LA duo Teenage Wrist are putting out a message of hope with their deceptively-titled second album, ‘Earth Is A Black Hole’.
People were harmed in the making of this record – ok not really, but there were some obstacles. Some of us took trips to the hospital, Colin’s computer got hacked, and Kevin had to rebuild the entire system, we took at least a month-long break directly in the middle of the recording process when covid hit, someone who will not be named screamed so hard on “wear u down” that there was an awful sharp pain in his balls afterwards… it was quite the journey. Hopefully, the literal physical and mental anguish is palpable.
We went a little off the rails musically – maybe had a little too much fun playing with odd time, drum solos, synth layers, chasing tones from “moving pictures”. There is a very annoying, very nerdy “music school guy” in each of us, and we decided to bring him out for a few songs. But then there’s also the side of us that wants to be tom petty and the heartbreakers, and oasis, and green day, and every other four-chord radio smash band out there. So we did that too.
There were a number of secret weapons on this record. None of them exceed $500. We spent a lot of time crafting tones, and there may be one boutique pedal that makes an appearance, but for the most part, the source material was pretty simple and cheap, in some cases scrappy.
We came into the writing process fully ready to depart from “nu-gaze” – sure there’s plenty of reverb and fuzzy guitars, that’s never going away. Staying true to our shoegaze side was important, but we wanted it to be a flavour and not the whole dish. We had the opportunity to try things we never had before as a band, like working with outside writers. And there were a lot of times where we felt apprehensive about a move and ended up just saying “fuck it, let’s go”. As a result, there’s a sense of humility and joy in the record that feels refreshing, and hopefully, that allows it to bob around on the surface for a while without being drowned by all the other “throwback” stuff that’s out there. Overall it feels like a step towards a more sincere version of ourselves.
“Earth is a black hole” may sound like a non-stop bummer – but it’s actually very reflective of what we were trying to do in each of our personal lives, and it shouldn’t be seen as lamenting or apathetic. We were letting go of a lot of expectations, a lot of negativity and doubt. We would encourage anyone listening to read between the lines a little, to find the gold nugget in the shit mound. The whole thing is more of a release, and also a call to ourselves (and everyone else) to savour the beautiful moments in their lives, to do some good. To pause for a second, accept all the madness that’s going on around you and try to access the love and strength within. Obviously, we’ve both been meditating.
Taken from the March issue of Upset, out now. Teenage Wrist’s album ‘Earth Is A Black Hole’ is out now.