Sunday, February 12, 2006

CD of the Day, 2/12/06: The Happies-If We Were Really Here

If We Were Really Here, the excellent sophomore effort from The Happies, came out last fall. This one falls under the "indie pop" category.

Pardon me while off go off on a little rant here. I'm kind of rankled by the whole "indie" scene, especially when it comes to power pop. It seems like the latter is a lot more solicitous of the former than the other way around; the impression I get is that the "indie" crowd looks down its nose at power pop. But it's not a two-way street: indie faves like Spoon, The Decemberists, and Sufjan Stevens placed in the Audities Top 20 of 2005 poll, while the only power pop artists that seem to have any indie cred are the New Pornographers and Brendan Benson. And even these examples seem like "cool by association", given that New Pornos feature Dan Bejar of Destroyer, and Benson is Jack White's best buddy. (end rant)

Pitchfork hasn't gotten around to the Happies yet, so I'm not quite sure what the kool kidz think of them, but The Happies seem to be the type of band that could bridge the gulf between the indie and power pop crowds. The closest parallel here is The Shins, to whom the Happies at times sound quite similar. But I also hear some Spoon, some Belle & Sebastian, some Pernice Brothers, and even some Guster. Plus, I enjoyed this one more than either of the Shins albums, both of which were pretty good in their own right. (Perhaps the Happies should send Zach Braff a copy of their album to get on the map.) My favorite track is (surprise) the most power-poppy of the album, the jaunty "Newspaper Friend", which clocks in at 2:12.

Samples? We don't need no stinkin' samples. OK, well maybe we do. First of all, grab this full-length mp3 courtesy of their label:

Sun Don't Shine

Stream three more full-lengths (plus "Sun Don't Shine") at their myspace page.

And of course you can get the 2-minute samples of the rest at cdbaby.

But wait - there's more!

How about their entire debut album, Meet The Happies, as a free mp3 download? Can't beat that, eh? Get it here; scroll down, it's on the right. I only just discovered this while putting together this post, so I have no comment on how good it is, but you can be damn sure I'm going to download it.

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