Release Date: Jun 16, 2009
Record label: Mute
Click here to get your copy of Tiny Masters Of Today’s ‘Skeletons’ from the Rough Trade shop.
There's something to be said for not knowing how to play your instruments. As brilliant as Wire's Pink Flag and the Slits' Cut were, both bands have since gone on to say that they really had no idea what they were doing on their debuts. Likewise, two years after Tiny Masters of Today's first record, 15-year-old Ivan and 13-year-old Ada maintain the adolescent simplicity that made their break-out so charming, but now they pair it up with some serious production, courtesy of...themselves? While Bang Bang Boom Cake amazed audiences with the notion that kids could make music that rivals the music of grown-up indie rockers, Skeletons ups the ante by proving that kids can produce, too.
I recently found myself standing in the back room of a shabby Brooklyn venue, watching a precocious singer/guitarist named Marissa Paternoster front a band named Screaming Females. Marissa can solo into oblivion and has a giant stack of riffs that Kim Thayil or J Mascis would be proud to call their own. Her voice is like some ungodly meeting point between Kurt Cobain’s sandpaper rasp and Corin Tucker’s teacherly bellow.
Way back in 2007, Tiny Masters of Today, comprised of siblings Ivan (12 years old) and Ada (10 years old), released their debut album Bang Bang Boom Cake. The album featured contributions from the likes of Gibby Haynes, Karen O, and Liars. David Bowie called the band’s first single “genius” and then they toured the world. Two years older and more confident in their abilities, the Brooklyn band releases Skeletons, primarily recorded at home using Garageband sans famous guest musicians.
It is easy to overrate music made by kids. First and foremost: the "they are pretty good for their age!" factor, which can override critical faculties and make us forgive the sort of artistic decisions we'd normally find boring or annoying in the work of adults. If the young musicians are clearly influenced by things we deem cool, there is a high risk of approving their work simply for affirming our tastes.