June 18, 2009

Only Dostoevsky would dream up a pair like us

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Ha Ha Tonka has a band name that sounds like something one would yell when opening miniature metal trucks at your seventh birthday party, but actually the name is borrowed from a state park in the Ozarks. This Missouri foursome has just given me the latest zinger straight to the jugular.

Starting with a rueful fingerpicked melody, this immense song crashes cathartically into electric southern swagger akin to musical compatriots Kings of Leon. And the title lyric intrigues me with the jaded competency it boasts; something I’ve never been too good at.

Close Every Valve To Your Bleeding Heart – Ha Ha Tonka


Always thought I was a novelty little creature,
nobody warns you that the death of hope won’t feature
any sort of big event
to mark its significance

After we finish ourselves off, we ain’t leaving
it’s good to go down with an old friend believing
you better bet, we’re gonna tie one on tonight
you never left even though you’d said that you might
I come back here to remember what it was like

Only Dostoevsky would dream up a pair like us.



Thick skinned, hard headed, better off
you’re closing every valve to your bleeding heart
Does it hurt too much?
Are you just fed up?
Or is it something else entirely?

When I ask you why
you reply the death of hope hit you hard too…

Only Dostoevsky could kill off a pair like us.



You better bet, we’re gonna drown every doubt
the half of us that’s got the other half figured out
no good deed goes unpunished around here

You better bet, we’re gonna tie one on tonight
you never left even though you’d said that you might



I come back here to remember what we were like.



bs164_hht_cvr_0Novel Sounds of the Nouveau South came out earlier this week on Bloodshot Records (Justin Townes Earle, Deadstring Brothers).

For more music, check the four free live renditions at Daytrotter, and through today you can stream the full album here.







HA HA TONKA TOUR DATES
June 19 – Philadelphia, PA – North Star Bar
June 20 – Cambridge, MA – Middle East
June 22 – Brooklyn, NY – The Bell House
June 23 – Toronto, ON – The Horseshoe
June 24 – Hamtramck, MI – Small’s Bar
June 25 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom
June 26 – Cincinnati, OH – Southgate House
June 27 – Indianapolis, IN – Locals Only
July 27 – Denver, CO – Hi-Dive
July 28 – Salt Lake City, UT – Kilby Court
July 30 – Spokane, WA – The Blvd
July 31- Seattle, WA – Sunset Tavern
August 1 – Portland, OR – Dante’s
August 4 – Sacramento, CA – Blue Lamp
August 5 – San Francisco, CA – Rickshaw Stop
August 7 – Los Angeles, CA – Bootleg Theater
August 15 – Bloomington, IL – Hot August Nights

I’ll miss the Denver one to be in SF, and leave SF before the show there. Gah.

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9 Comments »

  • Nice find. Vocally, he reminds me of Joshua Davis of Steppin in It (a great Americana/Roots band).

    Side A Track 1 — June 18, 2009 @ 12:55 pm

  • Wow. Those are some amazazing lyrics. I’ve heard one or two Ha Ha Tonka songs, but nothing like this. This is wonderful.

    Tyler — June 18, 2009 @ 2:51 pm

  • Heather, don’t feel bad. I’m practically next door (okay, 3 hours, but comparatively…) and do ya see St. Louis on the list? Noooooooo. No love for the home state. But I am stoked to see Steppin’ In It just a few weeks from now at the Woody Guthrie Festival in Okemah, OK! They always burn the joint DOWN!

    ruralgurl — June 18, 2009 @ 6:02 pm

  • Hey thanks, never heard of them before.

    Barbara — June 18, 2009 @ 10:40 pm

  • [...] In non-Dave news, I’ve been enjoying this tune, which has the good taste to name check Dostoevsky – twice. (via Heather at I am Fuel…) [...]

    Baby Got Books » Friday Odds & Ends — June 19, 2009 @ 6:09 am

  • I saw these guys last November at the Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Fest. My pals and I met the lead singer afterwards…really nice guy. They’re definitely a band to experience live.

    barbara — June 19, 2009 @ 1:37 pm

  • Nice write up Heather…This is a great group of guys, very friendly and down to earth. Their music gets better and better as the years go on. I hope that the Denver show is bigger this year, they are working on getting a better fan base out this way and to the west. If you’re in CO get out in July and show some love!

    toe tappin — June 25, 2009 @ 10:13 am

  • Best song of the year so far. Hate to bring up the older Kings of Leon comparison, but it’s hard not to.

    Billy Doesn't Bragg(he's quite humble) — June 26, 2009 @ 3:02 pm

  • In love with that song and the band is a beauty too. Went a looking for the lyrics to the song, and lo! look where I (the only place) found them. Leave it to Heather Browne…

    Todd — August 11, 2009 @ 9:32 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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