I originally put off listening to Ha Ha Tonka because of their name. It screamed scene!!! and reeked of dance beats, jarring guitar and atonal vocals. After a trusted blog posted about them, I finally gave in and fed the track “Caney Mountain” through my headphones.

Apparently, rather than referencing the famous yellow metal Tonka truck toys of my youth and the many “ha ha”s that resulted from their use, the band name actually refers to a state park in the the Ozarks of Missouri, and you can hear this influence on their music right away. Far from hipster, Ha Ha Tonka alludes to a much less urban sound than scenes tend to perpetuate. Rough, oft-unenunciated vocals, rocking guitars and and gorgeous four-part harmonies all point to their Midwestern roots. “Caney Mountain” is a rollicking foot-stomper, while “St. Nick On the Fourth in a Fervor”is more dynamic, featuring some awesome four-part harmony climaxes.

Ha Ha Tonka – “Caney Mountain
Ha Ha Tonka – “St. Nick On the Fourth in a Fervor

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