From grunge rock’s wasteland of rubble arose The Black Keys and Jack White’s White Stripes during the early 2000s.
They spawned a revolution of melodic manglers that includes New Jersey’s Happy Fits.
Experience The Happy Fits on July 11 at the Abingdon Market Pavilion in Abingdon, Virginia. Presented by the Abingdon Music Experience, the trio headlines Thursday Jams. Bristol’s jelly-sweet duo, Virginia West, open the evening.
“The Happy Fits, we are a rock band with a cello,” said Calvin Langman, by phone from Blairsville, Georgia. “It’s energetic and catchy music.”
Langman and Ross Monteith met in high school. Monteith played rock guitar, Langman the cello. Unlikely as it seems, they bonded on ragged-edged rock of The Arctic Monkeys and The Black Keys.
A shared affinity for crisp melodies and crunching guitar led to the formation of The Happy Fits.
“Me and Ross met in high school, had the same Latin class together,” Langman, 21, said. “We were Facebook friends. He posted videos of himself playing covers on guitar. I was playing classical. We started getting together.”
Opposites work throughout rock ‘n’ roll history. Witness John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. As with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, The Happy Fits began as a covers-heavy band in 2016.
“After a while, we thought it would be cooler if we had our own songs,” Langman said. “Now it’s almost all original songs that we play.”
The Happy Fits recorded a four-song EP, “Awfully Apeelin’,” in 2016.
“We released it to Spotify for our friends and family,” Langman said. “Then we went to college.”
No big deal. Only thing and unbeknownst to them, a huge deal spun online while they hunkered down in college. Soon enough, life altered course for The Happy Fits.
“Our song, ‘While You Fade Away,’ ended up at No. 5 on Spotify’s top 50 most viral songs,” Langman said. “It was a crazy feeling, to be taken seriously. Ross quit school after his first semester. I left after two semesters.”
Having added a drummer, The Happy Fits acquired management and bookings. They hit the road with four songs and a wide open future ahead. Last year, their debut album, the melodically dripping “Concentrate,” dropped worldwide.
“Every song has a catchy chorus,” Langman said. “Some people think our album is all over the place in terms of sound, but they all have memorable melodies.”
Swipe a listen to “Best Tears.” Its Beatles-esque drapery hangs as if from a window into the British invaders’ early days of the 1960s.
“Definitely,” Langman said. “The chord progressions, it’s very much like pop music of the 1960s. Definitely The Beatles. That’s what we were going for on some of the tracks of the album. It’s just good ole rock ‘n’ roll.”
Time capsule samplers, The Happy Fits weave The Beatles of the ’60s with The Black Keys of the 2000s. Heavy threads of melodies bind the notes with taut vocals and guitars with pointed lyrics. Applied through a quirky lens of today, The Happy Fits result.
“It’s rock ‘n’ roll. That’s what we want to be called,” Langman said. “That’s what I feel when I play bar chords on a cello. Nod your head, tap your feet.”