As a result, each album holds the opportunity for re-discovery, re-immersion, re-appreciation.
On Lousy with Sylvianbriar, this paradigm holds true once more. The record was created with a new songwriting approach, a different recording method, and a fresh group of musicians.
Seeking creative inspiration, Kevin Barnes re-located to San Francisco where he spent days soaking in the strange surroundings and channeling the city’s energy into his writing. After a very prolific period there, he returned to Athens, GA, and assembled the cast of musicians to begin the sessions.
Barnes eschewed computer recording — with its pitch correction, limitless effects plug-ins and editing possibilities — and instead, with the help of engineer Drew Vandenberg (Deerhunter, Toro y Moi), he recorded Lousy with Sylvianbriar in his home studio on a 24-track tape machine.
With no computer tricks to fall back on, the band — Kevin Barnes (guitars,bass,vocals), Rebecca Cash (vocals), Clayton Rychlik (drums,vocals), Jojo Glidewell (keys), Bob Parins (pedal steel,bass), and Bennet Lewis (guitars,mandolin) — could only get out of the recordings what they put into them. Most of the tracking was recorded live with the band in the same room together. They worked quickly, with the band members composing their parts on the fly and with little second guessing. The album was recorded in just three weeks.
“I knew I wanted the process to be more in line with the way people used to make albums in the late 60s and early 70s,” reveals Barnes. “I wanted to work fast and to maintain a high level of spontaneity and immediacy. I wanted the songs to be more lyric-driven, and for the instrumental arrangements to be understated and uncluttered.”
Opening track and lead single “Fugitive Air” feels like a Stones-y anthem, with sparks of Philip K. Dick’s psychedelic prose, Ralph Bakshi’s cartoon violence, and William S. Burroughs’ hyper-paranoia.
“Belle Glade Missionaries” finds Barnes lyrically at his most political, backed by a soundtrack that is pure Dylan circa Highway 61 Revisited.
Female vocalist Rebecca Cash makes several appearances on the album, taking the lead on the plaintive “Raindrop in My Skull,” where her and Barnes share a Gram Parsons/Emmylou Harris-inspired duet.
“She Ain’t Speakin’ Now” ranks among of Montreal’s all-time great songs, transforming its brooding acoustic guitar intro into a visceral angst-ridden rocker that sounds like the best moments of Neil Young & Crazy Horse.
The album’s closer, “Imbecile Rages,” a caustic and doleful epitaph for a crumbling relationship, is one of Barnes’ most raw and personal statements.
Like the classic albums that inspired it, this is an album to be explored, to be lived with, to be listened to in happiness and in darkness, to be dissolved into. To be played very loudly at parties and with eyes closed, in headphones, alone. It should become dog-eared and dirty with use and it should lessen the blow of our enemies, in all their forms.
TEEN spent the summer of 2011 recording In Limbo in Maia’s family barn in rural Connecticut, engineered by Jen Turner of Here We Go Magic.
In Limbo was mixed and produced in collaboration with producer Pete Kember (Spacemen 3 / Spectrum). Kember, a.k.a. Sonic Boom, first heard the band via an early video while he was mixing Panda Bear’s Tomboy at Blanker Unsinn studio in Brooklyn, and after hearing some demos, signed up to produce a full LP of their material as soon as possible.
The band decided their best move was to record the LP in the back country atmosphere of Connecticut, with the recording and initial mixes starting there. Further work was done at MGMT’s Blanker Unsinn facility with the final mixing and mastering taking place in the UK at Sonic Boom’s New Atlantis Studio.
TEEN’s sound relies heavily on its vocal arrangements and harmonies. The music is strengthened by the flawless vocal connections between family and friends. The songs on the album are a reflection of change and loss – loss of loved ones, loss of relationships and sitting in the space of the unknown – in limbo. They reflect on how times such as these can give birth to powerful creative moments, and also solidify bonds in relationships between friends and family. The songs are mysterious and dark, exploring the many sensitivities and emotions that a person endures during these critical and life-changing experiences.
The band have played consistently since Winter 2010, including performances with Purity Ring, War on Drugs and Yellow Ostrich and most recently, Ariel Pink, Santigold, Frankie Rose, Dean Wareheim and Hospitality.
For the first Chief Scout EP, Trey went to Austin, TX to work with White Denim’s James Petralli. The two met during a tour with one of Trey’s old projects. Petralli was instantly impressed by the ferocity of Trey’s guitar skills and the eloquence of his lyrical prowess. They spent two weeks together crafting, refining, and recording 5 songs, with almost all the instruments played by Trey.
Together they created songs that are fast and aggressive, wrapped in a comfortable psychedelic texture, all the while underscored with the twang and jangle of a songwriter born in the South.
Chief Scout is:
Trey Rosenkampff – Lead Vocals
Lead Guitar John Riccitelli – Bass
Jack Blauvelt – Drums