Tuesday, July 2, 2013

REVIEW: Teen Getaway - Hits and Missives

When we last heard from Janet Elizabeth Simpson she was providing exceptional vocals for Alabama's Delicate Cutters (our review here).  Since we writers like to categorize to explain our thoughts, we (respectfully) placed Ms. Simpson in the box marked Southern Gothic Rock.  The thing about these artistic types, however, is that they don't always stay in the boxes.  And so it is here: Janet (guitar/vocals) is out of that box and making noise with her college buddies, Jim Fahy (guitar/vocals), Andy Sizemore (bass) and Spencer C. Shoults (drums) in Teen Getaway.  And what glorious noise it is!  The band calls their music "bubblegum skronk", and without thinking all too deeply about the name, it seems to fit Hits and Missives pretty damn well.

Hits and Missives is college rock. punk pop and indie pop squeezed through a southern rock filter with a few doses of funk and weird in the seasoning.  It is a 13-track kettle of tasty hooks swimming in an equally tasty broth of clanging, chugging, distorted guitars.  There are some surprising (and delightful) elements of cutting edge acts from the past such as Television and Pere Ubu.  And there is an absolute need for volume.  Albums like this are liable to give Alabama rock a good reputation.

Teen Getaway begins proceedings with a bit of a tease, as track one starts out light and airy.  But after playing with the listener for a minute the band gets down into being ... well ... Teen Getaway.  The next song, "Explode!", seems to me to be an unofficial calling card for the album.  Enjoy -

"Raoul" takes a more punk path to joy --

And here Janet tweaks your heart with a slice of indie pop, southern belle style --

Hits and Missives is out now on Atlanta label This Is American Music.  We've lavished some well-deserved praise on the label in the past, so I'll be a bit more focused here.  Without TIAM I would be relatively clueless about the quality of the Birmingham rock scene.  And that would make me very sad.

This Is American Music

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