- Up Nights
- St. Nick On The Fourth in a Fervor [MP3]
- Falling In
- Caney Mountain [MP3]
- This Is Not a Cure For The Common Cold
- Bully In The Pulpit
- You Lit Up the Night
"This glimpse of brilliance is much better / than your long look at mediocrity."
—from "St Nick On The Fourth In A Fervor"
"It's practically hopeless for me to try and compare this album or band to someone else. Everyone today is trying to be new and different, so as to have an edge on the competition. Well, Ha Ha Tonka has done it." —Hybrid Music
Ha Ha Tonka Buckle In The Bible Belt
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Roaring out of the Ozarks with a bottle in one hand and a bible in the other, Ha Ha Tonka mix sanctified four-part harmonies and blistering rock, carving out songs that evoke the dichotomies that define their home. The Springfield, Missouri natives dubbed their album Buckle in the Bible Belt in homage to their hometown, so named for its position on the dividing line of the Ozark states. Their dark view of the realities of socio-economic hardship, backwoods prejudices and drug abuse is leavened by wry humor and a deep appreciation for regional storytelling traditions.
The band’s first single from the album, "St. Nick on the Fourth in a Fervor" combines harmonies and biting guitar riffs with lyrics that delve into issues of nationalism, religious allegiances, and rites of passage. "It's an attempt to point out the fallacy of wrapping yourself in the flag, religion or worse yet, both at the same time," explains singer/guitarist Brian Roberts. The song also depicts better times, with the refrain " ... this glimpse of brilliance is much better than your long look at mediocrity." "Gusto" and "Up Nights" tackle the tragic legacy of methamphetamine in rural areas while “Hangman” and original "Caney Mountain" mine the deep veins of regional folk music.
Buckle in the Bible Belt was recorded, fittingly, in an old church in Union, Missouri, with a control booth where the pulpit had once been. Augmented with piano and organ, the songs bring to mind southern bands like REM and Kings of Leon as well as classics like The Band and Bruce Springsteen.
"It's the best rock record I've heard this year. There's nothing on the White Stripes' recent Icky Thump as convincingly roots-rockin' as 'Caney Mountain,' ... Power-pop hook kings the New Pornographers couldn't manage a track as infectious as Ha Ha Tonka's 'Falling In' on their latest, Challengers--and they've got Neko Case! Trust me, folks, this is really strong stuff." —Popmatters
"HHT deftly mixes sweet harmonies and raw, spewing rock and roll. Miss this record at your own risk." —Amplifier
"A precocious, stammering rock record that bridges sweet-water gospel folk with sweltering Southern rock." —CMJ Essentials
"Blasting from our offices: rich with personal stories and people eager to pound the floorboards to crunchy, sun-soaked roots rock." —SPIN Magazine
"Sharing a soft spot for delicate harmonies amid rowdy saloon rock tunes, they also show off some impressive lyrical smarts and the same whiskey-and-Marlboros-for-breakfast vocal rasp as DBT's Patterson Hood." —Portland Mercury
" ... a confident set of rootsy indie-rock combining a variety of well-crafted songs with excellent harmonies. At times the band's sound recalls Kings of Leon, but other influences poke through, from backwoods gospel to the Replacements." —KEXP Seattle