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Howlin Rain

Magnificent Fiend (American/Birdman)

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It's easy to hear why Rick Rubin signed Ethan Miller's side project. And it's not because the music impresario is a fan of Comets on Fire, the band Miller usually fronts. He probably just misses the Black Crowes, who used to record for Rubin's American label. But the seven long-winded jams on Howlin Rain's second album have more than Allman Brothers-style noodling in store: "Lord Have Mercy" is a slow, drippy organ-fueled tune that sounds like 1960s Bay Area psychedelia, while "El Rey" follows the Grateful Dead's old stylebook. Howlin Rain even gets its Meters on in the super-funky "Goodbye Ruby." Shake your moneymaker indeed.

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