One of the best new rock bands of the year, Springfield, MO’s Ha Ha Tonka are only one impressive CMJ showing and a few critical raves away from being a buzz band. Think: Drive-by Truckers or the Hold Steady, though Ha Ha Tonka sound only a touch like the former and almost nothing like the latter, aside from a flair for regional specificity. Their debut, “Buckle”, is clever but never smug about it, melodic yet pleasingly rough around the edges, reasonably diverse and cohesive, and smart enough not to wear out its welcome.
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