Teen Sleuth

Teen Sleuth

 Montréal, Quebec, CAN
BandAlternativeRock

Teen Sleuth is a 10 piece art rock band from Montreal that has become notorious for their performances with projected films of video, puppetry, costume, & dance. Their unique style (ope-raw) fuses many genres: orchestral pop/rock, baroque, celtic, and experimental post-mammalian madness.

Biography

Teen Sleuth is a 10 piece art rock band from Montreal. They have become known for their multi-disciplinary performances of their ope-raw Teen Sleuth & the Freed Cyborg Choir, which feature live puppetry, dance, costumes, and projections to illustrate the music. Teen Sleuth also performs as a band with projections incorporating footage of these theatrics. As part of the Montreal Fringe Festival 2010, Teen Sleuth launched their self released debut EP: "Where the Animals Trace the Stars", outdoors before an estimated crowd of 500 . Teen Sleuth also unveiled a brand new set of projections, further enabling them to play in these two capacities: 1: as a band (using projections when possible), 2: performing their full-on, ever-evolving ope-raw, where these theatrics happen live. Teen Sleuth will bring this ope-raw to Musicgallery, Canada's centre for new music in Toronto this December.

Teen Sleuth is coming off a successful 5 show run in Pop Montreal 2009, of which their last 2 shows sold out. This led to a well attended, surprise 6th show. During Pop, Teen Sleuth was featured in the Montreal Gazette, on CBC Radio, the Hitlist of the Hour, Nightlife, and was named as one of 10 bands to watch out for by La Presse. Teen Sleuth also had positive reviews in the Concordian and in Canada' s national newspaper the Globe and Mail, stating: ”A multimedia, hipster pop- opera may not sound appetizing but it was hard not to be won over by Teen Sleuth and the Freed Cyborg Choir, which ran every evening in a small theatre upstairs on St-Laurent. Equal parts high-school glee club, Andrew Lloyd Webber, eco-feminist honours thesis and Godspeed You Black Emperor!, its projections, puppetry, dance, pageantry and song burst with youthful talent,” (Carl Wilson)"

Successfully debuting their ope-raw at the St. Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival 2009, Teen Sleuth had 6 well received performances, garnering them the Frankie Next Stage award from Mainline Theatre. This award is given to a production with exceptional potential. Teen Sleuth was the feature cover story of the Hour during Fringe and had positive reviews in the Montreal Gazette, the Hour, and Voir.

“Where the Animals Trace the Stars” is the only the first EP, as Teen Sleuth currentlyre records a full body of work in Montreal, building toward a full length album and playing shows.

The music is inspired by composer Ellen Smallwood’s experiences with the removal of a benign brain tumor in 2005. She was hooked up to EEG machines and had electrodes on her brain, reading her brain waves. Ellen wondered about the emotional/spiritual implications of her bond with the machine and considered her connection as a flirtation with cyborgism.

To heal, Ellen returned to the countryside of her childhood in Nova Scotia. Upon arrival, she was disturbed by the destruction of the land due to an open pit lead mine. In a naive effort of escapism, Ellen reread her Nancy Drew novels. Drawing inspiration from the fearless, original teen sleuth, Ellen began to gather raw evidence of this multi-faceted excavation: of the mind, body, spirit, and land. She wrote songs telling stories of diverse characters with a common thread of dischenchantment. She created a mirror of fantasy and reality: reflecting her own experiences in the character of ex-girl guide.

Returning to Montreal, Ellen met Aleks Schürmer (the mastermind of partylikeits1699.com). As co-composer, Aleks arranges, translates the music from Ellenspeak, and expands with unique compositions. Capitalizing on his Masters degree in Early Music from Mcgill University, the songs took on a new life. Additional collaboration with guitarist/composer Alexander Formosa leads to a diverse and dynamic songwriting team. Artist Frances Mckenzie then brings the songs' imagery to life through puppets, illustrations, and projections. Teen Sleuth is a coming of age story that will make you want to stand up and cheer!” Although no one said coming of age was ever going to be easy...

Lyrics

Black Circle Shuffle

Written By: lyrics/music: Ellen Smallwood, music/arrangements: Aleks Schurmer music: Alexander Formosa

Black circles are dancing to the beat again.
Crashing down the yellow asphalt road.
Ghosts of green have changed their sheets to grey again.
One of them's a girl i used to know.

It seems that every year that the water runs less clear and
the curves have given way to straight lines.
I saw a V fall apart in front of me
like the dominos that haunt your worst dreams.
Can't you see that we are fading?
Our breath is barely reading.
I have all my fears in a paper bag
that i just can't seem to lose.

Black circles are dancing to the beat again.
Crashing down the golden asphalt road.
Phantom blues have changed their hues to grey again.
One of them's a sky that used to glow.

It seems that every year that the water runs less clear and
the curves have given way to straight lines.
I saw a V fall apart in front of me
like the dominos that haunt your worst dreams.
Can't you see that we are fading?
Our breath is barely reading.
I have all my fears in a paper bag
that i just can't seem to lose.

I just can't seem to lose you.
No matter how I try to.
No matter how I want to.
No matter how I need to.
Band-aid love will leave a bruise.
I just can't seem to shake you
so time please come and take you.
Fastforward me to breakthrough
Cuz I just can't seem to lose you.
No matter how I try to.
No matter how I want to.
No matter how I need to.

Pine Tree/Circle Path

Written By: lyrics/music: Ellen Smallwood, music/arrangements: Aleks Schurmer music: Alexander Formosa

Pine tree/circle path
She is walking day by day

Glamorous mudslide
coats her throat and clogs her mind
tire tracks scar her insides
borrowed boots and holes in shoes
suffocate the local news.

Banana Peel burns a hole in her heart
tripped her up right from the start
tire tracks tear her apart
guts are spilling from her heart

Monkey sees his playmate do
cross her heart to find the truth
pray the ghosts will come for you
technicolour shades of blue

He will shoot you with an accurate lens
in the eyes of everyone who is anyone
that you'd never want to meet
muddy lungs lull you to sleep.

Cuz you don't know what you got
until some rich guy tells ya
Don't know what you love
until some big shot sells ya
Don't know who you are
until some white shirt tells ya
If we don't stand up for love
that's how they're gonna kill us/

Cuz we don't know what we got
until some rich guy tells us
Don't know who we love
until some big shot sells us
Don't know who we are until
some white shirt tells us
If we don't stand up for love
that's how they're gonna kill us.

If we don't stand up for love
that's how they're gonna kill us.
Pine tree/circle path

That Humanoid is Haunted

Written By: lyrics/music: Ellen Smallwood, music/arrangements: Aleks Schurmer music: Alexander Formosa

That humanoid is haunted
in the land of once upon a time.
Humanoid despondent
Can't recall who or what or why.

Throw a wedge into the wheel
Clean the wound that will not heal.
Resent the flames that you burn
Mourn the heat you did not earn

That humanoid is haunted
in the land of once upon a time.
Humanoid despondent
Can't recall who or what or why.

Vacant limb of an empty body
a vessel needs a sea to sail
Hold your dear close and
we'll cast off the oars
Could we sail to the stars
in search of ourselves
Where we don't know when
we'll be back again or
if we'll be ourselves
Where the animals trace the stars
and the lovers ride the waves
Maybe we'll be gone for good
if that indeed's our fate.
Sh sh sh

Come and stare in pools of blue
your bones are bare we'll week the truth

That Humanoid is haunted
in the land of once upon a time
Come and stare in pools of blue
your bones are bare we'll week the truth
I saw your face in the constellations
missed your voice at the United Nations
Do I resist or do I surrender this time?

For that humanoid is haunted
in the land of once upon a time

Discography

"Where the Animals Trace the Stars" (2010)