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Death of a Decade

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Ha Ha Tonka: Desire, Revulsion And Obsessive Longing

Ha Ha Tonka: Desire, Revulsion And Obsessive Longing

Death of a Decade

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In "Usual Suspects," the Missouri band Ha Ha Tonka busts out of the gates like classic Replacements on an Ozark bender. Calvin Engel hide caption

toggle caption Calvin Engel

In "Usual Suspects," the Missouri band Ha Ha Tonka busts out of the gates like classic Replacements on an Ozark bender.

Calvin Engel

Wednesday's Pick

Song: "Usual Suspects"

Artist: Ha Ha Tonka

CD: Death of a Decade

Genre: Folk-Rock

In "Usual Suspects," the opening track from Death of a Decade, the Missouri band Ha Ha Tonka busts out of the gates like classic Replacements on an Ozark bender. Premised on a killer riff, a great beat and singer Brian Roberts' throaty roar, Ha Ha Tonka may have created the catchiest mandolin-driven rock song since "Losing My Religion."

"Usual Suspects" reflects the hothouse passions that run deep and familiar to anyone who has ever lived in the close quarters of a small community. Roberts narrates the fraught and indignant emotions of a would-be paramour, faced with competition for his affections from friends and rivals alike: "In this little town, oh, she's such a scandal / Nobody gonna get a handle on her / If you lay it down, oh, it ain't a gamble / It's the surest thing going on around here." Desire, revulsion and obsessive longing — it's love, American style, courtesy of a terrific Missouri band with deep musical roots in its regional traditions.

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Death of a Decade

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Album
Death of a Decade
Artist
Ha Ha Tonka
Label
Bloodshot
Released
2011

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