Release Date: Apr 8, 2014
Record label: Frenchkiss Records
Before joining Tweens, Bridget Battle’s only musical experience came from being part of her high school choir. And while the 21-year-old might have the sugary voice for traditional classics, fronting this Cincinnati bubblegum punk trio shows off her partying side. ‘Be Mean’ laments “a really great, great guy” for being too nice, while ‘Don’t Wait Up’ slows the record’s hurtling pace to find her pleading, “I want to get wired under the city lights… I wanna stay up all night”.
I grew up in Dayton, Ohio, a short, but often aggravating, one-hour drive up that cluster-fuck of a stretch of I-75 from Tweens’ hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. When Bridget Battle shouts, “this town…it’s eating me alive”, on the album’s opening track, “Bored In The City”, I can dig where she’s coming from. Cities like New York City or Los Angeles often are painted as places that can eat one up, but I imagine this akin to a lion or bear mercifully quickly tearing you to shreds.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. "Trash-pop" seems like a pretty apt description of the noise from Cincinatti, Ohio's Tweens. Far from being garbage, they monger riotous, garage-flecked '90s rock. You've got classic rock'n'roll, punk and grunge in there too, cajoling sonic forebears such as Hole and The Breeders (whom the supported in the US last year).
Tweens describe themselves as a band equally inspired by doo wop, girl group pop, and riot grrrl, but the Cincinnati group's self-titled debut reveals them to be a more standard issue -- but still entertaining -- punk-pop band. To be fair, there's more than a hint of Ronnie Spector to Bridget Battle's voice when she sings "Your sweetness is killin' me" on the former single "Be Mean. " However, Battle's sassy vocals have more in common with Cyndi Lauper and Dale Bozzio, and several of Tweens' best moments recall how new wave artists in the '70s and '80s channeled '50s and '60s pop into an even more intense sugar rush.
Review Summary: Tweenage angst has paid off wellWe all know music is serious biznezz. Or at least that’s what we’re told. Or at least that’s what WE tell YOU.Allow me to let you in on a little secret, dear readers…my random absences on this site tend to come about when that dam of serious music criticism in my mind is about to break; when I’m tired of treating the aural offerings of another random bunch of people with no shortage of awed reverence.Maybe I’m out of touch.
Cincinnati has given us the Afghan Whigs and the National, two prominent voices for brooding, sexually frustrated, 30-something masculinity—or, basically everything that Tweens aren’t. The Queen City trio’s perpetually sneering brat-punk most likely isn’t a direct response to their city’s recent musical legacy, but you can imagine some Greg Dulli or Matt Berninger type on the receiving end of lead singer Bridget Battle’s taunts on “McMicken”, from the "trash pop" band's self-titled debut: “Your old lady can’t get it up no more/ Or are you just a freak and want some more?” Taking its name from a section of Cincinnati notorious for prostitution, "McMicken" is told from the perspective of a young woman “Surviving in the streets that the men destroyed,” and though everyone involved is compromised, it’s clear who has the power in this situation: “We’re tough little bitches ‘cause we’re self-employed. ” Not every song on Tweens is that overt about its relationship dynamics, but it’s damn close: the majority of the record focuses directly on boys who fuck up because they don’t know any better.
In certain respects, the new self-titled record by Cincinnati trio Tweens harkens back to some of punk rock’s most primordial roots. Tweens remind listeners of a time when the Ramones still wore their love of ‘60s girl groups and doo-wop on their sleeves; a time when punk rock was simple, catchy, and fun. Whereas bands like Joy Division, Bad Brains, or Discharge seemed like a radical break with rock music of the 1960s and 1970s, certain strains of early punk rock were more anachronistic than iconoclastic.
We’ve been digging on this Cincinnati band for awhile now, so it’s hard to believe this is only their debut album, and that’s after just some Bandcamp tracks. Sonically, Tweens self-titled debut does not come across as simply the opening salvo of another trashy garage band. Well, it is that, and then some, as the manic energy sustains throughout, adding up to a definite “One to keep your eye out for” moment.