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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Review Tue Aug 04 2015

Record Review: Teen Cult's Melodic Cacophony

It's not often when cacophony is rhythmic and melodic. Local band Teen Cult released their self-titled album earlier this summer, and played before Longface's record debut last week. Both bands are off of the regional label Already Dead Tapes, which often specialize in the experimental and sometimes the absurd.

It's hard to label Teen Cult's record anything else than art-rock, because if you focus on one or a few influences or themes, it would obscure all the rest. Take their opening song, "Tale of Two Satans," and it has a doo-wop beat with soulful harmonies. Now juxtapose that to the following track, "Cross City," a completely instrumental track with chugging basslines, shuffling drums, and angular guitar lines.

However, their nearly 7-minute long track "Pictures of You Tying Knots in the Dark" seems to capture their many sounds in one song--dreamy, swerving math-rock lines, breathy jazzy chords--digital glitches trip the tune to an end. Though they play swerving guitars on a few tracks, they play synthesizers on an electronic "Lint 3000" and then waltz to a drum and Balkan trumpets in the carnival-sounding tune "Last Days."

Overall, they're a bit mathy. And some of their math-rock (think often dissonant guitar chords and shifting, atypical rhythms) can go over casual listeners heads, perhaps in the same way Chick Corea can be too out there for casual jazz nuts. Teen Cult is technical, but they're not prog.

They hash found sounds, too, which includes people talking as well as bells and clinks. In fact, "Exterior - Hospital" sounds musique concrète at the end, much in the same way as an early Syd Barrett clangs bike bells and clocks in the Pink Floyd song "Bike." Perhaps these sonic collages are representative of their method and madness.

Teen Cult, it seems, plays music for musicians, but players and listeners alike can appreciate the hodgepodge of colors and textures painted across their many canvasses.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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