Teenage Sweater
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Teenage Sweater


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"Teenage Sweater "Oceans and Seas""

What do you get when you have a Teenage Sweater, a Blouse, and Wet Hair? I think it’s something like the Allison character in The Breakfast Club. You know, the weird one balancing out the five-way representation of 80s high school student bodies across the United States. Kind of strange. Kind of dreamy. Kind of drum machine.

Listen to “Oceans and Seas” below, and buy Teenage Sweater’s OK EP from These Are My Friends Records. It’s the kind of thing that belongs on cassette. - Top Heavy - Tiny Mix Tapes

"Teenage Sweater - Daytrotter Session"

The rain is just pissing here today. We're surrounded on all sides by this lingering, cold piss of a day. It's the kind of day that means nothing to you. You regard it with utter scorn and wish that you could do anything to distance yourself from it. You'd do it immediately, if you could, but you look at it and you're positive that it's going to be following you around until the day darkens. Even then, if the lights were to magnificently turn back on, the night would prove to you that the gray skies were still there, just cloaked, but still effectively stubborn and pissing. It's one of those days that's bookended by days that are nothing like it, days that were actually as lovely as they could have ever been. You're sure that days like these are practical jokes of some kind or another and you're not laughing.

When you listen to the San Francisco-via-Santa Rosa band Teenage Sweater on an afternoon like this, you can feel them helping somewhat to cure your blues, but they're not trying too hard. They're not giving it their all to make you feel better. You're still looking out the window at the beach and believing that if you were to take your shoes and socks off, that sand would be colder than hell and you'd be retreating back into the house not even ten seconds later, finally resolved to curl up with that book or that pooch, like you should have done in the first place.

Mario Armando Ruiz and Connor Alfaro write these dream pop songs with low resting heart rates. They wander up to us and never over-do it. The songs just unroll easily and steadily, giving the feeling of shaky youth as it deals with a pisser of a day, of an overcast month and of abandoning it all. - Sean Moeller - Daytrotter

"Teenage Sweater – “Oceans and Seas” / “SWEAT”"

Tapping into the zeitgeists of today and 2010, Santa Rosa’s gloomy, shoegazing chillwave duo, Teenage Sweater, open their first EP, Kewl, with “Coconut Water” — a song described in the band’s press release as a “waves-crashing-on-the-beach-while-you-snuggle-your-prom-date” tune. They left out the “in-an-ethereal-opium-haze-wearing-thick-eyeliner-and-crying-at-how-fucking-beautiful-everything-is” from that description. But, hey, that’s cool.
Teenage Sweater sound like a blurrier, more downtrodden Small Black — or perhaps Neon Indian, minus the neon. The group leans on distinctly slower beats and moodier synth tones than the aforementioned. You get the sense that frontman and ringleader Mario Ruiz spins a lot of New Order records when he isn’t playing keys, percussion, singing or sequencing tracks for Teenage Sweater.
And not the radio-friendly New Order cuts either. On “SWEAT,” Teenage Sweater show they know how to build a slow-burning new-wave dirge, grooving on the same riff for a good two minutes, dwelling on it, building on it and then ending the song without crooning a single note. The track’s 2:14 run time is almost exactly as long as it takes the “Blue Monday” intro to run it’s course. Coincidence? Perhaps.
According to the release, “Teenage Sweater is cheerful music for introverts, and Ruiz describes himself as such, but assures that neither the music, nor his preference to be alone should be taken as a tendency towards melancholy or depression.” - Nick Veronin - The Bay Bridged


Teenage Sweater is the brainchild of Mario Ruiz, a Northern California native with some serious chops and a knack for writing dreamy shoegaze with a drop of melancholic pop a la Joy Division and the Chameleons.
Ruiz is a rare breed of pop songwriter who doubles as a multi-instrumentalist, handling the band’s impressive electronic keys and percussion as well as the sequencing. All those vocal harmonies? Yup — that’s him too.

‘Coconut Water,’ which calls to mind the Cure if John Bonham were playing drums, starts off Teenage Sweater’s debut EP, ‘Kewl,’ with a bang. Ruiz’s echo-drenched vocals float around the swaggering back beat handily as the icy keyboard lines set the song’s shadowy mood.

It’s not all doom and gloom with Ruiz and Co. — the band’s slightly goofy moniker is a testament to that. “The name is kind of a game, you know?” Ruiz tells Diffuser.fm. “I just always wanted to have a band with the word teenage in it.”

For more on Teenage Sweater, pop on over to their Tumblr to hear more tunes or find out when they’re headed to your town. But first, grab a free MP3 of ‘Coconut Water’ right here. - Alex Moore - Diffuser.fm

"Interview: Teenage Sweater"

Deliciously chillwavey San Francisco duo Teenage Sweater are busy readying their debut album, so Rocksucker fired them over some questions to find out a little bit more about how they operate.

What's the line-up of the band? How did you all meet, and how long has the band been going for?

Mario Armando Ruiz: synths, vocals, drum machines and percussion
Connor Alfaro: drums, vocals and sequencing

Teenage Sweater started out as a solo project by Mario a few years ago and went through a few member changes before finally settling on being a two piece with Connor. The new Teenage Sweater lineup has been going since about March of this year.

We met through some friends and kind of knew each other but never hung out and one day I was hanging out downtown and Mario came up to me and asked if I wanted to play drums for his set the next week. I played the show, had fun, so I kept playing with him and now we're starting to do a lot of fun stuff.

How would you describe your music, if pushed?

I would describe it as ethereal experimental noise pop. There is a "chillwave" vibe to the songs in the recordings but live they are definitely more hard hitting.

Where are you based, and what do you use to record with?

We are based in San Francisco, CA. GarageBand on our laptops has been our friend for most of our recordings besides the new record we are making.

Is there a full album in the works? If so, what can you tell us about it? (Feel free to be as abstract as you like...)

Yes! We are recording a full-length as we speak. We are really excited to show people the new songs we have been working on. We are considered pretty lo-fi with our last EP but the new songs are huge and more complex compared to the old stuff. We're hoping to have it out by the end of this year. A local label from our town wants to put it out on vinyl and we want to make it available online for people to buy wherever.

Which have been your most exciting gigs and/or overall moments so far?

Playing with the Brooklyn band The Hundred in the Hands was a special treat in San Francisco a few months ago. It's great to already be a big fan of a band and meet them and they are really down to earth, nice people. We also have played our share of tiny basements/houses/barns in our time as well. Those are definitely fun as well but it's nice to have a reliable, great sounding venue to play in as well.

Finally, if you were forced to spend the rest of your days in solitary confinement, but were allowed to bring the entire works of five different artists along to tide you over, whose would you choose?

New Order, Roxy Music, The Smiths, Void and Dolly Parton.
- Jonny Abrams - ROCKSUCKER

"Teenage Sweater, "Coconut Water""

The mechanized drums are the island where you can find a waterfall of synths. The mechanized drums are the bottom layer of "Coconut Water", and they are completely dry, but when the synths come in, they are soaking wet. Teenage Sweater, the project of California's Mario Ruiz and Connor Alfaro, drapes his programming pad in waterfall-like cascades of synths and reverb-soaked vocals. It's not overwhelming; he doesn't use too many elements at once, and the composition definitely falls into the category of minimal pop. This isn't Niagara, but rather one of those sexy waterfalls people are always photographing swimsuit models under, but the lyrics, about longing for the right person, present the possibility that it could be a waterfall of tears in the mirror. Either way, it's catchy, and the rest of the songs on Teenage Sweater's debut record, Kewl, fall into similar categories. You can find out when that's gonna drop on their Tumblr, but meanwhile, you can download "Coconut Water" here. - Ari Spool - Impose Magazine


"Kewl" EP - 2012
"Concentration" LP - 2013



The formula contains notes of classic new wave—Joy Division and New Order are easily heard in the nuances of Teenage Sweater’s songs—and a healthy dose of its modern incarnation, chillwave. Teenage Sweater is cheerful music for introverts, and Ruiz describes himself as such, but assures that neither the music, nor his preference to be alone should be taken as a tendency towards melancholy or depression.

Indeed, everything about Teenage Sweater is somewhat light hearted, even the band name. “The name is kind of a game, you know?” Ruiz says, again with the laugh, “is the sweater a teenager? Is it just two words? I dunno.” Ruiz’s band mate, Connor Alfaro, who plays drums and bass in the band, adds that he didn’t really gets the name until Ruiz explained “that it’s just a joke,” explaining that he always wanted to have a band with “teenage” in it.

Ruiz and Alfaro knew one another casually before one fateful day in a coffee shop. Mario came up to me and asked if I wanted to play drums for Teenage Sweater at his next show,” Alfaro says, in a voice pitched up just a little so you can tell he’s smiling. “I knew that he was electronic based, which is something that I have never really listened to, let alone played live,” he adds, “I’ve always played in Punk, Indie, or Folk bands, so this is all very new to me. I feel busier during a live show, which is cool. We had a practice at my studio and it was really fucking fun and I’ve grown to really like playing and listening to this genre of music. It’s funny too, because before Mario asked me to play with him we had never really talked much or hung out at all, so this is awesome.”

With their first EP, Kewl, now available, Teenage Sweater is keeping things light. With songs like the diaphanous, waves-crashing-on-the-beach-while-you-snuggle-your-prom-date tune “Coconut Water,” and the slightly less upbeat “Oceans and Seas,” which brings to mind a slightly overcast day at an amusement park, with it’s tinny synths and far away vocal mix, the EP is a noisy pop stunner with enough heart to last way past the summer.