"We had a party at the shim sham club
Youth in motion doubled up the buzz
Back and forth and back and in between
We sang and danced the band was rock-a-teen"
-- "Shim Sham," Imperial Teen
I spent my lunch break going from store to store in the pouring rain today until I got my hands on The Hair, The TV, The Baby & The Band the newest album from Imperial Teen. I first tried Best Buy only to find the CD never arrived to their Chelsea store. I then jostled through a sea of umbrellas to the other side of the street to find one copy at Barnes & Noble. I probably ended up paying $3 more, but I didn't care. I got my copy! Did you get yours yet? You should.
This is Imperial Teen's first album in five years and it sounds as fresh to me as their first album, Seasick. I never got why these guys were not at the top of all the charts and not in constant rotation on the radio and on MTV. But, then again radio only plays about five songs these days and MTV stopped playing videos years ago. Anyway, they are back after five years with a great collection of well-crafted pop songs that make you want to jump out of your seat and dance. Their songs are a perfect blend of female and male harmonies with each member taking turns on lead vocals. The songs are so much fun. The first single (per their website) is "Shim Sham" and it reminds me a bit of the B52s or better yet maybe The Mama's And The Papa's -- it's as if Fred Schneider and Mama Cass had four spunky, talented kids.
The album title refers to what the band has been up to over the last five years. Per Imperialteen.com -- Jone has been styling and cutting hair, Roddy's been writing music for TV, Lynn has a new baby and Will has been touring the world with his other band Hey Willpower. Like old friends, it's great catching up with them. I feel like we've just left off where we were five years ago with no awkward or uncomfortable pauses. You put this album in and it's a pure punk pop soundtrack to a happy happy day. It reminds me of my time growing up in L.A.. I'd go see them perform at Spaceland or The Troubadour at night and play Seasick loud in my car to and from work. It was a time of listening to That Dog (Anna Waronker co-produced this album with Red Kross' Steve McDonald), Weezer, Soul Coughing, Sleater Kinney and more. Oh, the mid-nineties. Oh, L.A. On a very cool note, this album is dedicated to Randy Kaye who passed away suddenly last year. I knew Randy when I interned at Slash Records for a minute. I like the fact that they did that.
Imperial Teen to me I guess kind of represents that time in my life and nostalgia is a powerful thing. It's just good to know that they are back and back in a big way.
This post first appeared here.