. There is a steady sweetness to Morey's voice that makes the music supremely listenable.

Standout tracks include the killer opener "Seeing Eye Dog," "L.U.V." with its impeccable retro-60's groove, and the dreamy, delectable "Blanka." The magic of "Howlo" is that it somehow manages to be both inherently fresh and profoundly nostalgic.

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