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It’s a simple matter that life would be unbearable without music. 2012 was no exception, and I don’t expect 2013 to be different. This article was originally meant to be a list of my favorite albums from last year but I decided Them Teasters were past due for a review and spotlight. Therefore, my 2013 music recommendation is to listen to this band lots of times.
Them Teasters debuted as a band and released a self titled album in the summer of 2011 and immediately became a favorite of mine. Rising out of the North Carolina High Country, this experienced quartet of Appalachian nature lovers displays the best of junkyard rock mixed with catchy pop melodies from the 1950’s and 60’s. When you listen to this album you’ll notice four distinct vocal signatures from one song to the next, and in harmonization on most tracks.
Isaiah Stronach (drums/vocals) wails out sounds that remind you of the time Elvis sang for the Misfits… Drumming is so dynamic that it’s always interesting to see a vocalist/percussionist. Isaiah pulls off the task nicely and enjoys the benefits of a core workout while doing so.
As far as I know Jake Barrow (bass/vocals) has been playing live music the longest of the four. In the mid to late 90’s he lead a pop/punk group called Silly that was pretty well known in that time, place and genre. Jake has a very noticeable, high pitched voice, inspired by a Descendents/All/Green Day era.
Steve Hogan (guitar/keys) is the rockabilly Elvis guy with the growly, big-bad-wolf voice, singing songs about zombies, aliens and roller derby queens.
Finally, Kappa Hobbs (guitar/vocals) stands stage-center with heels, black dress and a beehive hairdo that makes me think Lady Dracula or Bride of Frankenstein. She brings the vocal offerings full circle with a 1950’s, Goth-fusion style.
The band sounds the way they look and visa versa. They offer a different sound and style in every song, but in a well organized and interesting way. Instead of a monotonous tone you’ll find texture and layers that keep your attention. As a testament, my 2 and 6-year old kids love Them Teasters and request to hear it every time we get in the car. Not only is it cute and sweet to hear their squeaky voices saying “Them Teasters Daddy!” but it’s fun to be able to listen to music with them that I also enjoy.
I don’t know each of Them Teasters’ personal histories beyond what I have mentioned. But, I do know the band name itself was inspired by a family in rural North Carolina who are rumored to be somewhat belligerent junkyard owners. What better symbol to represent mountain folks and rock music?
Them Teasters have a fantastic stage presence with just enough showmanship, but nothing over the top. They know how to perform and they sound damn good. Go get this damn record now or you will regret it for the rest of your damn life. Far as I know you can only buy it on iTunes, but if you can get the album artwork tattooed across your damn chest and have the songs permanently implanted into your brain you will live a happier life for it. I just want to say damn one more time. Damn.
Thanks for reading and listening
– Spencer Cooke
PS., I’ve gotten a sneak peak of a new, 5-song EP they’ve done, entitled “Cry Baby,” and it’s every bit as quality as the self title album. Just more great stuff from the same consistent source.
PPS., here are two videos I produced last year featuring songs by Them there Teasters
Global Warming: Longboard Asheville – Featured Song: “The Valley”
Astral Brewer: Footwear Introduction – Featured Song: “She Won’t”