My Teenage Stride
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My Teenage Stride

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"Ephemeral but sticking relentlessly"

A soft jangle of guitars, a hazy, New Zealand production sheen, the gently melancholy yet sort of humorous lyrics had me thinking I’d stumbled onto some lost Flying Nun outtake the first few times I heard “To Live and Die in the Airport Lounge.” That’s not a knock. The tune has the airy appeal of a good Bats song, seemingly ephemeral but sticking relentlessly in that brain compartment reserved for good pop. It’s just one of several really great songs on this third album from Massachusetts-based My Teenage Stride (the album was recorded just down the road from me in Shelburne Falls), and while some of them have the green pulse of New Zealand, others will remind you of XTC, the Smiths and the dBs. The title track is flat-out gorgeous, starting in washes of pastel sound, then gathering a jittery 1980s new wave angst. Guitars are staccato but soft and there’s an echoing grandeur to Jedediah Smith’s vocals that places you squarely in English Beat territory. Later, “Heartless and Cruel,” with its upbeat-stabbing guitars and drama-laden singing, evokes Morrissey at his late 1980s best, and the keyboard laced “We’ll Meet at Emilys” bounds along effervescently as any Crowded House anthem. This is wonderful stuff, as easy to listen to as it is hard to make. Don’t think about it too hard or you’ll miss the appeal of this hammock-lazing, summer-day record...just the thing for splendidly unhurried afternoons. ~ Jennifer Kelly - Popmatters

"Everything Feels Exactly Right"

Ears Like Golden Bats starts off swinging with style on opener "Reception", with a snappy beat, melodic bass, guitars that punch up at the right moments, and Jerediah Smith singing in a romantic tone, "God bless the criminals / God bless the crime / when you've got something good you've got to take your time." And we fall right in line, under their spell… There's a casual efficiency to this music that I love. It's smooth and breezy but also filled with sparkling melodies and harmonies, expressive and unique lyrics, guitars that ring out, bass that rolls, drums that kick, synths that accent and surround (all in perfectly pleasing ways), and upward motion, an energy of moving forward. It's obvious they're in love with the smart, sensitive pop classics, with the Smiths, Felt, the Go-Betweens, Television Personalities, but it's also music very much in the moment. This is instantly pleasing, immediately classic music to those of us who appreciate this style. Listen to a song like the title track, with the synth delicately leading in to a surge, and lyrics like "I never thought that it would be this way / you're going to let me down." Everything feels exactly right. So fresh, so clean, humorous ("To Live and Die in the Airport Lounge") and emotional…a pop sound that hits all the right buttons. The album packs a punch (a melancholy-pop punch), with power moving in the direction of harmonic perfection, melodic optimism expressing uncertainty. Guitars that rise up to hide the tears. ~ Dave Heaton - Erasing Clouds

"a kaleidoscopic revelation"

Songwriting wunderkind/multi-instrumentalist Jedediah Smith writes like a Ritalin-dependent teenager, unaffected by the emotional impact of his hyperactive, chilling narratives.

Mercifully, his latest pop machination isn't a hazy psychedelic commentary on cloned crops growing in a clandestine laboratory. Instead, his intellect demonstrates scalpel-sharp focus on the demise of historical purity, the breakdown of morality and the dissection of technology.

While previous efforts were mainly works of a mad scientist run amok, Ears Like Golden Bats employs a stable supporting posse who add colorful rhythms and fluid and ballsy temperament to his frothy beaker of '60s coolness and revivalist merriment. With bubbling harmonies and playful beats, "We'll Meet at Emily's," "That Should Stand for Something" and "Terror Bends" are entrancing, hook-laden pop pinwheels that manage to unite bleak uneasiness and optimism--both trademarks of Smith's idiosyncratic lyrical slant.

Sundry influences ranging from Phil Spector, Brian Eno and The Chills are evident on the atmospheric, gloomy pomp and circumstance of "Genie of New Jersey" and "To Live and Die in the Airport Lounge," as the prolific, chameleon-like Smith manipulates loss, space, nostalgia and darkness for personal expression. The spellbinding results are a kaleidoscopic revelation, embracing every era of pop music's vibrant memory, while simultaneously confronting a philistine culture and the loss of innocence. ~ Ron Bally - Tuscon Weekly

"Paste Magazine's Band Of The Week"

Borough: Brooklyn/Greenpoint
Fun Fact: Frontman Jed Smith has harvested several future song titles (like "Murderist Seeks Hand-Me-Down") from his abandoned novel about an opium-tripping copywriter.
Why They're Worth Watching: They really do love the 80s, wrapping even the dreariest lyrics in catchy hooks and dreamy retro beats.
For Fans Of: The Smiths, Crystal Stilts, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

Let's take a moment to thank Jed Smith's ex-girlfriend. Were it not for her, Smith would've never entered—then won—a Williamsburg songwriting contest, which led to the formation of My Teenage Stride. The band started with Smith, bassist Michael Hollitscher and drummer Brett Whitmoyer. These days, it's primarily Smith, Whitmoyer and a revolving cast of musicians, including Jenny Logan (bass), Tris McCall (synthesizers, piano), Jeff Ciprioni (guitar, keyboards), Dakkan Abbe (guitar, vocals) and Mat Patalano (bass). My Teenage Stride started turning heads with its third full-length release, last year's short but sweet Ears Like Golden Bats. The songs are poppy but not oppressively so, with witty, edgy lyrics-- and they've garnered more than one comparison to cuts from a John Hughes movie soundtrack.
Still, Smith, a self-described studio rat from Massachusetts' Berkshire Mountains, wonders how his label-less band has gained so much exposure. Over plenty of espresso and Pall Mall Lights at a sidewalk cafe in Williamsburg, he tried to work it all out. "I'm not a very good scenester," Smith, 31, said. "Ears Like Golden Bats was everywhere when it came out, but we weren't. I really shouldn't be here." He has a theory on hipsterdom, actually. Smith sees himself as a "level three"—an appreciator of music. (A "level one" is merely aware that a hipster phenomenon exists, and a "level two" is a hipster in only one sub-genre of music, like, say, rockabilly.) Being a "level three," he's not a social climber ("level four") or a hipster so transcendentally cool that he doesn't even need the label ("level five"). For better or worse, Smith now has more of a pass to the Brooklyn Hipster Scene for one simple reason: People like his band.

And there's a reason its sound is so specific to the 80s: Smith doesn't think there was a good record made after 1983. They're too clean, he says, too expensive-sounding. To avoid studio slickness, Teenage Stride does its own recording. "Most bands would be better off recording themselves," he said. "And it's fucking free!" Packed with reverb and melody, most songs are lo-fi and short—title track "Ears Like Golden Bats" is barely two minutes—and suggestive of one of Smith's favorite bands, Guided By Voices. "They'd have a brilliant song that's 40 seconds long," he said. "It's like an art joke."

Lyrically, My Teenage Stride's punchlines suggest the wittiest songwriter of them all: Morrissey. "He's serious, but he knows he's ridiculous," Smith said. That attitude translates into tracks like the accusatory "High School," from Teenage Stride's 2005 release Major, Major, which follows Smith's preferred allegory of the music-scene-as-high-school. It's easy to imagine him picturing a dive bar full of level-four hipsters as he wrote the lyrics, and it's understandably his favorite to perform live. "Every time, I stare at people," he said.

Smith and Whitmoyer do collaborate on songwriting duties, but crafting Ears Like Golden Bats' tracks drew heavily from the "whole universe" of sounds, lyrics and titles in Smith's memory. A songwriter since age 7, he finds inspiration anywhere that "only part of me has to be"—in cars, on subways, while working on cars with his dad. He often leaves himself voicemails with new lyrics, and finished tracks usually sound as they did in his head. Is that, um, normal? "Statistically, I think it's pretty rare," he said. "My brother accuses me of having Asperger's."

Smith is currently putting his prolific tendencies to work with Whitmoyer to finish the next, as-yet-untitled My Teenage Stride album, to follow recent release of Lesser Demons, a digital EP available on eMusic and iTunes. Oh, and about that name: While Smith acknowledges a possible subconscious allusion to his high-school preoccupation, he still isn't so crazy about the band's adolescent moniker. "It came from some pit of hell," he said, laughing. "Yeah, it's memorable—so was cholera." - Paste

"Magnet's Top 20 of 2007 List"

Magnet Magazine counted My Teenage Stride's "Ears Like Golden Bats" among their "Top 20 Albums of 2007" in Issue #78. - Magnet Magazine

"Theme from Teenage Suicide is Solid Gold"

What’s most remarkable to me about Lesser Demons is that, rather than just being a stopgap or a time-filler, it actually finds My Teenage Stride solidifying their own identity. A few people were uneasy with how proudly Ears wore its influences; Demons takes a giant step away from Jed Smith’s record collection. “Theme From Teenage Suicide” may be the best song the band has ever written: it’s bracing and breathless and sarcastic and has the kind of hook that you remember after only one go-round. All five of these songs are winners, from the haunted mansion rattle of “The Loud Confessor” to the hyper-pop of “Skin Lieutenant.” I have a tendency to get very “rah! rah! rah!” about bands I love, but My Teenage Stride is clearly a band that is going somewhere. Lesser Demons finds them speeding along even faster. Pure pop bliss! Seriosuly: try “Theme From Teenage Suicide.” SOLID GOLD. - 17 Dots - Joe Keyes

"One of 8 NY Bands You Need to Hear--2007"

The 80s pop nostalgia that happened here and everywhere else in the world, a few years ago always seemed somewhat crass to me. For mostly middle/upper class white kids to go back and glorify the upbeat, lighthearted synth-pop that was all the rage in a decade that practically gave birth to the expression “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer,” it was almost like bragging. Even with the bands who ripped off famous 80s sad-sacks like Joy Division… something about it was always vaguely offensive. And it would be foolish to pretend My Teenage Stride wasn’t at least a little bit caught up in the whole 80s thing as well, but what frontman and main songwriter Jed Smith understands, and what so many others haven’t, is that the most impressive thing about all that 80s stuff were the songs, and not the stupid fucking clothes. The most obvious comparison to be made here is to the Go-Betweens, but there are also hints of lovably cheesy 60’s pop and a seemingly endless appreciation for Dylan’s sad-one-minute, funny-the-next schtick. There is, as there was with the Go-Betweens, a pronounced emphasis on the craft of songwriting — the belief that a good song is a good song, regardless of the chosen accompaniment. And their new full-length, Ears Like Golden Bats, is full of ‘em. Just so happens the accompaniment is expertly chosen as well, making it one of the best debuts of the year. ~ Mike Conklin - The L Magazine

"overwhelming staying power"

The interesting thing that happens when you discover My Teenage Stride is the overwhelming staying power of their new album in your player. Ears Like Golden Bats is full of classic 80’s alternative pop tunes that resemble a very Smiths / Go-Betweens type sound mixed with the new wave vocals of Interpol. Lead vocalist Jedediah Smith leads you through each track with his distinguishable voice over each short mid-tempo song ensuring toe-tapping and some humming along. It is this endearing quality that My Teenage Stride possesses because unlike Interpol, there are no sprawling guitars or heavy beats just simple lower-fi instrumentation and Smith’s voice. So if you are into something different be sure to checkout My Teenage Stride because they do a perfect job of sounding retro but feeling completely new. This is not a very easy task to pull off but Ears Like Golden Bats not only does just that but gets better with each listen. ~ Christopher Anthony - The Fire Note

"Why Are They Not More Famous?"

As impressed as I was with the band's second album, "Major Major" (which made my top five of 2005), this one is somehow even better! Why these guys are not more famous in the indiepop world is a mystery to me, as almost every song on this album is a hit! On their third album, the songs seem to display a wider variety of influences, and though these are often instantly transparent (sometimes even blatant), none of the songs come off as imitations. While I can see some folks raising eyebrows at songs like "That Should Stand For Something" (which comes awfully close to the Jesus And Mary Chain's "Never Understand" in the verse) and "Reversal" (practically a sped-up version of the Chills' "Pink Frost"), I see these as more of an homage than a ripoff - besides, originality is overrated, anyways... Other points of reference throughout the record include classics like the Television Personalities, Aztec Camera, the Smiths, Orange Juice and even the Wedding Present (check out the guitar in "Terror Bends"). There's a slightly darker feel on a number of the songs, but never enough to drag the record down or make it feel too heavy - even the ones where it's most noticeable, like "Genie Of New Jersey" or "Ruin", have enough melody to keep them peppy. A fun record through and through! MTQ=14/14 - Indiepages


Digital EP: Lesser Demons (self-released), 2008

Full length CD:
Ears Like Golden Bats (Becalmed), 2007
"To Live and Die in the Airport Lounge" gets a lot of play.
Major Major (Becalmed), 2005
A Sad Cloud (Banazan), 2003

7” Vinyl:
I’m Sorry (Becalmed), 2003
Blackbeard’s Ghost (Banazan), 2003



MTS is generating a song a month for emusic all through 2008, and is also featured on their new comp album, "Selected and Collected."

My Teenage Stride is a classically pop songwriting-oriented machine based in Brooklyn. A songwriter since age 7, Jedediah Smith is a prolific songwriter and My Teenage Stride is the result of years of recording. The band's 2007 full-length Ears Like Golden Bats has been featured in many ‘Best of 2007’ lists but special mention must go to the #19 position in Magnet’s "Top 20 Albums of 2007". It follows the article the magazine did on the band in the summer and is another example of the great response the album has had. My Teenage Stride are currently working on new recordings and a 5-song digital EP titled Lesser Demons is out now.