Ha Ha Tonka, Samantha Crain, Kongos

"Never. Never ask for what ought to be offered." —Daniel Woodrell, Winter's Bone

There's a certain wisdom that exists in the hills of the Ozarks. It's a wisdom that spits out of the mouths of Woodrell's characters; it's a wisdom that is found in the lyrics by Woodrell's fellow West Plains, Missouri natives, Ha Ha Tonka; and it's a wisdom that's found on the band's new full-length LP, Death of a Decade.

"They say that if you don't change where you're going / you're gonna end up right where you're headed." —Ha Ha Tonka, "Made Example Of"

Recorded in a 200 year old barn in scenic New Paltz, NY with producer Kevin McMahon (Titus Andronicus, The Felice Brothers, The Walkmen), Death of a Decade began as a stripped down record, rich with warm tones that could only be captured under a 30 foot roof of a barn. "We wanted to make sure we left in all the imperfections of the barn such as the chairs squeaking and the boards creaking", explains lead singer Brian Roberts. After tracking the songs in this rough hewn setting, the files were shipped to hAUs Studio in Kansas City, MO where The Ryantist mixed and manipulated synthetic sonic threads into this organic tapestry. Death of a Decade is where authentic meets synthetic, acoustic meets electronic, and tradition meets innovation.

Thematically, Death of a Decade is less "story-based" than Ha Ha Tonka's previous work (which pulled heavily from Missouri history and folklore for its lyrics), with the band now focusing on the transition into manhood—something that doesn't automatically come once you pass a certain age: "I realize that youth is wasted on the young," Roberts sings on "Westward Bound," "Oh, I know that now my wasting days are done."

However, Roberts says, Death of a Decade is not meant to be a requiem for lost youth, but rather an embrace of the notion that the passage of time is better than the alternative. There you have it again: the wisdom of the Ozarks.

Even if the album's songs aren't specifically of the Ozarks, the sound is—still present is the traditional instrumentation (just listen to guitarist Brett Anderson's arpeggio mandolin lines on "Usual Suspects" and "Made Example Of"), with bassist Lucas Long and drummer Lennon Bone rounding out the rhythm section to stampeding affect. Still present are the spine-tingling four-part gospel harmonies, a signature sound that sets Ha Ha Tonka apart from every other indie band-cum-Southern rock group that seems to be shambling out of the suburban woods these days.

Ultimately, what makes the Ha Ha Tonka brand of Southern rock so special is that it's authentic, it's effortless, and it never comes across as forced. They are masters at bringing together the traditional and the modern. They sit at the crossroads of Americana and indie, where Alabama meets Arcade Fire – shakes their hand and takes them out for a drink.

So, back to Woodrell's Ozarkian wisdom from "Winter's Bone," being considered one of the best bands you'll discover (or rediscover) in 2011 isn't something Ha Ha Tonka ought need to ask for—it will be offered.

More about HHT: Named after Ha Ha Tonka State Park in their native Missouri, the group's relentless touring has seen them become one of the most buzzed about young bands in America, appearing at Lollapalooza, Sundance Film Fest, SXSW, CMJ while touring nationally as a headlining act, as well as supporting many great bands such as Old 97s, Murder By Death, Langhorne Slim, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Someone Still Loves You, Boris Yeltsin, Ludo, Meat Puppets and more.

This Oklahoma native makes stark music that surrounds her sweetly smoky voice with acoustic guitars, fiddle and occasional piano. Crain is a traveler at heart who has populated the songs on her first two albums with characters she's met on the road. She takes a more introspective tack for the first time on her latest, Kid Face, on autobiographical songs she says constitute "a musical journal" of her experiences.

KONGOS is a rock band of four brothers (Johnny, Jesse, Dylan and Danny Kongos) - sons of South African/British singer-songwriter John Kongos, best known for his two international hits 'He's Gonna Step On You Again' and 'Tokoloshe Man'. They grew up in London and South Africa and are now based in Phoenix, Arizona.

Their debut album was self-released in 2007, receiving glowing reviews and gaining them local acclaim in Arizona.

After being playlisted on 5FM, the biggest TOP 40 station in South Africa, the first single "I'm Only Joking" from their new album "Lunatic" went on to hit No. 1 on the Tuks FM rock chart and was the most requested song for 11 weeks in a row. The band is now on their 7th single, with 5 TOP 40 hits and several #1/Top 10 hits on various charts, making the album a top seller and the No. 1 download for 6 weeks.

KONGOS followed the South African release of the album (JUST MUSIC) with a sold-out tour of the country which included headlining spots on several major festivals including the world-famous Oppikoppi Festival and Rocking The Daisies.

In July 2012, they followed the "soft-release" of Lunatic with a North American tour, including showcases in LA, Toronto, NYC (CMJ), and 2 sold out shows at the Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix. They then returned to South Africa in November once more to open for Linkin Park on their stadium tour, playing to more than 100,000 people.

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Ha Ha Tonka, Samantha Crain, Kongos

Friday, October 4 · Doors 8:30 PM / Show 9:00 PM at The Satellite