Boone Howard, The Other Side of Town (Good Behavior)
[HANGOVERS AND HEARTBREAK] In his old band, garage-pop trio the We Shared Milk, Boone Howard was content to let the riffs do much of the talking. On his own, though, he's like the dude who's been at the bar way too long, spilling his guts to whoever's occupying the next stool, whether they're listening or not. Written in the midst of a deteriorating relationship, Howard's excellent solo debut, The Other Side of Town, is an album about breaking up, blacking out and trying to move on, if only your head would stop throbbing. Throughout, Howard is less self-pitying than self-flagellating, and the arrangements—made up of just a few jangled chords and bleary keyboards, mostly—allow him plenty of room to excoriate himself. He doesn't spare the gory details: The piano ballad "Half a Life" might be the prettiest song ever to employ the image of shitting blood in a hotel bathroom. But it's the emotional carnage that proves the most cringeworthy. "I don't need anybody anymore to tell me when I'm done/I'm too good at killing my brain," Howard yells on closer "Staring at the Sun," his soft rasp finally growing into a shredded yowl. Turns out, there is light at the end of the hangover—you've just got to get thrown out of the bar to see it.
SEE IT: Boone Howard plays Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave., with Kelli Schaefer and Ghost Frog, on Tuesday, May 16. 9 pm. $7 advance, $10 day of show. 21+.