London slacker-rock trio Happyness have encountered their fair share of new bands on the road in the months since their debut album ‘Weird Little Birthday’, spent touring on both sides of the Atlantic. We asked the group’s Jonny Allan to fill us in on some of the best he’s encountered…
Everything we know about Monterey Jackson is based on a 25-minute encounter in a pet shop in Luxembourg and a lot of (probably pretty inaccurate) extrapolation. The shop’s focus was around 89 per cent domestic pets, one per cent axolotls and 10 per cent MJ merchandise: a career’s worth of recorded material on USB sticks, a few surplus litter-trays full of hand-written stories and about five pairs of badly knitted children’s socks with the words ‘Cut’ and ‘Pasted’ written on left and right respectively. Who were this band? We still don’t really know now. We didn’t talk to the owner much (he was busy with a hard-sell when we came in), but at the till he turned out to be Monterey Jackson’s uncle. The USB stick we bought sounds amazing, although finding much online by them is proving somewhat difficult at present. It also came taped to a short story called The Word That Was Cut But Never Pasted, which begins, “There once was a word that was cut but never pasted. And all the other words, passing him on the clipboard, would shrug as if to say: ‘Any second now!'”. All in all it’s an intriguing, confusing gem.
Something you definitely can hear comes recommended by our drummer, Ash. He saw Hovvdy (pronounced Howdy) at the Helios co-op in Austin during SXSW. They seem to have an innate sense of exactly how much to throw at a song, have an EP out on Drip Tapes and have a kind of sputtering quality to the drums that we’re very envious of and want to know how to do.
Support bands have a habit of falling down stairs the day before our shows – luckily Plastic Animals didn’t. We played with them at Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh. They are currently recording an album but check out ‘Burial Party’ to find out what an “atmospheric punk rock sludge ensemble” sounds like. It’s a working vibe.
Danger Ron And The Spins
‘Johnny Boy’ by Danger Ron And The Spins is a fantastic song. We hung out at their studio one night after we played with them in St Paul, Minnesota and pretty much spent it skateboarding shakily and trying to weigh enough to register on industrial goods scales. They didn’t play ‘Johnny Boy’ live, like how Elton John doesn’t play ‘Candle In The Wind’ (presumably).
We also hung out with Pope at SXSW, where they were branded – correctly – “most likely to invite their parents to a show”. The song ‘Will Taylor’ gets kinda intimate (“I want to be a thought in your head”). They recently brought out their debut album ‘Fiction’ (ie, ‘Pope Fiction’): check it out!