Tuesday’s Tune: “Teen Feels” by Pro Teens

I’ve been waiting for this for a while. Well, actually to be precise, when St. Ranger played their final show at Parliament on November 22nd and I bought a cassette and Andrew Phipps gave me a free t-shirt and I told him to go fuck himself. So, it’s been three months.  I loved St. Ranger and I always wanted either a second EP from them or an entire full length album, partly because I watched them from the beginning and saw them grow far beyond what I imagined, but alas, all things must pass. That same night that I told Andrew to go fuck himself, he advised me he already had new things in the works and every time I saw him at a show after that maintained this stance. Finally, last week the proof was in the pudding and his new outfit Pro Teens released a demo on bandcamp. I honestly couldn’t have been more excited when Andrew messaged me about its release and I listened to it nearly right away–it was everything he said it was going to be, surfy garage pop, perfect and right up my alley. My instant thought was that they should play a show with The Thin Bloods, The Wavelengths, Numb Bats and Snake!Snake!Snakes! for a night of pure garage surf joy (seriously, I’d like to book that freaking gig).

The problem is that when I listen to this song, I can actually see Andrew dancing while performing it and that means I saw St. Ranger way too many times. I love the retro sound, the echo, the reverb, the early 60s beatnik vibe. At the same time the lyrics are either a little dark, a little perverse or simply good advice to a young woman. Take it as you will, but to me it sounds like a guy being driven out of control by a much younger woman in the verses and maintaining control and keeping his cool in the chorus.  Clearly someone is arousing teenage feelings in the protagonist and that means a bit of lust is acting overdrive, but at the same time he’s honorable and encouraging the best in her. It’s an interesting dichotomy and yes, I over think things like this about every pop or rock song I hear. Musically, it’s phenomenal for a demo, especially the chorus and the harmonies, the surf guitar noodling, I’m not sure it can get much better from here to the finished studio version, but you never know. Even the bridge has a classic early 60s feel to it and yet it’s not derivative, it’s a modern take on an old style that is starting to catch a wave of revival in this town. Frankly, it’s a breath of fresh air to this listener. But hell, I love surf music…a lot.

This recording is produced by Austin Owen (Petty Things, Los Puchos, Wooden Indian, Ladylike) and thanks also go to Owen, Wally Boudway (Wooden Indian) and David Moroney (Wooden Indian, nearly every other band in town ever at one point), so I assume they are on this demo. According to facebook, Pro Teens consists of Andy, Nick, Michael, and Jakeob (St. Ranger) until he moves and then will apparently be replaced by Matthew. There’s a bit of secrecy on this lineup. Whoever the hell they are, I am truly looking forward to what Pro Teens do in 2014, because right now they are feeling like they could be one of my favorite debuts this year. Can’t wait for their shows and future releases, that’s for sure. Listen to “Teen Feels” below and be sure to like them on Facebook HERE.

“Teen Feels”

Got no time to worry about my health,
I’m too busy making a fool out myself,
Can’t you see I’m in serious need?
I try to make myself the enemy
How could I take myself so seriously/ with all these teenage feelings

Don’t be afraid to say no
Don’t be afraid to be cold
Don’t be afraid to say no
Don’t be afraid

You’re the corner and I’m the hungry fiend
Tell me honey, how am I supposed to eat?
We put it off like it’s a regular deal
Even memories they lose their appeal
My mind, my body don’t know how to feel/with all these teenage feelings

Don’t be afraid to say no
Don’t be afraid to be cold
Don’t be afraid to say no
Don’t be afraid

Don’t be afraid your life’s not a miracle
You might feel brave but trust me you’re hysterical
There’s no need to pray, stay home and be my slave
Don’t be afraid your life’s not a miracle

Don’t be afraid
Don’t be afraid
Don’t be afraid
Don’t be afraid your life’s not a miracle

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