They really are cool. Of all the bands I encountered in my years spent in Denton, Tx none do I admire more than Teenage Cool Kids. Throughout college I saw their shows all over town, and I was even lucky enough to catch them at Danger Danger Gallery when I first moved to Philly. The first time I saw them perform was in Summer of 2008 with Wax Museums at the house on Panhandle St. where some of the members lived. My friends Adam and Jamie invited me after work so I rushed over in my pizza delivery uniform. The house was crammed wall-to-wall with unkempt hipsters that made it smell like an armpit. When they started playing, the energy of the small room burst into an indie a-bomb. It was absolute madness, and I had pushed my way up to the front to participate in it all. People that couldn't fit into the house watched from outside through the living room windows. It may have been the combination of drunken emotion and "girlfriend-just-dumped-me" angst, but this show left a huge impression on me. I couldn't wait for their next show, and their tape (which included the Remember Me as a Silhouette EP & Queer Salutations) did not leave my car tape deck for at least the rest of the summer.
Denton After Sunset was officially released on Tuesday and is likely to be the last TCK album. Guitarist/Vocalist, Andrew Savage, now lives in Brooklyn and performs with his band of Denton transplants, Fergus and Geronimo (also rad). This album is a perfect note for the band to end on. Unlike earlier recordings, where Savage will often sing in a strained high register, his vocals are lower, and the songs (for the most part) a bit more calm. Many of the songs talk about the significant spots and memories from being the road. "Kachina Doll" is my personal favorite; a slow burner with cranked, dissonant guitars that mourns the lost traditions of the American Southwest. "Landlocked State" also talks about being exhausted and miles away from your bed in Texas. I'm also pleased to see they included "Beyond the Grasp of Guilt", one that I was always feelin' when I saw them live, but never knew what the title was.
Earlier TCK records sound as if Built to Spill secretly put out an album before their first one (listen to "Tryna Decide"). These records were comprised of indie rock party starters that produced that raw energy I witnessed on Panhandle St. Listening to Queer Salutations front to back makes you realize that Savage has a knack for writing poignant lyrics that don't sound pretentious or contrived. It's even easier to hear them in the more comfortable, lower octave he sings in on Denton After Sunset. The title of the record alone is a perfect 3-word description of its contents. While Denton has lost one of its finest, the album is a sincere tribute to the college town. Go to their bandcamp and buy it for only $6.66!