Saturday, October 04, 2014

Teenanger Chris Swimmings Interview & Show # 529

Toronto’s Teenanger released their fourth album EP LP on September 9th, 2014, featuring Chris Swimmings (vocals), Melissa Ball (bass), Jon Schouten (guitar) and Steve Sidol on drums.  EP LP comes shortly after 2013’s Singles Don’t $ell which featured the band exploring the deeper elements of the new wave and post punk genres of the late 70s/early 80s. The album’s title once again is a play on music release formats, this one being EP LP, a release in the middle of a full-length album and an EP perhaps. Its title could also be seen as the band’s sound on this release, which is a cross between 2012’s Frights & 2013’s Singles Don’t $ell.  Musically the album is aggressive and at times more relaxed, but it still has an undeniable sleazy grime to it.

“Fly On The Wall” starts off this release from Teenanger. The song displays the band’s wiry post punk influenced garage sound, while lyrically it conveys something else. With words such as “You’re just a fly on the wall/You eavesdrop” and other themes that pop up in the verses of this track, it seems to be a comment on our social media dominated society. “Sky Saxon” attacks with its synthesizer-like riffs and lyrics that seem to be homage to The Seeds front man Sky Saxon lyrically, as it addresses his popularity as opposed to Michael Jackson. “Twisted” bends with its deep bass groove that locks in with the drums as the guitar fills in the gaps, while vocalist Chris Swimmings sings in a lower register. The song is also notable for its saxophone solo, which clocks in around the one minute and 30 second mark. The solo sounds eerily reminiscent of the saxophone in post punk band Magazine’s early song “My Mind Ain’t So Open”.

“Mild Survival” is the first song to be sung by Teenanger bassist Melissa Ball and features a sludgy bassline with sugarcoated vocals, while “Think About It” follows next as one of the album’s first singles. The song sneaks in like a monster jumping out from the primordial ooze of a late 80s Horror B-movie. It lyrically seems to tell the story of impatience and indecision amongst the scratchy guitars and distorted vocals. “The Sequel” is one of the longer tracks found on this album. It sounds at times like it could have come from 2010’s Give Me Pink as it bounces back and forth between up-tempo walls of guitar riff fury, mid-tempo driving bass and solid steady drums as vocals are executed in a creepy drawl. “Negative Zeros” is a rant about minimum wage and drinking in sub zero degree weather. Guitar work by Jon Schouten on this track sounds like it could have been played by Keith Levene while sliding on ice.

The final track on EP LP is the slow and sludgy “Hot Rods At The Loser Convention”. As the primal bass and drums pound away and the guitars slice and stab in the background, Swimmings sings of cliques, jocks and so called “cool” kids in a sneering satirical tone. Some are calling this track a loser anthem. The sound on this album is one that is difficult to describe specifically, it is the sound of a band in their element. On EP LP the new wave/post punk influence from previous albums is still apparent, but there seems to be more voluminous guitar riffs that are like shards of shrapnel. Basslines sound thick and at times fuzz addled, as analog sounding drums, snotty vocals by Chris Swimmings and backing vocals provided by Melissa Ball add to the overall battlefield of dynamics found here. With EP LP Teenanger does not misfire. Throughout this nine-track launch the band hones their sound and are right on target.

Listen to the interview that I did with Teenanger vocalist Chris Swimmings here:

Note: The album review in this post was previously posted here.

Saturday Night Play List:

1. The Seeds - Try To Understand
2. The Arrogants - Drunky Blues
3. Motel Beds - These Are The Days Gone By
4. The Gruesomes - Hypnotized
5. Crazy Rhythm Daddies - Deep Ellum Blues
6. The Nature Boys - Can’t Think
7. The Rural Alberta Advantage - This City
8. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs - Communication
9. Iceage - The Lord's Favorite
10. White Lung - Just For You
11. Metz - Rats
12. Teenanger - Fly On The Wall
13. Teenanger - Sky Saxon

Teenanger Chris Swimmings Interview

14. Teenanger - Power Trip
15. King Tuff - Sick Mind
16. DOA -New Age
17. Verdix - Lookin’ Around You
18. Female Hands - Annarea
19. Cellos - Mass Production Scheme
20. King Khan & The Shrines - Darkness
21. The Sonics - Don’t You Just Know It
22. Ex-Hex - Hot And Cold
23. Tweedy - World Away
24. The Oblivians - Call The Police
25. The Adverts - Quick Step
26. The Ruts -Bablylon’s Burning

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for October 4. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

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