Teens are running the show these days. Hell, even the Pope knows they’re “wealth” incarnate. Jaden Smith the 17-year-old, gender-bending style icon is rewriting men’s fashion; Tavi Gevinson, media mogul, Broadway bb, and feminist fashion critic, at 19, is old as shit; and untold numbers of internet celebrities/ Vine stars/YouTube divas exist just to make you feel so out of touch. So it’s no surprise that at least two local bands– TEEN and The Teen Age– are joining in the Adolescent Revolt. With both of them releasing new material, your addled, aging mind is bound to get them confused, so allow us to help out.
The Teenage is a Brooklyn-based foursome that dishes out sugar-sweet, cotton candy puff– once it gets stuck in your head, you’re screwed. Their “doo wop garage” songs swing and sway with bear-footed innocence, young heartbreak, and arrested development. But don’t be fooled by the sunny pep of a song like “Low Cunning”– it’s about some dude getting hit by a train and going about his business covered in blood.
TEEN are adept at a certain kind of languid art pop– it’s ethereal, other worldly stuff, and super-fem almost to the point of being witchy. But at the same rate, these four ladies are powerful weird-pop maestros. “Tokyo” sounds like ’80s David Bowie trapped in a video game. It’s throwback music with an ET-era spaceship sensibility, and yet one that occasionally lands back on earth to reconnect with nature or whatever.
The Teen Age’s debut EP, recorded at Converse Rubber Tracks studio in Williamsburg, will be released March 4 by PaperCup Music. The title, Bad Seed, probably isn’t a nod to Nick Cave– there isn’t a hint of true darkness here, just a Replacements sort of mischief.
TEEN’s new track, “Please,” was premiered by ultimate teenage web rag Rookie late last month. Their double LP, Love Yes, drops on Friday, Feb. 19 (but right now you can stream it in its entirety over at Nylon). To find the creative energy and inspiration to make the record, some of the members split for Kentucky to hole up in a romantic cabin on a lake and comprehend the depths of the universe.
TEEN’s founding members got together in Brooklyn a few years back and started releasing their recordings in 2012 via Carpark Records, first with In Limbo and 2014’s The Way and Color. But don’t call these decidedly non-adolescent women of TEEN a “Brooklyn band“– they much prefer to be associated with the Lieberson sisters’ hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia, where they laid down some tracks for the album. (Don’t let that turn you off: Teeny assured the Baltimore Sun she’s “not really writing sea shanties.”)
Teen Age are typical of a Brooklyn band in that they’re “from all over,” according to a Village Voice interview. Guitarist Matthew Degorio, as “a surfer from California,” is the odd one out. The rest of the guys are from the East Coast: other guitarist Micah Weisberg is a Bostonian, drummer Nick Brooks is from Cape Cod, and bassist Bill Dvorak used to call New Jersey home.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
The Teen Age’s new album was “written as an ode to growing older,” according to a promo description. It’s about “reaching a certain age where everything you did when you were younger finally starts catching up to you, and you’re faced with two choices – either double down, or try to figure out how to overcome your demons.” Will The Teenage follow the left-hand path and order more pizza pies? Or partner up with the way/the truth and get a desk job? Given that they described themselves to the Voice as a “drinking band,” we’ve got a pretty good guess.
TEEN bears the non-diminutive name of its guitar player and front woman Teeny Lieberson. In fact, the band is something of a family affair– Teeny’s two sisters, Lizzie (plays keys and contributes vocals) and Katherine (drums) are also on the squad. Their pal Boshra AlSaadi, who plays bass and sings as well, is the only non-family member. But they all share in songwriting duties, choosing to switch it up and collaborate rather than leave it all up to one person. For instance, Lizzie wrote “Please,” a track off their new album, which ended up being a deeply personal exploration of her womanness and what sounds like a shitty end to a relationship.
WHERE TO SEE THEM
The Teen Age plays Union Pool on Friday, Feb. 19, Pianos on Tuesday, Feb. 23, and Mercury Lounge on Monday, March 3.
TEEN is off touring the US.