a Secret Policeman's Ball
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a Secret Policeman's Ball

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"A Secret Policeman's Ball - Teenage Crimewave"

The release of a Secret Policeman’s Ball’s new record, out on MVD Records, was celebrated June 1 with a release show at Wall Street, which was the band’s first performance in almost a year. Titled Teenage Crimewave, the album is ethereal powerhouse rock that sounds like the good parts of the ’80s, ’90s and early ’00s. From track 1, “Brian’s House,” to track 10, “Stairway to Upstairs,” Crimewave is hard rock that’s taken a starry dip in the ambient dream pool with vivid melodies, hard percussion and beautiful, crystalline vocal parts from Nikki Oliff, who shares vocals with guitarist Greg Harp. Oliff’s feminine pipes over heavy guitars are as pleasing to the ear as Kim Deal’s in the Breeders.

Swirls of Jimmy Eat World and Brand New-sort of stuff fit right in with hints of ’80s gloom-rock and goth-rock, like The Cure and Siouxsie & the Banshees, with a modern spin. On a song-by-song basis, the nuances suggest disconnectedness, though the record is clearly a whole. The band channels the dense but melodic rock of Sunny Day Real Estate, like in “They Already Banged,” but sometimes a hardcore edge creeps in as well, like on certain parts of “Sweaters.” Other times there are leanings toward a bleary ’80s synth-pop feel that channels Siouxsie Sioux, like on “Padfoot.” Riffs surge, expand and travel, drums thunder, keyboard parts are captivating and guitars power through the songs with an unearthly sparkle. For people like myself who tend to hear music in color and, perhaps oddly, associate music with a particular element, Teenage Crimewave’s sound is like blue air.

It would be difficult to stamp this thing with any particular genre; suffice it to say Teenage Crimewave is sonically sparkling with influences of hardcore, dark vintage pop and moody alt rock, mixing uplifting melodies, production that’s been gone over with a fine-toothed comb and vocals that perfectly complement the musical backdrop. - The Murfreesboro Pulse


"2004 Doobies, A hidden ball, new garbage, and TV Zappa"

This June 4 CD contains 10 songs recorded by producer Andy Gregg and four friends (Nikki Oliff, Greg Harp, Mike Leffler and Jesse Seek) who won Hot Topic's 2012 Band Grant top prize. ASPB presents propulsive punk-rock drums, chiming guitars, buzzing synthesizers and unfortunately, a tendency toward ragged vocal howling at times. The production is nicely layered.

My favorite songs are the driving "I'm Not a Scientician" and "A Flock of Beagles," both of which achieve punk-rock velocity with only the first interrupted by hollering. The vocalist achieves a Chrissie Hynde-like tone on the second number, as well. I also enjoyed the ska-beating "They Already Banged," which left out the Cookie Monster stuff entirely. This recording has promise, and Hot Topic fans may enjoy it.
- The Biloxi Sun Herald


"2004 Doobies, A hidden ball, new garbage, and TV Zappa"

This June 4 CD contains 10 songs recorded by producer Andy Gregg and four friends (Nikki Oliff, Greg Harp, Mike Leffler and Jesse Seek) who won Hot Topic's 2012 Band Grant top prize. ASPB presents propulsive punk-rock drums, chiming guitars, buzzing synthesizers and unfortunately, a tendency toward ragged vocal howling at times. The production is nicely layered.

My favorite songs are the driving "I'm Not a Scientician" and "A Flock of Beagles," both of which achieve punk-rock velocity with only the first interrupted by hollering. The vocalist achieves a Chrissie Hynde-like tone on the second number, as well. I also enjoyed the ska-beating "They Already Banged," which left out the Cookie Monster stuff entirely. This recording has promise, and Hot Topic fans may enjoy it.
- The Biloxi Sun Herald


"Teenage Crimewave - a Secret Policeman's Ball"

This cd starts off cool with an intro that leads into a slow song but the last minute of said slow song (“Brian’s House”) is fast & heavy....it’s the kind of song that throws you for a loop & therefore I found it pretty interesting.

“I’m Not A Scientician” sounds like a rip off of a Cure song in parts but it’s very original and original sounding with a weird keyboard part that I don’t know if I like or not...at the 1 minute mark the song kicks into high gear & you can’t help but fall in love with this track!

“Try To Find...” is my personal favorite off this disc because it’s loud, fast, angry & heavy as hell...the song is not even a minute long but it’ll kick your ass.....you’ve been warned!

This cd has some 80’s styled pop trappings yet it’s also got elements of metal and punk which make it a fun record....the pop & heaviness combine to make a unique blend which allows you to dance in some moments & mosh during others. - Rock-n-Roll Experience


"Teenage Crimewave - a Secret Policeman's Ball"

This cd starts off cool with an intro that leads into a slow song but the last minute of said slow song (“Brian’s House”) is fast & heavy....it’s the kind of song that throws you for a loop & therefore I found it pretty interesting.

“I’m Not A Scientician” sounds like a rip off of a Cure song in parts but it’s very original and original sounding with a weird keyboard part that I don’t know if I like or not...at the 1 minute mark the song kicks into high gear & you can’t help but fall in love with this track!

“Try To Find...” is my personal favorite off this disc because it’s loud, fast, angry & heavy as hell...the song is not even a minute long but it’ll kick your ass.....you’ve been warned!

This cd has some 80’s styled pop trappings yet it’s also got elements of metal and punk which make it a fun record....the pop & heaviness combine to make a unique blend which allows you to dance in some moments & mosh during others. - Rock-n-Roll Experience


"Teenage Crimewave"

A Secret Policeman’s Ball just released their first album, and it brings a fresh, heavy and intricate take on good old fashioned garage rock. Boys club threesome Greg, Mike and Jesse let a girl (Nikki) into their clubhouse and it added that special extra ingredient that breaks them far, far out of the pack. It’s small-town America where kids riding bikes by white picket fences stop by the local teenagers garage to listen to the jams. Those jams took A Secret Policeman’s Ball on the road after a legendary talent-show performance and Teenage Crimewave is an album showcasing a band leaping out of the gate with energy to spare.

After being holed up in a Murfreesboro, TN home studio every weekend for two months battling sickness, time constraints, and creative differences, the band and producer/engineer Andy Gregg managed to capture *that sound* of today. This album is a snap shot of rock and roll in middle America right now. The band captures the time when the bleakness of adulthood collides with the youthfulness of childhood, and people realize the world is much more complex than they had ever imagined. This is s straight-up rocking record from a hot new band with serious skills. Tough meets light and fast. It’s inspiration fueled by energy.

The band is credited as co-producer and it’s really apparent that this was a team effort where everybody involved knew what they wanted to accomplish. The struggle to make this all happen comes through in the music. You hear the well earned reward of a challenge overcome. It’s A Secret Policeman’s Ball against the world. In the middle of this maelstrom you hear a team uniting and fighting back. It’s like street fight where - all of a sudden - a group teams up to kick everyone else’s asses.

A Secret Policeman’s Ball’s Teenage Crimewave is one of those fresh-and-timeless albums that relies on the sheer will power of the band members to overpower their differences and challenges for one united purpose: kicking out the jams. It’s the soundtrack to your life, if your life is secretly outrageous in a homogenous world. It’s aggressive but not mean. It’s heavy, but light. It’s rich and complex but never at the cost of just plain enjoying the music. A Secret Policeman’s Ball has put themselves at the very top of the ‘hot bands to watch’ list with their debut cd Teenage Crimewave. Very Highly Recommended. - Rustzine


"Teenage Crimewave"

A Secret Policeman’s Ball just released their first album, and it brings a fresh, heavy and intricate take on good old fashioned garage rock. Boys club threesome Greg, Mike and Jesse let a girl (Nikki) into their clubhouse and it added that special extra ingredient that breaks them far, far out of the pack. It’s small-town America where kids riding bikes by white picket fences stop by the local teenagers garage to listen to the jams. Those jams took A Secret Policeman’s Ball on the road after a legendary talent-show performance and Teenage Crimewave is an album showcasing a band leaping out of the gate with energy to spare.

After being holed up in a Murfreesboro, TN home studio every weekend for two months battling sickness, time constraints, and creative differences, the band and producer/engineer Andy Gregg managed to capture *that sound* of today. This album is a snap shot of rock and roll in middle America right now. The band captures the time when the bleakness of adulthood collides with the youthfulness of childhood, and people realize the world is much more complex than they had ever imagined. This is s straight-up rocking record from a hot new band with serious skills. Tough meets light and fast. It’s inspiration fueled by energy.

The band is credited as co-producer and it’s really apparent that this was a team effort where everybody involved knew what they wanted to accomplish. The struggle to make this all happen comes through in the music. You hear the well earned reward of a challenge overcome. It’s A Secret Policeman’s Ball against the world. In the middle of this maelstrom you hear a team uniting and fighting back. It’s like street fight where - all of a sudden - a group teams up to kick everyone else’s asses.

A Secret Policeman’s Ball’s Teenage Crimewave is one of those fresh-and-timeless albums that relies on the sheer will power of the band members to overpower their differences and challenges for one united purpose: kicking out the jams. It’s the soundtrack to your life, if your life is secretly outrageous in a homogenous world. It’s aggressive but not mean. It’s heavy, but light. It’s rich and complex but never at the cost of just plain enjoying the music. A Secret Policeman’s Ball has put themselves at the very top of the ‘hot bands to watch’ list with their debut cd Teenage Crimewave. Very Highly Recommended. - Rustzine


"A Secret Policeman's Ball - Teenage Crimewave"

This Nashville based indie band have had their album in the making for six years and it’s a pretty cool listen. In fact they’ve fine tuned every song so they uniquely stand out and that’s why I’ve enjoyed every track here. In fact in 10 years time this album will stand out because of the great musicianship and dark vocals from Nikki Cliff. For a heads up I’d check out tracks such as ‘I’m Not A Scientician’, ‘A Flock Of Beagles’ and ‘Stairway To Upstairs’. Almost certainly the best tracks on this release though the others aren’t far behind! I love the way that the band have developed these songs unlike many others who have an album out even before they’ve played a gig! 8/10 - Street Voice UK


"A Secret Policeman's Ball - Teenage Crimewave"

This Nashville based indie band have had their album in the making for six years and it’s a pretty cool listen. In fact they’ve fine tuned every song so they uniquely stand out and that’s why I’ve enjoyed every track here. In fact in 10 years time this album will stand out because of the great musicianship and dark vocals from Nikki Cliff. For a heads up I’d check out tracks such as ‘I’m Not A Scientician’, ‘A Flock Of Beagles’ and ‘Stairway To Upstairs’. Almost certainly the best tracks on this release though the others aren’t far behind! I love the way that the band have developed these songs unlike many others who have an album out even before they’ve played a gig! 8/10 - Street Voice UK


"A Secret Policeman's Ball - Teenage Crimewave"

Secret Policeman’s Ball = Arcade Fire + Metric
Don’t let the shoegazer cover fool you—this is not your traditional indie-rock record. It’s sweepy and effect-laden, with soft and gentle melodics with moody, haunting female vocals—but that’s not all. Two minutes and 30 seconds later, the haunting vocals spiral offtrack into screeching howls, like something out of a death metal album. Unexpected, although more than welcome, Secret Policeman’s Ball likes to play with your conceptions of who they are: Songs like “A Flock of Beagles” showcases a more traditional indie sound, and then throw it all away for another moody song—my favorite is “Sweaters.” Oh, and did I mention the 45-second-long hardcore punk tribute “Try To Find Shon A New Hat”? Good luck predicting what they do next. This is a great album that doesn’t feel like it’s conforming to your expectations. –Matt Brunk
- Slug Magazine


"A Secret Policeman's Ball - Teenage Crimewave"

Secret Policeman’s Ball = Arcade Fire + Metric
Don’t let the shoegazer cover fool you—this is not your traditional indie-rock record. It’s sweepy and effect-laden, with soft and gentle melodics with moody, haunting female vocals—but that’s not all. Two minutes and 30 seconds later, the haunting vocals spiral offtrack into screeching howls, like something out of a death metal album. Unexpected, although more than welcome, Secret Policeman’s Ball likes to play with your conceptions of who they are: Songs like “A Flock of Beagles” showcases a more traditional indie sound, and then throw it all away for another moody song—my favorite is “Sweaters.” Oh, and did I mention the 45-second-long hardcore punk tribute “Try To Find Shon A New Hat”? Good luck predicting what they do next. This is a great album that doesn’t feel like it’s conforming to your expectations. –Matt Brunk
- Slug Magazine


Discography

Picking Up Things You Can't Even See (2009
With Our Bear Hands (2011)
Teenage Crimewave (2013)

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Bio

From the suburbs of Nashville, a Secret Policeman's Ball is an indie rock band that has spent the last 6 years cultivating songs and playing shows in the Southeast. "Teenage Crimewave", their first full length album, is a collection of songs that span the band's many influences. The finished product is a refreshing take on the music blending culture of today and the chaos of rock and roll protoplasm it evolved from. Male and female vocals alternate as the sound shifts from quiet to loud and back again, with a good amount of saw toothed synthesizers thrown in for a hauntingly addictive sound.