Now granted, the meowing went completely past my ears the very first time I heard “My Wet Tongue” at a Happy Hollows live gig in San Francisco two summers ago – all I could remember from the damn song was Sarah Negahdari’s rhythmic panting, completely out of context of course. And yet, it mattered not. They had me with “Lieutenant,” Sarah’s Eddie Van Halen-cum-“Bohemian Rhapsody” pixie-prog-punk freakout. But at closer examination, “My Wet Tongue” sealed the deal. Knowing that Sarah’s really a cat could only mean one thing: I really need to see a professional about these bestial cravings.
All joking aside, there’s really nothing sinister at all about “My Wet Tongue,” the first gleeful “b-side” in a pay-what-you-want triple shot of downloads just released by the Happy Hollows. So maybe it’s not quite as charmingly cute as the original, recorded-in-a-flash version from the band’s 2006 EP Bunnies & Bombs. But while it loses some rawness in its re-recorded state, it gains a sonic luster that puts it on par with the recordings that make up the band’s utterly fantastic debut full-length album, Spells. Which, by the way, can now be purchased just about anywhere that has a connection to the internet, for those of you who weren’t lucky enough to obtain it directly from the band at one of their shows last fall. Thank you, Autumn Tone Records.
Of course, this little set of digital goodies comes at what you’d expect would be yet another happy touring cycle, and this one looks like it could become an epic study of contrasts. Sarah and her cohorts Chris Hernandez (drums) and Charlie Mahoney (bass) are set to play a string of west coast dates, from San Francisco on down to Tuscon, opening for the considerably less sprightly and more melodramatic Canadian collective The Besnard Lakes. It promises to be the aural equivalent of drinking a Red Bull and chasing it with Crown Royal. Or as Sarah might say, “purrrrrr.”
What of the other b-sides in this new triple shot? “Colors” is the band’s meditation on green, red, yellow, purple, blue… you get the idea. For all the times Charlie and Chris have been likened to Fugazi’s rhythm section, this is the tune that bears the D.C. mark the most. As for “Big Bad Wolf,” the song’s video says far more than I ever could. Strangely enough, of all the wildly imaginative, child-like scenes that the band flies through during the song’s two and a half minutes, it’s the candy corn campfire in the clouds that’s edging towards “best ever psychedelic image” status in my mind. No need for ‘shrooms, kids. You’re already there.
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The Happy Hollows tour dates with the Besnard Lakes:
May 10: The Independent – San Francisco, CA
May 11: The Cellar Door – Visalia, CA
May 12: The Casbah – San Diego, CA
May 13: The Troubadour – Los Angeles, CA
May 14: Sail Inn – Tempe, AZ
May 15: Plush – Tucson, AZ
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