A Happy Death, Mister Tang and Cambrian Explosion at The Firkin Tavern

Vortex Music Magazine

Break out your tape player, dust it off and listen to A Happy Death's new tape—but first you'll have to swing by The Firkin on Friday, April 4 to pick up a psychedelic copy.

A Happy Death is a fantastic book by Albert Camus.

But in this case, we’re talking about the Portland band that makes psychedelic punk rock with catchy leads. Listening to A Happy Death is like desperately trying to escape a freak show and being antagonized by an omniscient presence during a drug binge—in a good way. Even when the background music seems accessible and relaxed, you will often be jarred by lead singer Ryan Lella’s shrill howls. Smoke some cigarettes, get tuberculosis and have a happy death. They’re releasing a tape/digital download on Friday, April 4 at The Firkin, so buy it or something.

Mister Tang is for stoners and that’s okay. They play a more lo-fi psychedelic rock that’s pretty easy to listen to and pretty good overall. Sometimes, they get a little crazy and that’s fun too. Mister Tang reminds me of this time I got in a shoot-out in El Paso… or was it just the drugs? Expect reverb, twang, fast drums, droning, chirps and—did I mention drugs?

I feel like we’re progressively winding down in psychedelia. Cambrian Explosion is psych rock, but it’s definitely the most laid back of the group. A Happy Death is often loud and angry, Mister Tang is less loud and less angry, and Cambrian Explosion is relaxed and sometimes ethereal. Cambrian Explosion is like having college jazz students play The Doors or Jimi Hendrix: It’s good, it shows technical talent, and it has a nice flow to it.

Since it’s all psychedelic-esque music, we’ll just assign the appropriate drug to each:

A Happy Death: DMT

Mister Tang: Acid or mushrooms

Cambrian Explosion: Weed

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