Happiness — Live
The long awaited debut album from Happiness is a demented thrill ride down the rock ‘n’ roll autobahn. For those not familiar, Happiness is a local rock ’n’ roll supergroup consisting of Ian O’Neil, Chris Ryan and Dennis Ryan from Deer Tick combining forces with Rafay Rashid of Ravi Shavi/The Lookers. Despite the album title, Live is not a live album, but was recorded in Dennis Ryan’s home studio. The cool thing about Happiness is that it is unique from the band members’ other projects, which affords a certain freedom that comes out in the tunes. The album kicks off with “Apes and Grapes” — essentially a blast of psychedelia over a blues bass line. “On The Beach” is anthemic and poppy enough to be the song of the summer, but dark enough to ensure that never happens. Dennis Ryan’s “The Devil’s Working Retail” is a garage punk romp with its chorus of “Run fast, run far, he’s going to get you” that comes off like twisted bliss. Rashid’s “The Game” has a Creedence Clearwater Revival meets surf garage shuffle. Happiness offer an extra scoop of weird with “The Blamer,” which comes out of the gate as a straight-ahead rocker before launching into a weird, minute-plus repeatig outre, “I’ve got nothing left to give to the toilet.” The closing “Keepaway” is burst of unhinged stoner meets psychedelic stomp. My favorite track here is “Past Offenses,” which combines power pop hooks with ragged garage glory. One of the strengths of Live is Happiness have three totally unique personalities as songwriters in O’Neil, Rashid and Dennis Ryan that all add something different. Live is available for streaming on Spotify and other services.
Cranking and Skanking Fest — The return of The Amazing Royal Crowns
I first saw The Amazing Royal Crowns in the mid-90s at the Westminster Street Lupo’s as the opening band for The Cramps and Man or Astro-Man? And it remains in my top 20 all time shows that I’ve ever attended to.this day. The Crowns released their debut self-titled album in 1997 and became the last RI band to win the prestigious WBCN Rock ‘N’ Roll Rumble that same year. The Amazing Royal Crowns were on the forefront of the ’90s retro-revolution, throwing rock ‘n’ roll back to its primal lust. Punk rock meets rockabilly like the pogoing at the hop. Their eight-year odyssey saw the band release two studio albums and a live album, and gather international acclaim while touring the world. In fact, the remnants of The Crowns lingered like a hurricane for years after as rockabilly remained in vogue in PVD for years from all the musicians they inspired. Since initially calling it a day in 2001, The Crowns have done two one-off reunions with only a day-of-show surprise gig at The Parlour occurring in RI in 2012. There are many reasons for this, including health issues, but sometimes as they say, life gets in the way. It may have been 18 years since The Crowns have had a “proper” RI show, but their fans still remain “loyal to The Royal.” This promises to be one of the best rock ‘n’ roll parties of the summer!
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The Amazing Royal Crowns, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Buck-O-Nine, Neutral Nation, Diablogato, Stolen Wheelchairs, Secret Spirit will rock the Courtyards at The Met Cafe on August 10. Doors open at 5pm and the show starts at 6pm.
One of my favorite local bands, 123 Astronaut, recently completed recording on their debut self-titled full-length that will be coming out next month. 123 Astronaut have released two songs from the forthcoming, “The Great Unknown” and “Tell Me What You Want,” which are available for streaming online right now. Both tunes have the fuzz guitar sorcery riding the wave on a rock solid rhythm section. I’ll do more on the album for the release next week, but in the meantime, get a preview of the madness to come at The Met!
123 Astronaut and The Parkwoods rock The Met Cafe on August 2.
Spirit Family Reunion — One Way Ticket
Spirit Family Reunion provide warmth and comfort from the uncertain times that we live in on their new album, One Way Ticket. Spirit Family Reunion are celebrating their 10th anniversary and have honed their inviting rootsy sound that sounds like a neverending porch party. On One Way Ticket, tunes like “Ease My Mind“ succeed in trying to do just what the title says. People obviously don’t write tunes with that title in perfect times, but rather to provide comfort in uncertain times. The jug band stomp of “Midnight Train” and “Moon in The Mirror” offer both hope and the soundtrack for the perfect fire pit dance party. Some of my favorites on One Way Ticket are the ballads; “Balance Out The Scales” and “Gradual Power” are where Spirit Family Reunion really excels in harnessing the power of folk music.
Celebrate their 10th anniversary and the release of One Way Ticket with the Spirit Family Reunion at the Columbus Theatre on August 16.
More Shows to Stoke the Summer Coals:
Torche, Wear Your Wounds, and Anxious Wave bring the thunder to The Met Cafe on August 4.
The Guns N’ Roses Experience Nightrain will rock the Courthouse Center for the Arts in West Kingston on August 16.
NRBQ will be at the Courthouse Center for the Arts in West Kingston on August 24.
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