These Immortal Souls
An off-shoot of Crime & the City Solution, which was itself an off-shoot of the Birthday Party, These Immortal Souls gave guitarist Rowland S. Howard a chance to flex his own songwriting chops. Bluesy and darkly atmospheric, the band often evoked the spirit of Southern Gothic literature, both in their dramatic music and their lyrical storytelling. The Australian-born Howard had risen to prominence as Nick Cave's collaborator in the Birthday Party, after which he co-founded Crime & the City Solution, which also included his bass-playing brother Harry Howard and, later, drummer Epic Soundtracks (ex-Swell Maps and Jacobites). In 1987, Soundtracks and the Howard brothers split from Crime singer Simon Bonney to form These Immortal Souls, which also included keyboardist Genevieve McGuckin. With Rowland handling lead vocals, the London-based band quickly landed a deal with the seminal American underground label SST, and issued their debut EP Marry Me. By the end of 1987, their first full-length, Get Lost (Don't Lie), had also hit record racks. When the supporting tour wrapped up in early 1988, These Immortal Souls fell silent for several years, owing mostly to Howard's crippling case of writer's block. He worked off and on with Lydia Lunch into the early '90s, sometimes with assistance from McGuckin, sometimes with brother Harry. Finally, in late 1992, These Immortal Souls returned with the single "King of Kalifornia," now on the Mute label; it was quickly followed by their second album, I'm Never Gonna Die Again. Soundtracks subsequently left to concentrate on a well-received solo career, which produced three albums before his 1997 death; meanwhile, the remainder of the band returned to their native Australia and occasionally worked together as part of other projects. ~ Steve Huey
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