Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Profile: Teenage Symphony



Teenage Symphony has to be one of Dallas' strangest pop bands. They recently told us via email that our description of them as a Spacemen 3 marching band fronted by people with a Brian Wilson fetish was dead on as far as what they're into and where they're coming from, and considering that your typical Daryl Blacktie Davies Dallas pop band tries as hard as they can to sound like that Dandy Warhols album about monkeys (and even fail miserably at that), we hope Teenage Symphony keep doing things more than a little bit differently.

The band was started by keyboardist Mikal Beth in December 2005, and consists of five members: two are teachers (one is an elementary school choir teacher), two are former marching band kids, three are high school drop outs, one was a music major, and all five sing. Pretty damn well I might add. Mikal met guitarist J. Louis III while the two were teaching together at a middle school, and when Louis was fired for "conduct unbecoming," he eventually began working at a Plano alternative school where he met guitarist Geoffrey Spungeon and drummer Christopher Glass. After meeting bassist Lucas J. at a bookstore, Louis, Mikal and the rest united and began recording demos early this year on an 8 track at Louis' apartment.

The band's sound is certainly inspired by the psychedelic, but they approach it from a fairly unique prospective (and extraordinarily unique locally), mixing in heavy doses of choral spiritual music and 60's vocal groups like the Zombies and the Beach Boys, with tons of reverb and a dark, lo-fi, almost hollow sounding recording style that lends quite well to what they do, adding an element of empty creepiness to their songs. And if the above doesn't really sound like a description of a pop band, it is because Teenage Symphony isn't anything like most groups that earn the label. A listen to their tunes reveals that their songs are quite catchy and traditionally structured; but the way they sing, what they sing about, and their minimal yet generous arrangements all add an element of weirdness that you just wouldn't expect from people that seem to be so influenced by music that is usually quite happy and straight forward. The songs are fairly lengthy and trance-like at times, causing the listener to get lost in their world of echoes and ghostly vocals. The music itself isn't really psychedelic but the approach certainly is, allowing the band's distinct personality to add to the effect.

After just a few short months together, Teenage Symphony has already demonstrated their unique take on some of the more popular forms of American Pop music from the past five decades, and considering that they are one of the few bands in DFWd with multiple vocalists that can actually sing, it seems that they can push their style in all kinds of interesting directions, and that they intend to do just that. It is nice to hear a Dallas area band that realizes that pop rock doesn't have to be polished in order to be good, and that being catchy doesn't have anything to do with making music that could be played on the Edge. Teenage Symphony is certainly a band worth keeping your eye on.

MP3s:

"Lucky" MP3

"We Will Be Together" MP3

11 Comments:

Blogger james said...

AND they are playing on Saturday May 13th at the Metrognome Collective with Juniper Pearl (formerly Autonomy Star (also known as Devin)).
Who else wants to play? Mathstorm cancelled, so we have an open slot. it will be a fun show!

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

can't wait to wait 7 minutes for each of these songs to download on my dial-up at work and actually get to hear them.... if the line doesn't ring.

10:43 AM  
Blogger jonofdeath said...

This a lot better than Rose County Fair. I'm going to Tennessee this weekend and I'm going to see some friends called Ballroom Dancing. Sorry to be all random, I just really like these guys and I think that other people on here would like them too. So...enjoy.

11:56 AM  
Anonymous zach carter said...

seriouisly great band :D

weshotjr is so brilliant for being the only publication that supports suburban psych pop bands ! THANK YOU!

1:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can also catch Teenage Symphony on friday at Dada with Hard Night's Day and Fishboy.

1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i listened and it was okay, but bored me. i couldnt make it through any of tracks completely.

to slow and drawn out. it's not bad, but i dont see all the hype.

2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

having said that, i'd like to make it to a show to give them a fair judgement. seems like it'd be better live.

3:10 PM  
Blogger blixaboy said...

I dig these guys. Can't wait to see them live.

10:12 AM  
Anonymous JeremyJ. said...

Good band, good people.

We all went out & caught their show at Black Dog
& even though we were three of the six people there,
they still put on a great set.

& they shared what little smoke they had in a tiny backseat. That's class.

Happy friends make happy bands.

10:18 AM  
Anonymous brandon said...

j.j., you g.d. stoner hippy.

just kiddin

2:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i saw them live, they're ok. i like them better recorded. theres too much vocal harmonizing all the time, every song and its usually a bit off and it gets tired. let's mix it up. be dynamic. we won't know what's coming. we'll be pleasantly suprised.

3:31 PM  

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