After a brief holiday hiatus, buffaBLOG’s Album of the Week feature is back in business. For the first time since the distant days of 2014, we have selected a local (or quasi-local) album, EP, or collection of songs that we find to be worthy of merit, and posted it up here for your listening pleasure. This week, for the first week of the new year, our collective ears were caught by the lo-fi bedroom folk songs on Teenage Satan’s second self-titled EP.
Teenage Satan (aka Dan Bauer) doesn’t fully abandon the electronic nature of his first effort earlier last year, but he does take a bit of a departure on Teenage Satan II in the sense that he unplugs and picks up an acoustic guitar. The result is a little experimental, a little electronic, but decidedly folk-tinged this time around. Favoring humble organ tones over unearthly synths, Teenage Satan II takes a more intimate approach than its predecessor while retaining the eclecticism that makes this type of songwriting shine.
EP opener “Magazines” brightly introduces the four songs with a pleasing symbiosis between organ and acoustic guitar, while Bauer delivers his lyrics flavorfully with a rather infectious vocal melody. The sound is minimalistic but very endearing; it’s what I would imagine hearing if M. Ward and Avey Tare of Animal Collective were to collaborate.
“Now That I Can Sleep” lives up to the title with a drowsy guitar progression and subtle droning organ underneath. Bauer’s lyrical prowess shines bright in this track: “beauty of the hour is beauty enough / unlike a flower, we bloom into nothing much worth dreaming / now that I can sleep.” The song becomes a grand onomatopoeia with Bauer’s dozy vocals; the amalgamation is affecting and undoubtedly indicative of quality songcraft.
Bauer brings some friends in on “Car Famine,” the third and most accessible of the EP’s four tracks. Featuring group vocals, an optimistically strummed acoustic guitar and a tambourine, this track is probably the furthest departure from the electronic soundscapes that make up Teenage Satan I. The lyrics in “Car Famine” provoke thoughts of the enigmatic Jeff Mangum and his particular style of writing, while the overarching sound of this particular track is reminiscent of an early Dr. Dog.
It’s worth mentioning that all four tracks (including the experimental 9 minute “Autodiary / Coda”) are available for free download on Teenage Satan’s fresh Bandcamp page. Definitely a handful of songs worth adding to your library.