Nearly 15 years after it was recorded, Bush Tetras’ 1998 album Happy is finally getting a release. The band, an under-famous staple of the New York post-punk scene, formed in 1979, breaking up and reuniting several times, most recently getting together in 2007. The record, produced by Don Fleming (Sonic Youth, The Screaming Trees), fell into release-and-copyright hell when original distributor Mercury was sold.
Fugazi-ish guitar, fuzzy distortion, and melodic shouting are all present on album opener “Heart Attack,” but there are threats of something heavier. A thump lurks in the bass line, and vocalist Cynthia Sley has a leash on it, going from pixie-sweet singing to just south of a scream before letting the guitar take control. It’s a bit of very ’90s rock, and unlike the bands who’ve taken to imitating that decade’s earnestness in recent years, this is the real thing.