The Happy Maladies
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The Happy Maladies

Cincinnati, Ohio, United States | SELF

Cincinnati, Ohio, United States | SELF
Band Folk Acoustic

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Solid Indie Chamber Folk group The Happy Maladies will unleash their first new material in three years this Saturday in conjunction with a release party at Rohs Street Café in Clifton Heights. The band will be joined by former local singer/songwriter/artist Matthew Shelton (now working out of Chicago) for the 8:30 p.m. event. Admission is $2.

Though only four tracks, The Happy Maladies’ New Again EP is a fascinating snapshot of the current-day Maladies and shows how far their adventurous instincts have taken them (the band began in 2008 as a wannabe Gypsy Jazz/Swing ensemble). On the group’s first new recordings since the 2009 debut full-length Sun Shines the Little Children, the Maladies gracefully settle into their unique sound — a progressive mix of Appalachian Roots, Neo-Classical Chamber music and modern Indie Folk.

Don’t be fooled by the brevity of the EP; the 23 minutes of music on New Again has more depth and intricacies than most long-players. The four tracks are like Classical compositions, taking the listener on a sonic adventure that combines orchestral twist and turns with more traditional “song” components (and some incredible melodies and harmonies). Like some sort of dream supergroup featuring members of Grizzly Bear, the Flecktones, Kronos Quartet and The Books, the Maladies manage a sound that winds through psychedelic passages, Classical interludes and intimate Folk melodics — all through the course of one track. The musicians in The Happy Maladies sound like virtuosos at times on New Again, but it’s the song arrangements’ expansiveness and broad use of different colors and tones that will keep listeners coming back for repeated listens.

Visit thehappymaladies.com for more on the group and thehappymaladies.bandcamp.com to preview/download the new EP. You can also check out a great video version of the EP’s title track below, performed live at the historic Emery Theatre in Over-the-Rhine. Part of the “Emery Sessions,” featuring various local acts performing in the renovated theater, the videos are posted on the YouTube channel “cincinnatirecording” (link). - Citybeat


When certain people enter our lives, the connection is immediate, radiant. Light hitting the surface of water. Like shipmates on the high seas, we sometimes share brilliant, slightly rebellious bonds. Easy sparks. We think the same things at the same time. Add music to the mix and another dream-soaked level emerges. Ask The Happy Maladies.

Never thought we'd end up here. Tucked between creepy alleys, there lurks the art house, Murmur. Outside, black streets, dead quiet.
But climb the steep stairs, step inside and another secret world unfolds. Busted windows here and there, it seems that we've broken in somewhere. Upstairs, stifling air. A half-demolished chair sits wrecked on the floor, a sculpture of sorts. The crowd is sprawled out across the ground -- some pink hair types. Some natural roots. A dusty Neverland.

The Happy Maladies -- all students at Cincinnati's College Conservatory of Music -- come together this night, letting loose. Their sound: A theatrical Björk camps out with spider-fingers Django Reinhardt, deep-throated Johnny Cash and the word-vacuum, Bob Dylan. Tricky talent meets sword-edge-sharp delivery.

Scratch that. The feeling is this: we're all in this together. And The Happy Maladies are in this together. Not only do they perform together and attend the same school, they all live together. With a blood-worthy camaraderie, they bonded over a common love of Folk and gypsy Jazz. Mixing years of performance experience with passion, the result is an intelligent, soulful treasure.

A guitar major, Stephen Patota says, "Because we're such good friends, we strive to get better and it really improves the music." Patota (mandolin, guitar, voice) joins us from Philly via Web cam, peering through black-framed glasses and shaggy brown hair.

Abby Cox nods. "We're group-focused rather than individual-focused. It's very much a family." A drama major, dark-eyed Cox (voice) has been involved with choir and voice lessons for years. From Memphis, Cox has glowy skin and a love for Patsy Cline.

Eddy Kwon (fiddle, voice) admits, "We haven't really left the apartment in three weeks. We don't want to think about being apart, so we haven't." A violin major with a love for Folk and Punk, spiky-haired Kwon's straight-legged jeans are slightly rolled up.

Curly-headed Ben Thomas (guitar, voice) says that his songs typically come through personal experience: "They come from girls and real experiences with girls." Thomas chuckles, shrugging. From Columbus, he's a guitar major with Jazz background.

Also in the Jazz department, Peter Gemus (bass) started on trumpet, moving on to upright bass. Wearing baggy jeans and a winter hat, Gemus appears thoughtfully gentle, with a playful eye. On one forearm, tattooed words peek out, scripted across his skin.

With influences ranging from The Soggy Bottom Boys to Stephane Grappelli, when Cox's traditionally smooth voice intertwines with Kwon's Classical-turned-Punk sound, the harmonies bleed into an unexpected rich mix. If Thomas takes the lead, we fall into aching, arrow-piercing Folk. Engaging technique and wicked improvisation make this band worthy of a lasting, curious stare. Abundant talent, yes, but it's their playful release that keeps the crowd hooked.

Gemus says, "The reason why a lot of our songs are so different is that there's a certain level of improvisation. In each song, someone is brought to the forefront."

Raising a left brow, Patota adds, "One person brings in a song, and it's always a collaborative effort."

"As a violinist and studying classical music, there's been a lot of emphasis on technique. This group became an escape from that," Kwon explains.

Cox smiles. "I'm the opposite from Eddy," she says. "He has such great technique and I only do it by ear. Maybe we have our own language now."

"It's a balance between the two," Thomas agrees.

If any band could coin the term "Gypsy Pop," this one could. But there's more to it than labels -- like Murmur, The Happy Maladies capture a bare feeling, a raw hope alluding to the promise of expansion to come. Live, they call a mutiny on technique, embracing improvisational chaos. Here we have determined, smiling sound pirates.

http://citybeat.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A146053 - C.A. MacConnell, CityBeat


When certain people enter our lives, the connection is immediate, radiant. Light hitting the surface of water. Like shipmates on the high seas, we sometimes share brilliant, slightly rebellious bonds. Easy sparks. We think the same things at the same time. Add music to the mix and another dream-soaked level emerges. Ask The Happy Maladies.

Never thought we'd end up here. Tucked between creepy alleys, there lurks the art house, Murmur. Outside, black streets, dead quiet.
But climb the steep stairs, step inside and another secret world unfolds. Busted windows here and there, it seems that we've broken in somewhere. Upstairs, stifling air. A half-demolished chair sits wrecked on the floor, a sculpture of sorts. The crowd is sprawled out across the ground -- some pink hair types. Some natural roots. A dusty Neverland.

The Happy Maladies -- all students at Cincinnati's College Conservatory of Music -- come together this night, letting loose. Their sound: A theatrical Björk camps out with spider-fingers Django Reinhardt, deep-throated Johnny Cash and the word-vacuum, Bob Dylan. Tricky talent meets sword-edge-sharp delivery.

Scratch that. The feeling is this: we're all in this together. And The Happy Maladies are in this together. Not only do they perform together and attend the same school, they all live together. With a blood-worthy camaraderie, they bonded over a common love of Folk and gypsy Jazz. Mixing years of performance experience with passion, the result is an intelligent, soulful treasure.

A guitar major, Stephen Patota says, "Because we're such good friends, we strive to get better and it really improves the music." Patota (mandolin, guitar, voice) joins us from Philly via Web cam, peering through black-framed glasses and shaggy brown hair.

Abby Cox nods. "We're group-focused rather than individual-focused. It's very much a family." A drama major, dark-eyed Cox (voice) has been involved with choir and voice lessons for years. From Memphis, Cox has glowy skin and a love for Patsy Cline.

Eddy Kwon (fiddle, voice) admits, "We haven't really left the apartment in three weeks. We don't want to think about being apart, so we haven't." A violin major with a love for Folk and Punk, spiky-haired Kwon's straight-legged jeans are slightly rolled up.

Curly-headed Ben Thomas (guitar, voice) says that his songs typically come through personal experience: "They come from girls and real experiences with girls." Thomas chuckles, shrugging. From Columbus, he's a guitar major with Jazz background.

Also in the Jazz department, Peter Gemus (bass) started on trumpet, moving on to upright bass. Wearing baggy jeans and a winter hat, Gemus appears thoughtfully gentle, with a playful eye. On one forearm, tattooed words peek out, scripted across his skin.

With influences ranging from The Soggy Bottom Boys to Stephane Grappelli, when Cox's traditionally smooth voice intertwines with Kwon's Classical-turned-Punk sound, the harmonies bleed into an unexpected rich mix. If Thomas takes the lead, we fall into aching, arrow-piercing Folk. Engaging technique and wicked improvisation make this band worthy of a lasting, curious stare. Abundant talent, yes, but it's their playful release that keeps the crowd hooked.

Gemus says, "The reason why a lot of our songs are so different is that there's a certain level of improvisation. In each song, someone is brought to the forefront."

Raising a left brow, Patota adds, "One person brings in a song, and it's always a collaborative effort."

"As a violinist and studying classical music, there's been a lot of emphasis on technique. This group became an escape from that," Kwon explains.

Cox smiles. "I'm the opposite from Eddy," she says. "He has such great technique and I only do it by ear. Maybe we have our own language now."

"It's a balance between the two," Thomas agrees.

If any band could coin the term "Gypsy Pop," this one could. But there's more to it than labels -- like Murmur, The Happy Maladies capture a bare feeling, a raw hope alluding to the promise of expansion to come. Live, they call a mutiny on technique, embracing improvisational chaos. Here we have determined, smiling sound pirates.

http://citybeat.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A146053 - C.A. MacConnell, CityBeat


"If there was an MVP of the entire festival, it would be, for me, The Happy Maladies. Rich with texture, the band sounds like old time music while being wholly inventive and rejuvenating everyone within ear shot. Classically trained but contemporarily inspired, The Happy Maladies make beautiful music that can be enjoyed by anyone. It is artful and fun. It brings out the best feelings in the listener."

full article can be read at http://altohio.com/clifton-heights-music-festival.htm - Shawn Braley- AltOhio.com


Voted #3 in Best Local Band

article at http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/article-20252-reader-picks.html - Cincy Readers- CityBeat


When I told Eddy Kwon, vocalist and fiddler of The Happy Maladies, that I'd like to write about his band, he invited me over for dinner.

I arrived and was greeted by the entire group, gathered in the kitchen; some were cooking, others washing dishes, some sitting and smoking, but they were all talking.

See, the Happy Maladies live together.

"My name is on the mailbox," said vocalist Abby Cox, "but I don't pay rent."

When dinner was ready, the band gathered around the table. We had a creamy pumpkin soup, prepared by Peter Gemus, the upright bassist and vocalist.

Next were sandwiches of foccacia bread, homemade hummus, spinach and sliced tomato. Everything was served together on one communal plate and everyone took his or her share.

Their music (much like their meal) is entirely group oriented; yet each element is completely recognizable and unique in its own regard. Some aspects stand out at certain moments, but the experience is delicious in its entirety.

On Tuesday, Sept. 23, Nicholas Megalis was scheduled to headline a show at the Mad Frog on McMillan and Vine Street.

The tickets read "Nicholas Megalis with special guests The Happy Maladies", but when pre-sale ticket figures were established, The Happy Maladies upstaged Megalis. So, Nicholas Megalis ended up opening for The Happy Maladies.

Their set started with a dissonant wail of Eddy's bow across his violin, followed by muted staccato plucks of Ben Thomas' guitar, weaving a honeyed melody around the rhythmic strum of Stephen Patota's mandolin.

Their slow, minor-key ditty progressed into a desolately beautiful passage, then the whole group came together and surprised the audience with just how much sonic-power could come from four stringed instruments and five throats.

With a drove of enthusiastic friends and fans, the night belonged all to The Happy Maladies. It was only their fifth show together.

They make music, meals and conversation together. They're both musically and socially a band, which explains why their jazzy gypsy-folk music is so tight, so well executed. The fact that they're CCM students also lends advantage to your weary ears.

They have a four song EP available and are working on a full length that is expected to be out later this winter.

http://media.www.newsrecord.org/media/storage/paper693/news/2008/09/25/ArtsEntertainment/JazzFolk.Group.Are.Cure.For.The.Common.Band-3451744.shtml - Sean Peters, The News Record


When I told Eddy Kwon, vocalist and fiddler of The Happy Maladies, that I'd like to write about his band, he invited me over for dinner.

I arrived and was greeted by the entire group, gathered in the kitchen; some were cooking, others washing dishes, some sitting and smoking, but they were all talking.

See, the Happy Maladies live together.

"My name is on the mailbox," said vocalist Abby Cox, "but I don't pay rent."

When dinner was ready, the band gathered around the table. We had a creamy pumpkin soup, prepared by Peter Gemus, the upright bassist and vocalist.

Next were sandwiches of foccacia bread, homemade hummus, spinach and sliced tomato. Everything was served together on one communal plate and everyone took his or her share.

Their music (much like their meal) is entirely group oriented; yet each element is completely recognizable and unique in its own regard. Some aspects stand out at certain moments, but the experience is delicious in its entirety.

On Tuesday, Sept. 23, Nicholas Megalis was scheduled to headline a show at the Mad Frog on McMillan and Vine Street.

The tickets read "Nicholas Megalis with special guests The Happy Maladies", but when pre-sale ticket figures were established, The Happy Maladies upstaged Megalis. So, Nicholas Megalis ended up opening for The Happy Maladies.

Their set started with a dissonant wail of Eddy's bow across his violin, followed by muted staccato plucks of Ben Thomas' guitar, weaving a honeyed melody around the rhythmic strum of Stephen Patota's mandolin.

Their slow, minor-key ditty progressed into a desolately beautiful passage, then the whole group came together and surprised the audience with just how much sonic-power could come from four stringed instruments and five throats.

With a drove of enthusiastic friends and fans, the night belonged all to The Happy Maladies. It was only their fifth show together.

They make music, meals and conversation together. They're both musically and socially a band, which explains why their jazzy gypsy-folk music is so tight, so well executed. The fact that they're CCM students also lends advantage to your weary ears.

They have a four song EP available and are working on a full length that is expected to be out later this winter.

http://media.www.newsrecord.org/media/storage/paper693/news/2008/09/25/ArtsEntertainment/JazzFolk.Group.Are.Cure.For.The.Common.Band-3451744.shtml - Sean Peters, The News Record


Discography

LP, Sun Shines the Little Children (2009)

EP, new again (July of 2012)

Photos

Bio

Since Spring of 2008, The Happy Maladies have been living, loving, and learning in their home of Cincinnati, Ohio. The quartet met in the Queen City and began a group in the model of a Django Reinhardt cover band, but it was not long before the band started writing originals and took off on a new tangent. Using nothing except acoustic instruments and wild hearts, they tend to concoct unnamable moods in the bellies of their listeners and aim at presenting a comfortable and welcoming ambiance wherever they go.

The Happy Maladies are in the midst of recording and mixing their sophomore album, "Panic at the Picnic" through Curtis Inc. studios and Jacob Tippey. The release date for the upcoming record is early July!