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A Happy Death / Press

“the band stretches things to freakout lengths, as if the UFO Club never shut its doors”

“Brash guitar, boisterous bass and drums and intensifying organ pulse with a swaggering, sonic turbulence that roars with proto-punk energy, garage-rock enthusiasm akin to early Black Keys, and sometimes sounds like Roky Erickson fronting the Pixies.”

“Introducing: A Happy Death, welcomes you into their universe full of polite aggression. The manners only go as far as proper introductions, as their sound never gives way for bowing or waiting for someone else's turn. It sweeps you away on a provoking ride.”

“Like [Ty] Segall and Thee Oh Sees, A Happy Death updates the original ’60s-era sound — amping up the noise to a deafening squall, recalling British art-rockers My Bloody Valentine.”

“this band blazes”

“The reverb is so raw it’s bloody”

“A Happy Death plant their feet firmly in the court of garage-pop madness, seemingly content to thrash away in blissfully psychedelic, noisy bliss”

““Wet Dreams” is a song written in a first person point of view of a guy who is obsessed with a woman who is uninterested. From the first line “we’re skating on thin ice,” or the chorus “I think I’ll go back to sleep, rather be dreaming,” etc, suggests the main character is truly in love with the girl and makes us feel sympathetic for this guy. However, it isn’t until the line “maybe you know how you feel now, all I know, I wanna kill you. I’ll keep your heart, I’ll use an axe.” At that point, it becomes more clear this isn’t really a love song. It’s really about a man who is more of a stalker than a love interest. The creepy janitor in your office building who is slightly attractive, but a total weirdo. He was never with her, never told her his feelings for her. He watches her, dreams about her, maybe even has pictures of her, but she is unaware." - Ryan Lella (interview quote)”

“If you’ve been at all active in Portland’s garage rock scene over the past couple of years you’ve probably come into contact with a volatile act that goes by the name of A Happy Death. Since they first appeared in town they’ve transformed their dissonant and explosive songs into refined movements founded by a tight core beneath their chaotic presentation. These guys (and gal) have proven to be one of the most hard-working bands in town, gigging relentlessly and embarking on multiple national tours.”

“To be authentic in the music industry one has to conquer and find the niche that separates you from the pack. With their crate-load of upbeats and guitars which alternate between aggressive and ethereal, the rumbling garage-rock of A Happy Death are reeking of that soundscape.”

“Portland Oregon sends us their messengers of merry morality, A Happy Death, for a show that promises to cross everything off your bucket list”

“A Happy Death have their first full-length album coming out early next year. It's titled Factory Life, and the lead single "Wet Dreams" is a tangled bedsheet of sound. With singer Ryan Lella hoarsely screaming the verses and a sugar-sweet, tousled chorus of "I think I'll go back to sleep," A Happy Death rounds it out with a pummeling instrumental coda with guitars and organs brandishing the song's major chords like sails. It's a song of unrequited love, where the narrator watches the object of his affections like prey, and where everyone will be better off if the love affair stays confined to his dreams. It's a creepy, terrific song, worthy of several repeat plays.”

“Don’t expect Satanic lyrics and dark music from this Portland quartet.”

“A Happy Death and Boing show at Rontoms was wild. Closest thing I've seen to that level of "don't give a fuck" rocknroll gnarliness at that particular venue is when King Louie got on stage with The CRY! and later fell over, shattering a glass table and all of the glasses sitting on top of it. It was a legitimate rock n roll artistic expression; a musical pissing contest and performance smothered with "don't give a fuck" swagger and playful (?) egos. It was amusing and tense and I'm not sure about Mudrick, but I was definitely entertained. Nobody has done Rontoms like A Happy Death. Suck a mic, break a finger, knock over all of your equipment, sing from your throat, make fun of everything...or put a box on your head, act like a jack ass and make taunting sounds like a 10 year old as the audience wonders just what the fuck is happening...and do it for Satan and sweet baby Jesus. Yea.”

“A Happy Death, Sweet Jesus y'all. I have been a round the musical block more than a couple times but I have never seen a band so insanely intent on melting faces and ripping out spines through sheer rock power. I have probably seen you play 15 times at this point and I don't get tired of it. Probably never will.”

“A Happy Death’s relentless gigging, unrestrained energy and vintage style has catapulted them through the past year and brought them some well-deserved attention in the Portland scene. Their songs are both catchy and chaotic; their style dark and riotous with a touch of noir. Keep an eye on these guys, their psychedelic sounds aren’t showing any signs of slowing down in 2013. ”

"I came five times during your set! Can I buy you guys shots?!"

“A Happy Death's new 7-inch is filled with swirling psychedelic rock, in which guitar, bass, drums, and organ conjure up a rich and slightly terrifying canvas of sound. There's freak-out stomp, shambling story-songs, and wickedly lysergic vocals hollered from beneath a bath of echo. The four-piece, originally from Long Island but now based in Portland, isn't afraid to take some sharp left turns, and the result is Anglophile psychedelic rock with a twist of vital, rusty-knife American blues. They're providing a happy, vicious counterpoint to the status quo of the Portland psychedelic scene that's been languishing in the wake of the Dandy Warhols for the past decade. Instead of coyly mumbling beneath endless piles of overdubbed guitars, A Happy Death isn't afraid to draw blood.”

“LOVE IT TO DEATH—The swirling, psychedelic garage-noir of A Happy Death is aptly named: It's dark, sure, but also an exciting, damn fun time. The Portland-by-way-of-New York quartet's nasty, gnarly jams go from stoned dirges to frenzied freakouts, covering all the gleefully deranged territory in between.”

“A Happy Death has had a busy summer. The four piece surf-infused rock outfit has been spreading their psychedelic nihilism all over town, hitting most every venue you could think of and exciting audiences with one of the most energetic performances you can find in the Portland music scene. The wild drums beats, driving bass lines and vintage keyboard tones are enough to drop the jaw of even the most judgmental hipster, while the howling vocals and painfully distorted guitar tones can whip a crowd into a chaotic frenzy. See them at the Kenton Club this Friday night. You’ll be glad you did.”

“I know a lot of super sweet musicians and bands in pdx. I've got to say - A Happy Death takes me the farthest out of myself when I see them live ... right now. That says a lot - cause I am a hyper-analytical bastard and its hard to let go. Makes me happy... eh ... but with less death”

"You are my new Black Sabbath!"

“Leaving New York for the Oregon rain 2011, A Happy Death took on a new life in Portland. The psychedelic, 60s-garage-rock band made Portland its home and since has released a four-song EP with a full-length album planned. They picked up their current drummer, Matt, in Portland and this current formation of A Happy Death continues to blow the minds of their fans in the metro area. Their fan base spreads across the country –the band booked an entire national tour on their own, without a hitch. Personality makes A Happy Death unique. It’s big thinking and crazy ideas that show in their music. Ryan and Matt described the Kickstarter campaign they plan to start with a goal of $15 billion. They hope to record their next album on the moon with pregnant tigers, so that they could drink tiger milk. They will also hold tiger cubs when they perform from the moon. Ryan was generous enough to give up his tiger cub to the first person to give them a couple billion dollars.”

“Last week, I previewed Mbrascatu, an Americana-Italian band whose music bears no resemblance to A Happy Death—except for Mathieu Lewis-Rolland, the evidently hardworking drummer in both bands. Though he's not A Happy Death's original drummer, the one you hear on their amazing, bizarre self-titled EP. According to the publicity blurb, that guy died from a rattlesnake bite while the band were moving west from Long Island. Though the tragedy predates the EP, it could easily have inspired it—free-wheeling sonic adventurousness run through with a strange darkness. Take "Mr. Rutter," a '60s style doo-wop number about a transgendered man trapped in his life as a factory worker. Everything moves along so sweetly, dripping with reverb, until it devolves into an anguished, spiky jangle. Ryan Lella keeps his androgynous bleat just detached enough to serve as each song's storyteller, expertly narrating threads of retro soul and British psychedelia.”

“Happy Death, another trio, kicks it up the proverbial notch straightaway. Singer's playing a Gibson, has a curious early adolescent voice that somehow works and the opening 2-minute boogie shuffle thingy is a welcome hiccup in the evening. Next is an indie psych, White Stripey garage number though not slavish to any of those adjectives. Though 'now' enough in appearance and attitude, sonically they wouldn't sound out of place on a bill with Mountain in 1969. Confusing? Yeah, but in a quite promising way. They veer from the aforementioned almost T-Rex stylee to plaintive factory town lament to flat out rock assault with punky aggression. I call this a good thing. They aren't plundering the style spectrum for the sake of it but because they can, and it suits them. I'll take the peeling of psyched-up garage riffs over growling sludge any day of the apocalypse.”

“Beginning as just a glimmer in Ryan Lella’s eyes, A Happy Death manages to create a vintage, flower-power homage while still pioneering their modern sound. If their EP makes you want to dance and break shit (…which it will), just wait until you see them live. Their psychedelic tunes drip with reverb, making it nigh impossible not to feel groovy. Although the stoner-rock titans only have an EP out at the moment, they’ve got enough new material to overdose any music-addled mind. I had the opportunity to get chummy with frontman Ryan and drummer Mathieu Lewis-Rolland outside The Tonic Lounge. While freezing on the patio, we talked about their upcoming tour, Jawaiian music and strip clubs. Expect a new album from A Happy Death come January.”

“A Happy Death is unlike anything I have heard produced recently. The band is tough to pigeonhole, but think 60s garage met psychedelic rock and had one helluva love child... ...The terrible thing about this is that it’s only four songs long, and I could do with about 4 times that. Oh well, I’ll just listen to the album on a loop. Problem solved.”

“I was a fan as soon as I saw the song title - 'Nazi Zombies'. I have lost many a drunken/stoned early morning hour trying to kill those WWII undead critters... and this track is just as sordid and dirty, yet wearily addictive. You want to stop you really do - but just one more listen... The playfulness continues with 'Surf Rock Band,' suitably scuzzy, noisy, and smart-arsed. 'Mr Rutter' offers the other facet that such an EP needs - a faux ballad that slumps around the dark alleyways spouting the sour tales of a transvestite factory worker (for real). Then 'Ghost House' kicks the final limb out from under you, leaving your prostate and gagging. The psychedelia that A Happy Death play around with is deeply entrenched in garage rock, like much of today's DIY rock outfits tend to be, but with the right balance of shambolism and anarchism, they have crafted a gritty slice of wanton cheese.”

“This 4 piece based out of Portland by way of NYC, where this single was recorded, sent this in to 7inches HQ, along with a typewritten press release on a honest to god typewriter...something of a clue to this nostalgic heavy reverb spring echo that comes off on the first track, "Nazi Zombies", the single note surf melody is tight, the lead vocal has that cave echo to it, a bouncy Cramps feel with a garage loose execution. I mean I guess Nazi Zombies is a pretty big clue, but instead of the dark creepy vocal, Ryan is yelling himself hoarse which steers this in a weird cap'n jazz direction. "Mr. Rutter" is a slow dance disco ball throwback number, if you listen close he's talking about this gentleman who happens to be a transsexual and hides his life working at the factory. A smooth organ drones happily away along to those big strum reverb chords vibrating. Ryan eventually losses it big time in sympathy with this sad bastard while the backup singers oooo and ahhh.”

“The garage aesthetic is front and center on “Nazi Zombies” with a dirty riff and vocals echo a bit in the back of the mix. Similar in this vein is “Surf Rock Band,” a track that stomps right on through to the end with a harmonized double guitar solo, each panned hard to either side, that is good and noisy. “Ghost House” picks up the pace a little bit, closing the EP on a strong track. My personal favorite is “Mr. Rutter,” a laid back, minor key ballad with a doo-wop swing and well placed vocal harmonies about a down on his luck transvestite factory worker. The tone of this track isn’t far removed from the rest but the clearer vocals push it a bit more towards the sound of MGMT and their “Congratulations” album that found them exploring the sounds of the early psych rock era mixed with a bit of Motown production. A Happy Death play off of those same vibes of psychedelia that are a little rougher around the edges.”

“From Portland, Oregon comes A Happy Death with a new self-titled, 7" vinyl EP. The album begins with "Ghost House," a great raw rocker that brings up similarities to early White Stripes. The song sounds as if is was recorded in one take, without any overdubs and that's exactly what is needed in music today. The song "Mr Rutter" sounds out of place with these other tunes. The slow melody just drags on too much next to the other quick, up-tempo rockers. "Nazi Zombies" is a mix of a surf-guitar with a punk rock beat. The song could be the perfect soundtrack for a B-list horror movie. I like the groove in "Surf Rock Band" if only the vocals were a little more defined, but A Happy Death gives us nice preview on this EP of what's to come from this band.”

“A Happy Death travel down a well worn path of bands crafting vintage garage and psychedelic rock. Fuzzed out guitars, reverb drenched vocals and a touch of organ fuel this gritty update on the genre. A Happy Death are right at home with the likes of the Black Angels and at moments blow past them with some kick ass drumming that the Black Angels always seem to be lacking. They lay it all on the line with “Ghost House” where it becomes clear this band is a force to be reckoned with. If psych is your thing this band is worth your attention.”

“Their sound can be described as vintage with a mix between The Beach Boys and Black Sabbath.”