Happyness is sure to bring you exactly what their name offers with their 90s alternative rock lead guitar style along with their abstract lyrics that lead you to places in your mind that you don’t pay much attention to. How many British guys does it take to create this sick sound, you ask? Three! Jon EE Allan (Guitar, Bass, Vocals), Benji Compston (Guitar, Vocals), and Ash Cooper (Drums). This band has played festivals such as Reading and Leeds which is where so many of my favorite legendary bands have played.
Their first album Weird Little Birthday was released on March 30th of 2015 from their personal studio, Jelly Boy Studios. This record is 17 tracks long, some of the songs being pretty lengthy. The next bit of music they produced was an EP Tunnel Vision On Your Part, released on September 23rd, 2016, and is 5 tracks long, named after the last song. Their most recent album Write In,not out yet,releases on April 7th of this year (2017). This record will features 2 tracks from the previous EP.
My Favorite Tunes (I know, I listed a lot):
‘Montreal Rock Band Somewhere’
‘Great Minds Think Alike, All Brains Taste the Same’
‘Friend Of The Revolution’
‘It’s On You’
‘Leave The Party’
‘Monkey In the City’
‘You Come To Kill Me?!’
‘A Whole New Shape’
The guys got their name from the song “Hello Moscow” by Brute Force and mispelled it purposely to pay tribute to Happy Shoppers convenience store.
Audio Preview of ‘Weird Little Birthday Girl’ (2015):
Thanks for reading, take a listen and tell me what ya think.
Here are some bands that I’ve been listening to like crazy. Hope ya like em’ too.
These dudes are from Chicago (but sound pretty west coast-y). TRIGGER WARNING-IF YOU HATE CLASSIC ROCK- WHICH YOU SHOULDN’T, DO NOT READ. Twin Peaks, who are named after the 90’s pop culture tv show, bring those giddy feelings to fans of The Kinks and The Rolling Stones (aka me) because there are so many similarities, but in the most original way possible. Twin Peaks color outside the lines and you can never get bored of their melody switches. There’re new sounds that pop out each time you listen to their music. Cadien Lake James definitely gets his vocal inspiration from one of my favorite human beings on the planet, the one and only, Mick Jagger. In their tunes, “Cold Lips“, “Heavenly Showers“, “Holding Roses“, “Stain“, and “Have You Ever” from the record, “Down In Heaven“, you can totally hear a bit of Mick in it. Also, the song “Wanted You” is like a reincarnation of “Beast of Burden” by the Stones (not even close to as good, but a really cool song). The other members of the band are Clay Frankel (guitar), Jack Dolan (bass) and Connor Brodner (drums).
My Favorite Record:
Down In Heaven released on May 13th, 2016 from Grand Jury Records
Bringing forth a psychedelic, trippy sound mixed with LA surf rock and a look to match, this five-piece absolutely have one of the most unique sounds that you’ll hear from any band. Their melodies contain completely original arrangements, so you will never catch yourself saying “these guys sound like…” with any of their tunes. Mystic Braves, being a fairly new band released their first self-titled record in 2012 and it features 12 songs that all sound completely different from eachother. The lead singer, Julian Ducatenzeiler’s vocals can be compared to Brooks Neilsen from The Growlers. They both have a distinct sound that pair really well with their sounds. They have mentioned that the more their band grows, the more new sounds they bring into the mix. Instruments such as the 12-string, acoustic and electric piano, and a tambura. They constantly push their rare and standout vibe. The other members include Cameron Gartung (drums), Tony Malacara (bass,vocals), Ignacio Gonzalez (organ, tabourine), and Shane Stots (guitar, vocals). Mystic Braves are such a festival band and can absorb the vibe of the environment and bounce it right back to their audience.
My Favorite Record:
Mystic Braves released on October 2nd, 2012 from LOLIPOP RECORDS
Ian Ruhala, known as Hala to the music world, has been writing music for years, creating two full albums, a few other demos, and live recordings. Think about Mac Demarco and Travis Bretzer morphed into one person and this is what you get. Hala has aspects of both, but you can’t really place him in a direct category. I feel like he’s still a very young artist, but that makes it more exciting to see what sounds he experiments with and what his music grows into eventually.
My Favorite Record:
Spoonfed released on May 13th of 2016 by Citrus City Records
It’s a real good morning whenever you listen to this band. From Melbourne, Australia, the slow and mellow sound of their tunes attract fans of different genres of music all together. These guys are comparable to Alex Calder, but like a less synthy version. They incorporate mellow indie with rock components that bring together a harmonious vibe. In a lot of their songs, they have altered tuning which is where that sweet twangy electric sound comes from. The garage-rock muffled recording sound is so authentic and you can hear clearly in the track, “You” that appears on “On the Street/You“, which is one of my favorite songs. This is a band that’s definitely one I need to see live before they get any bigger. The members of this band are Stephen Blair and Liam Parsons, but they have a live bonus of John Considine and James Macleod.
My Favorite Record:
Shawcross released on November 14th of 2014 from Solitaire Records
On Friday, December 16th, I went to my favorite music venue in Potrero Hills, San Francisco and saw three local bands who are extremely talented, gave a super energized show and drank a ton of beer. It’s sick to see that local indie bands and the community surrounding them are still very prominent in the Bay Area and recognized by the best little hole-in-the-wall venues the city has to offer.
First off: Bear Call
This group was formed by Skylar Warren, born and raised in California, and began as a solo musician but soon gained the rest of his band when he was living in Seattle for a year after high school. As most of us do, he thought that Seattle’s late 80s to 90s grungey garage rock music scene was still alive and well but instead he discovered that the Nirvana wannabes were replaced with mostly mellow singer-songwriters and that is definitely the opposite of what he wanted his band to be. The name formed during a roadtrip with friends and captures a California inspiration (hence the Bear in Bear Call). The perfect mixture of angst, loud guitar, and rolled up jeans.
Next: Tino Drima
This six-piece band out of San Francisco includes members from the bands Spooky Mansion, O, and French Cassettes but they kick the single genre wall down by creating their own unique one. The only way to truly describe this music is 50s doo wap and futuristic psych-garage rock. Make sense? No? Listen to them and you’ll understand. Adding to the crowd they drew, I felt like I totally took a trip to some Twilight Zone dimension in the best way possible. A mix of a 90s MTV live performace and if there was a super cool score to the Star Trek movies that existed, this band would create it. Gregory DiMartino may be the tallest person I’ve ever seen on a stage and can sing acapella good enough to blow your socks off.
Ending the night: Spooky Mansion
My favorite to listen to on Spotify and really funky outfit choices to match the vocals, this band is also from San Francisco. Grayson Converse leads this four-piece into one of those optical illusion psychedelic twirly tunnels (can you picture what I’m talking about?). What I mean by this is that the flowing tune of the guitar along with the flamboyant lead vocals and vehement drums lead the tracks from groovy soul in “Disco B!tch” and “Gone Too Far” to surf rock in “Ronnie Nimbo” to flirty loose string sounds in “Crisis Mode“. When a band is this diverse within the same genre, you can tell that they’re not only talented musicians, but have a keen ear for switching sounds while staying consistent with their vibe.
I know I’ve been super MIA on here for a while, but I have a cool little story for you guys. This is pretty off-the-cuff and unedited so excuse me if I sound like a rambling sleep deprived writer, because that’s what I am right now.
On September 18th, I went to see one of my all time favorite bands that you may know of, Catfish and the Bottlemen. Two of my friends and I waited in line from 9am-7pm (which doesn’t sound crazy if you go to a lot of shows). We were the 4th group of people in line so we came at a decent time. We also happened to run into two girls that I met at previous concerts and they sat in line with us. Listen, sleeping on the sidewalk of San Francisco with a jean jacket as a pillow my seem pretty gross, but it’s definitely possible to have one of the best naps of your life on it. The Fillmore is super cool as a venue in itself. There’s only one entrance. One little tiny black door that everyone getting into the show has to go through.
Luckily, I made it to the barricade on the left side, which was the only thing that I wanted out of that night (other than meeting them). The opening band was The Worn Flints, who were giving off a super psychedelic sound mixed with a bit of bluesy punk rock if you can just take a second to imagine (hence the lead singer’s insane head banging, which to this day I could only imagine that he has a headache). I remember he asked how everyone was doing and I yelled pretty loud and he looks over, points and says “Yes ma’am!”
The show was amazing, and so much better than I could have ever expected. I loved the set list, and I have to say my favorite song that was performed was Hourglass, because not only is that one of my favorite songs on their first album, but Van performed it solo on his acoustic, slowed it down and turned the microphone to where the audience sang most of it. After they finished their set, I didn’t catch one of Bondy’s (lead guitarist) guitar picks that he keeps on his mic stand when he threw them, so I asked one of the guys moving the instruments off stage for one. He grabbed one of the black picks, steps down and hands it to me. Of course I also lost my voice the next day but there was nothing more worth it than to lose it like that.
After the show, we waited in a line for a couple of hours and no one was coming out so we were starting to believe they weren’t coming. There was a guy walking on the street in a Corona tank top and basketball shorts that came up to us and asked what the line was for. My friend, Emily made a joke and said “The post office is closed on Sunday and we have a lot of mail to send out”(because there’s a post office next to the Fillmore). He laughed and talked to us for a while. We told him that we were about to leave, kind of starting to walk away, and he continued the conversation. At this point we were tired and super confused about this dude. Suddenly, he walks away and into the gate to the back of the Fillmore. OBVIOUSLY he knew what the line is for since the guards knew him. No one else saw this so I said “Dude, did you guys see that he just said hey to the guards and walked in the back?”. He comes back a couple of minutes later with another guy dressed in all black-a stage guy. They were making random conversation with the three of us about how being nice to random people like we did to them is super cool. The stage guy walks back behind the Fillmore, and emerges with-you guessed it-Catfish and the Bottlemen. The stage guy then says “Ok everyone, I’m going to take your pictures with the band, so hand me your phones”.
I’ll save you the detail of the 11 minutes of physical and emotional shock I was in before I hugged each one of them. As much as I wish that I could have had a sit down conversation with Van MCcann about the meaning behind each of his lyrics and who taught him how to play guitar, I got to tell him how much I love him and that his music means so much to me. His answer was “Thank you so much, Love”. When we went to take the picture, I was going to stand on the end by Bob, but he made a little gap between him and Van and tells me to stand there. I was totally fine but pretty close to cardiac arrest.
This night really gave me a glimpse of what good karma looks like. A simple joke to a guy walking down the street had some sort of impact to lead to such an insane experience to have.
To one of my all time favorite bands and an insanely creative group of guys.