Release Date: Aug 28, 2012
Record label: Carpark Records
Genre(s): Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Pop, Neo-Psychedelia
Singer Teenie Lieberson, her two sisters and another pal convened last year in Brooklyn with one apparent mission: Imagine space rock as it might've sounded before the moon landing, in the time of girl groups and garage bands. Their first full-length grooves on the easy symmetry of unfussy harmonies and dead-simple, no-hurry guitar, drum, and keyboard parts well buttered with reverb. (Pete Kember, of the echo-happy Spacemen 3, produced.
“Better,” the first track on In Limbo, the debut LP of Brooklyn-based TEEN, features the chorus “I’ll do it better than anybody else.” Bold? Yes. A challenge? Definitely. The female foursome featuring Here We Go Magic’s Teeny Lieberson (with her sisters Lizzie and Katherine, and Jane Herships) thrives on these kind of straightforward lyrics and Lieberson’s musical prowess and ambition.
Former Here We Go Magic keyboardist Kristina “Teeny” Lieberson moved on to front her own project, and every detail in the TEEN bio seems tailor-made for home-brewed nostalgia. She’s got her sisters Katherine and Lizze on board, as well as long-time friend Jane Herships. The band name screams youthful heartbreak and fervor, and the rich synths and smoky vocals evoke John Hughes soundtracks.
Here’s sound advice: if you think the drum sound on TEEN’s In Limbo is too teeny, turn it up until the drums sound normal. You’ll then be subjected to almost an hour of ear-splitting psych-drone-space-rock, and at some point you may lose your tether to reality and start floating through a thick snarl of noise. That seems to be the goal of the Brooklyn quartet and their producer, Spacemen 3’s Sonic Boom (aka Pete Kember).
With the independent music scene’s current youthful, nostalgia driven economy, it may come to a surprise to some that the all-female dream-pop group TEEN, which formed back in 2011 and are now readying their debut full-length In Limbo, derive their name not from the wonders of adolescence, but from the namesake of the group’s main singer-songwriter, Teeny Lieberson, who’s also known for her work as keyboardist for Here We Go Magic. This isn’t to imply, however, that TEEN acts as a solo-project. Despite the group donning the name of its key member, TEEN operates mainly as a full-fledged band with its own purpose, and with a new band comes new territory to explore.
In Limbo, the title of TEEN's Carpark debut, reveals that the band is nothing if not self-aware. Fronted by former Here We Go Magic member Teeny Lieberson, the group has sonic ties to many of its other female-driven contemporaries; while shades of the Vivian Girls' girl group-fueled noise pop, the tribal electronics of Telepathe, and Warpaint's psychedelic vistas can be heard on this set of songs, TEEN have an in-betweenness that ends up making them unique. Similarly, over the course of In Limbo, the band is often caught between making the perfect pop song and reaching for expansive bliss.
Despite a moniker that suggests kinship with the last decade of bands drawn to ideas of carefree adolescence, TEEN has no actual young folks and doesn't dwell on the emotions and worries of high-schoolers. Formed by Kristina Lieberson, known best as the keyboardist for Here We Go Magic, TEEN make cloudy, lo-fi indie that wouldn't sound out of character being banged out in a suburban basement after homeroom. Lyrically, however, In Limbo deals with adult-style issues, which is the rub.
TEEN are yet another band who are getting a hard time on the internet for being posers. Their crimes include being from Brooklyn, wearing high-waisted ‘mom jeans’ and having a one-syllable name. What nonsense. Posers are great: they’re fun and hot and take good photos. No, the problem with ….
TeenIn Limbo[Carpark; 2012]By Brendan Frank; September 21, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetIn the lo-fi circuit, artists will occasionally try to cover up their dearth of ideas by drowning them out. Sometimes they get away with it. With her new band, Kristina “Teeny” Lieberson has taken a different approach: stretch out what you have to give the impression of purposefulness.
If TEEN has made it onto your radar by now, it’s probably due to the band’s combination of brand-name clout and of-the-moment aesthetics. Teeny Lieberson, former keyboardist of Brooklyn’s Here We Go Magic, strikes out on her own for this album, bringing her two sisters and close friend Jane Herships along for the ride. The addition of producer Pete Kember (a.k.a.
Dreamy psychedelia, amazing though it can be, often falls into the trap of sounding… samey, with songs on an album often running into one another in one blissful daze. Not so with ‘In Limbo’, TEEN’s debut album. As soon as the pounding drums of opener ‘Better’ begin, you know you’re in for a treat. Both the synths and the lush vocals teem with confidence, especially considering the repeated lyric, “I’ll do it better than anybody else”.For a band named TEEN, their sound certainly doesn’t sound too young.